Conversion Rate Optimisation

CRO or Conversion Rate Optimisation is the process of improving your conversion rate based off of your chosen goals, whether this might be the number of product sales, users that sign up for an account or email signups.

CRO or Conversion Rate Optimisation is the process of improving your conversion rate based off of your chosen goals, whether this might be the number of product sales, users that sign up for an account or email signups.

Defining the client goal.

Firstly when dealing with the client we must be finding what they want to convert on, this could be their email subscribers or the number of products purchased on their site. Whatever their goal is, this is what we need to be improving on.

Ultimately we need to understand what the client wants, and we as a company dealing with their conversion rate optimisation, need to know more about them as a company. Conversion rate optimisation comes down to knowing as much as possible about their brand, identity, website, customers and ultimately their goal going forward.

To do so, we will have discovery and definition sessions based on their goals once their site is coming towards the end of its development, or for any client looking to build upon their current website.

CRO Discovery and Definition

CRO discovery and definitions act in a very similar way to the create discovery and definitions, however, this is far more focused on understanding the client and their website. Where CRO deals with marketing, design, and development, we should aim to have people from Pragmatic with these fundamental skills.

Sequentially we need to a selection of the following:

To them right now, what is their current goal? Knowing this allows us to get a basic understanding of their underlying goal.

What are the main pain points that you can identify with your current methods for attaining your goal? Maybe there is something painfully obvious that they are overlooking.

What do you feel is the unique offering with your chosen goal? How does your service vary to others that might be competing? Knowing this can give us something to work with when applying hypotheses as well as UX and UI for the delivery.

What kind of brand are they? Are they a fun, energetic brand? Alternatively, are they a professional corporate brand? Know about their brand makes a difference to how we may go about these tests and may give us some vital information to our process in CRO as well as marketing.

Have you asked your customers what they think of the product or service you are offering? What have your customers said about the product?

Are you willing to do some user research to find out more from your customers and potential customers?

Using all the questions from our discovery and definition, we can find out more about the website as well as their goals, pain points, competitors, their brand and much more.

We have also opened up the conversation to do some user research; this is where we can sell in some user research for the process. Following this, collecting data should be the next step.

Data Collection

Data collection is a part of the process does not have to be followed strictly and may be used in a subsequent round of CRO changes. When dealing with data collection, we need to know what tools the client is currently using, if any to handle data.

The most common tools we are likely to see are:

  • Google Analytics.
  • Yandex.Metrika
  • New Relic
  • comScore
  • Piwik
  • Quantcast
  • Liveinternet
  • Hotjar
  • TrackJs
  • Optimizely

We should hope to see one of the analytics tools being used to get an understanding of the current user base. Using these tools should show us how far through the funnel they get to the client goal.

If clients are not using one of the tools listed above, this is an opportunity for our marketing department to sell in some of their expertise and help the client get the correct tooling to maintain their website and go forward correctly in their CRO process.

After having asked for any data leaves the client with one of two paths. The first is installing tools recommended by our marketers and leaving this running for around 4-6 weeks to get an understanding of how their user base interacts with the website. Alternatively, the latter, which leads directly to data analysis.

Data Analysis

Data analysis is a vital part of a CRO project and can widely change our understanding of a website and how users interact with it. When dealing with Data analysis, typically it is looking through the provided data and identifying significant patterns in the data.

When looking at the data of a website, we may find that a client’s data shows their users are using the site in a completely different way to what they had anticipated. For instance, a website might be used to show information, but the user base might be looking for career orientated pages. This kind of data feeds back to the client, and open opportunities for entirely new bodies of work.

The key findings of the data are passed on to the client, as well as for us to use in our hypothesis development.


Hypothesis Development

Once we have analysed the data, this leads to the hypothesis development phase. To develop a hypothesis we look at various options for different tests and take user experience design into account.

To create a hypothesis, we take three essential things into account:

  • Data Analysis Results
  • User Experience Design.
  • Client goals and their priorities.

With those essential items in place, we can generate various hypotheses for tests. For each test, it has at least one variant (an alternative to the current website) and could have more than just one. For each of these variants, it includes a basic wireframe mockup and the justification behind it.

Each of these hypotheses or tests goes to the client through our standard CRO test plan document. This document shows the overall details of the test for the client, and an in-depth section for both clients, and our designers and developers.

Once the test plans have been sent to the client, and we have confirmation to proceed with our tests, we must then send this to the designers to do the user interface design and to ensure it matches the style of the client’s website but enhancing upon this to show how their site could look.


The design step preceding the test plans is where we take the wireframe and create the user interface to complement the underlying user experience design. With this in mind, one of the design team is briefed on the project, given an understanding of the client, their website and the underlying brand.

The design should match current design trends but also compliment the client’s current website. With us adding new UI design that is visibly better, it opens us up to the option to offer a design overhaul for more significant areas of their website.

Dependent on the number of variations of a test, the designs may have to accompany those variations.

These designs should be small modular designs, acting more like components of a full design. Designing this way allows us to spend the least amount of time on a single project, but also gives us a method of reusing these components for other clients in the future.

Build and testing

Once the designs have been signed off, we can start building these out on the website. The way we deal with these tests is through Optimizely. Testing this way is so we can use split testing, meaning we can try different variations on different users and identify what is making the most significant impact on the end user.

When creating a test we need to have an initial throttle, this is so we can use a smaller number of users to gather data. With this in mind, it’s recommended we use an initial twenty-five percent or the user base, and look to increase when we have a confirmation on the conversions working positively.

For each test, we use key conversion points as the metric, as an example, when a user has clicked add to cart for a purchase that is a conversion point we can track and use to identify the conversion rate is improving.

For some tests, we may define that there is a specific segmentation, as an example, we may want to target OSX users only, or mobile users only. For this, we define the type of devices and technologies they are using and filter to them alone.

Once built these tests are put live on the website, and we will leave for 4-6 weeks to gather all the data we should need.

After the 4-6 weeks, we identify which of the tests and their subsequent variations have been the most successful. If these tests are deemed successful by us first and then the client, then they can be actioned and added to the live site.

However, if they are not, this leads to the next section of the Conversion Rate Process.

Learning and Improving

Ultimately, CRO is a process of learning and improving, and it is making educated hypotheses aiming to improve the conversion rate of a website.

As the CRO process goes on, we can gather more data on the userbase and find out more about their likes and dislikes, whether that is:

  • Trends that attract them
  • Design that they prefer
  • Copy that resonates with them
  • What they think of the site.

There are going to be cases where tests do not work based off of our hypotheses, and for this, we go back to the initial stages and look at the data and try to identify why our original hypotheses might not have worked. By identifying these issues, it allows us to make a better hypothesis on the tests and how to improve upon the websites conversion rate.

Closing Comment

With CRO and user testing we can find out what the users want from the client’s website. Moreover, help shape their website into something that fits their users better than it currently does. Dealing with CRO is helping the client keep up to date with their site and ensure that it stays up to date with the latest trends in web design and development.