Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): Get Started

Kauri Ääremann
Co-Founder / CEO
June 20, 2023


Do you want to get more leads, sales, and revenue from your website? If so, you need to optimize your website conversions with CRO.

CRO stands for conversion rate optimization, and it is the process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, such as buying a product, signing up for a service, or filling out a form.

CRO is not just about numbers and percentages. It is about understanding what drives, stops, and persuades your users, and giving them the best user experience possible.

What is conversion rate optimization?

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the practice of increasing the percentage of users who perform a desired action on a website. Desired actions can include purchasing a product, clicking ‘add to cart’, signing up for a service, filling out a form, or clicking on a link.

A more user-centric definition of CRO is:

The process of focusing on understanding what drives, stops, and persuades your users, so you can give them the best user experience possible —and that, in turn, is what makes them convert and ultimately improves your website conversion rate.

CRO is important because it helps you:

  • Make the most of your website traffic and increase your return on investment (ROI).
  • Understand your users’ needs, preferences, and behavior.
  • Reduce your customer acquisition costs and increase your customer lifetime value.
  • Improve your brand reputation and customer loyalty.
  • Gain a competitive edge in your market.

How do you do conversion rate optimization

CRO is not a one-time event or a quick fix. It is a systematic and data-driven process that involves several steps.

Here are some of the main steps of the CRO process:

Research: The first step of CRO is to research your website performance, user behavior, and market trends. You can use various tools and methods to collect quantitative and qualitative data, such as web analytics, heatmaps, surveys, user testing, interviews, etc. The goal of this step is to identify your website’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as your users’ goals and pain points.

Hypothesize: The next step of CRO is to formulate hypotheses based on your research findings. A hypothesis is a testable statement that predicts how a change on your website will affect your conversions. For example: “Adding social proof to the product page will increase conversions by 10%”. You should prioritize your hypotheses based on their potential impact, confidence level, and ease of implementation.

Test: The third step of CRO is to test your hypotheses by running experiments on your website. You can use different types of testing methods, such as A/B testing, multivariate testing, split testing, etc. The goal of this step is to measure the effect of your changes on your conversions and determine which version performs better.

Analyze: The fourth step of CRO is to analyze the results of your tests and draw conclusions. You can use statistical tools and methods to evaluate the validity and significance of your test results. The goal of this step is to validate or invalidate your hypotheses and learn from your experiments.

Implement: The final step of CRO is to implement the winning version of your website and monitor its performance. You can use web development tools and methods to make the changes permanent and ensure they work properly. The goal of this step is to apply the insights from your tests and optimize your website conversions.

Cycle diagram showin the 5 steps of how to do conversion rate optimization

Where to implement CRO strategy

CRO can be applied to any area of your website where you want to improve conversions. However, some areas are more critical and impactful than others.

Here are some of the key areas where you should implement CRO strategy:

Homepage: Your homepage is often the first impression that users have of your website and brand. It should clearly communicate your value proposition, showcase your products or services, and guide users to the next step in their journey.

Landing pages: Your landing pages are specific pages that users land on after clicking on an ad, a link, or a search result. They should match the user’s intent, offer a relevant and compelling offer, and persuade users to take action.

Product pages: Your product pages are where users learn more about your products or services and decide whether to buy them or not. They should provide clear and detailed information, highlight the benefits and features, and include social proof and urgency elements.

Checkout pages: Your checkout pages are where users complete their purchase and provide their payment and shipping details. They should be simple, secure, and fast, and minimize distractions and friction points.

Forms: Your forms are where users provide their personal information, such as name, email, phone number, etc. They should be easy to fill out, ask for only the necessary information, and reassure users about their privacy and security.

What is an example of conversion rate optimization

To illustrate how CRO works in practice, let’s look at a real-life example of a successful CRO project.

The company: Basecamp, a project management software The challenge: To increase the number of free trial signups from their homepage.

The solution: To test different versions of their homepage headline.

The result: A 14% increase in conversions from one headline change.

Here is how Basecamp did it:

  • They researched their target audience and their pain points.
  • They hypothesized that changing their homepage headline from “Basecamp helps you get it done” to “Basecamp helps you wrangle people with different roles, responsibilities, and objectives toward a common goal: Finishing a project together.” would increase conversions.
  • They tested their hypothesis by running an A/B test on their homepage.
  • They analyzed their test results and found that the new headline increased conversions by 14%.
  • They implemented the new headline on their homepage and monitored its performance.

What is CRO and SEO?

CRO and SEO are two complementary strategies that aim to improve your website performance and user experience.

SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it is the process of increasing the quantity and quality of organic traffic to your website from search engines.

CRO and SEO work together in several ways:

  • CRO helps you make the most of your SEO traffic by converting more visitors into customers
  • SEO helps you attract more relevant and qualified visitors who are more likely to convert
  • CRO helps you improve your user experience and satisfaction, which can boost your SEO rankings
  • SEO helps you optimize your website structure and content, which can improve your CRO results
Circle diagram sliced in half. One part is SEO and the other part is CRO

However, CRO and SEO are not always aligned. There are some myths and misconceptions about CRO and SEO that you should be aware of:

  • Myth: CRO will hurt your SEO rankings by reducing your content length or keyword density
  • Fact: CRO will not hurt your SEO rankings if you focus on providing value and relevance to your users. Content length or keyword density are not the only factors that affect SEO rankings. User engagement, dwell time, bounce rate, click-through rate, etc. are also important signals that CRO can improve.
  • Myth: SEO will hurt your CRO results by bringing irrelevant or unqualified traffic
  • Fact: SEO will not hurt your CRO results if you target the right keywords and match user intent. Keyword research, content optimization, and landing page optimization are some of the SEO techniques that can help you attract and convert more relevant and qualified traffic.

Why is CRO important?

CRO is important because it can help you achieve your website and business goals more effectively and efficiently.

By optimizing your website conversions with CRO, you can:

  • Increase your leads, sales, and revenue
  • Reduce your customer acquisition costs and increase your customer lifetime value
  • Improve your user experience and satisfaction
  • Gain a competitive edge in your market

CRO is not a one-time event or a quick fix. It is a continuous and data-driven process that requires research, testing, analysis, and implementation.

To get started with CRO, you need to understand your website performance, user behavior, and market trends. You also need to formulate hypotheses, run experiments, draw conclusions, and apply insights.

CRO is not a solo effort. It requires collaboration and communication among different teams and stakeholders. You also need to use various tools and methods to collect and analyze data, run tests, and make changes.

CRO is not a guessing game. It is based on evidence and facts. You need to validate or invalidate your hypotheses with statistical significance and confidence level.

CRO is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It depends on your website goals, audience, industry, and context. You need to customize your CRO strategy according to your specific needs and situation.


CRO is a continuous and data-driven process that empowers businesses to achieve their website and business goals effectively. By leveraging CRO, you can increase leads, sales, and revenue while reducing customer acquisition costs. Ultimately, providing a seamless user experience and gaining a competitive edge in the market are the key benefits that CRO offers. Embracing CRO as an integral part of your digital strategy will position your business for long-term success in the ever-evolving online landscape.

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