The following chapter is about the Conversion Audit Checklist which is part of the full Website Audit Checklist definitive guide.
Getting tons of traffic from Google is great but you know what traffic is?
A vanity metric.
It’s vanity because traffic is an empty metric that in most cases isn’t worth much alone.
You might have a lot of traffic but you’re not getting any revenue from it.
What you want to focus on is generating conversions.
So why is CRO (Conversion rate optimisation) so important?
It enables you to:
- Avoid overspending on advertising
- Get more from your existing traffic
- Lower your customer acquisition costs (CAC)
- Increase website revenue
- Build better relationships with your audience.
Look at it this way – if you can optimize your site in a way that increases your conversion rate by 30%, you basically managed to cut your CAC (Customer acquisition cost) by 30%. This equals more profit for your bottom line!
Whether you are looking to improve your conversion rate or just make your user interface as straightforward to use as possible, the number one thing you can do is get to know your audience better. Don’t assume you understand their needs. Dig a little deeper by looking at how they behave and their context, not just what they say.
Paul Boag, Customer Experience Specialist
Note: There are many areas of different website audits that will affect conversion so you can’t just do this audit in isolation. For example, it’s also important to review the user experience and traffic audit.
What channels are working/not working?
You can’t improve what you can’t measure.
Conversion data can come from many sources and depending on your business you may be measuring different things. Here’s an example of what we’d look for:
|General traffic data||Typically found in Google Analytics.|
|Goals||You can set up goals in Google Analytics to track things like email conversions, enquiries, sales, etc.|
|Sales funnel conversion||You can set up a funnel in Google Analytics to track potential buyers going through your checkout process which may involve several pages. One important measure is the abandonment rate which is basically the number of people that started the booking process but didn’t complete it.|
|Ecommerce conversion data||This could be within or outside of Google Analytics. Within Google Analytics you can tag all product purchases with the relevant value and this data will appear alongside traffic data in Google Analytics.|
You then need to complete the information required to give you good insight into performance. The following tables are just an example, they will need to be adjusted based on the type of business.
The period you want to report against will vary depending on your business. For example if it’s a seasonal business that runs only during the summer months, it’s not going to make sense to do 3 month reporting based on the winter season. It’s also very useful to do a comparison of current versus previous period.
We start with the high level stats:
|Website conversion rate||The percentage of website visitors that arrive on your website and buy products services.|
|Check out conversion rate||The percentage of visitors that start your conversion process and finish it!|
|Abandonment rate||The % of people that start your conversion process but drop out.|
|Step X abandonment||We drill down to each step of the booking process and see where people are dropping out.|
|AOV||Average order value|
Performance by [channel/country etc.]
The following is performance by channel (note: you may also want to drill these down further, for example, for paid ads look at things like cpc and ctr.)
|Programmatic Ad display|
Note: Referral paid refers to promotion on other websites e.g. sponsored content.
Performance by Device
You may also have other performance tables but this depends on the business. For example:
- Performance by age group
- Performance by country
- Performance by city.
How is the sales funnels performing?
This is where we do a detailed analysis of the sales funnels to see how they are performing.
We want to see what is working well and what issues are effecting results.
Example funnel below:
Does your homepage clearly state what you offer, why you are different, and what visitors can do next?
We often fall down right at the first hurdle when we don’t make it clear to a website visitor who we are and what we do.
This can be different for different websites depending on how well the brand is known and if it’s an eCommerce store or not.
You need to pass the 5 second test so visitors know what you are about within 5 seconds of landing on your website.
For example, for a non eCommerce site you want to start off with an opening tagline that makes it clear what you do. The tagline is generally placed in the hero image.
We recommend that you then expand on the tagline with a good description either directly underneath the tagline (if you can do it in a short sentence) or in the section under the banner.
Your value proposition is about what value you are going to provide to potential customers and you want this to stand out as different from other competitors.
In this example, you can see a tagline with accompanying description right underneath it:
The tagline gives you an idea of what the company can do for you and then underneath it describes how they do it. This is followed by a primary call to action which stands out (Get started) and a secondary call to action for people who are not ready to get started yet.
When all of this is communicated above the fold, the next thing you should do is send people to different areas of your website depending on their interests.
When visitors land on your homepage, it’s generally pretty obvious to them that you’re an online shop. If it’s, not then you’ve definitely fallen at the first hurdle.
But you still want to convey (with your tagline) what makes you different.
You also want to make it clear what they should do next (this could be a ‘shop now’ call to action or many calls to action for different products/different categories).
Clarity Improves Conversion.
Ian Cleary, RazorAudit
Does the website provide enough signals of trust?
If you don’t trust what the website is offering you won’t buy.
When a visitor lands on your website, they form an impression of your business in less than 1 second. They pick up on the look and feel of the website and decide whether or not they can trust you.
A good design is the starting point for building a relationship of trust.
Secure certificate (SSL)
Trust starts off with a secure certificate on every page on your website (especially booking) but there are other trust factors, too. They vary based on the type of website.
Providing your company address, email and phone number adds to trust. It tells visitors that you have nothing to hide and that you’re easy to get in touch with.
Social proof is about external evidence that supports you are a trustworthy brand. For example:
- Testimonials (services, products on eCommerce sites etc.)
- As seen on
- X number of people have already bought this
- Case studies showing results you’ve achieved.
Most people that visit your website aren’t ready to buy. They may not know enough about the industry, product/service or may not even think they have a need for the product/service you’re offering.
Great content can educate your audience and build trust along the way.
For example, you can create valuable blog content and have people sign up via email.
Over time you can build trust by continuing to provide valuable content.
You are basically taking a cold audience (may not know you) and warming them up!!
- Display information about your team members
- Outline your brand values
- Provide social proof – testimonials, awards etc.
Are there good product videos that show exactly what the customer will get?
Incentives to help with conversion
You could offer a money back guarantee as a way of demonstrating trust in your products/services.
Do pages have a design/layout that will help with conversion?
You should refer to the UX audit which shows the importance of good layout.
And you also need to think about important elements on the page.
The following is a page structure sent to us by Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media:
You can see the level of thought that needs to be put into a service page like this.
Do forms have thank you pages?
A thank you page after a user submits a form is a super valuable page.
Unfortunately, just a handful of websites are using thank you pages to the fullest.
And that’s because we don’t value those pages enough.
A thank you page has multiple purposes:
a). Imagine you wanted to track conversion rates for email subscribers. As soon as someone subscribes you send them to a thank you page.
Now… you can set up a goal that tracks visits to the thank you page.
b). A thank you page gives you the opportunity to show a user what’s next. For example:
You have just sold them a ticket to a conference. Your thank you page offers an upsell.
Your customer just bought 2 nights in your Hotel. The thank you page shows some fantastic testimonials and tells the customer how much they are going to enjoy the visit.
This reduces buyer remorse.
c). Or you could just link off to other relevant content to educate the audience more about your business and your products.
Is the business taking advantage of high traffic pages?
High traffic pages are valuable pages.
Do you use these pages to sell more products or services?
Or promote other pages that sell products or services?
Or add an email optin on the page to capture more people at the start of the buyer’s journey?
We review the high traffic pages to see if the business is taking full advantage of this.
One thing we like to do when starting work with a client is highlight the top 3-5 pages in each intent bucket that have a relatively higher number of organic visits, but low conversion rates. These are often quick wins that have a direct impact on lead volume and/or topline revenue.
Robbie Richards, RobbieRichards.com
Are CTAs clear, relevant and have good action verbs?
A call to action does what is says on the tin!
It calls the person to action.
A primary call to action is what you really want someone to do.
- Buy now
- Book now
- Schedule a demo
- Contact us
- Sign up
A secondary call to action is what you want them to do if they don’t do the first thing. You basically engage visitors who may need more information before they take the main action.
Secondary CTAs typically call visitors to subscribe, learn more, etc.
In the following example the Hotel has an exit intent popup that only appears when someone is trying to exit the website.
They try to convince people to go back and book (primary call to action) or ring if they have questions (secondary call to action).
When someone searches Google you don’t know what page of your website they will land on so you need to make sure there are clear calls to action on internal pages letting people know what you want them to do next.
What’s a sticky call to action?
A sticky call to action is where the call to action is always visible even when you scroll down the page. If you have ‘buy’ button or equivalent you’ll want a sticky call to action for desktop and mobile.
Are there good landing pages?
When you are running ads or unpaid promotions across different channels and you are sending people to your website, you don’t want to send them to your homepage.
Your homepage is designed to cater for multiple audiences and answer lots of questions.
Your landing page is really focused. For example, it would be targeting one offer for one target segment.
The PASTOR method is one way to structure a good landing page:
P for Problem – You start off with the problem you are solving.
A for Amplification – You expand on this problem i.e you amplify it.
S for Story or Solution – What’s the solution to the problem.
T for Testimonial – At least one testimonial where the problem was solved.
O for Offer – What are you going to offer them, if there’s no specific offer you move straight to the next point.
R for Response – This is where you ask people to make a decision or form a response.
This shows the level of thought that needs to go into the layout and the content of a landing page.
So it’s important to review different types of pages to make sure the information is presented in the best way, for example:
- Checkout page
- Service pages
Is web copy written to drive conversions?
The copy you use on your website has a huge impact on conversions.
A Copywriter is someone that writes copy….surprise surprise!
I recently started using a Copywriter for my website and sales copy and I’m really sorry I didn’t hire them a long time ago.
- Do testimonials back up what you are selling (make a claim and back it up with social proof)?
- Is it very easy to understand what you do?
- Does the product copy accurately and easily describe the products?
- Is the balance right between SEO and good copy?
- Is Copy written in a way that will encourage people to read it? (e.g. Bullets, headings etc)
- Does copy appeal to the emotions of the user where relevant?
Is exit rate high on important pages?
The exit rate is a percentage of visitors who exit your website on a particular page.
A high exit rate is ok if that page is a thank you page straight after purchasing your products or services.
But what happens if it’s a sales page?
We’ll investigate to see:
- If there’s a clear call to action to go to the next step of the process (e.g. Add to cart).
- If the copy and layout is good.
- If there’s an exit intent popup to capture details before visitors leave.
Dead end pages are pages on your website that don’t give people anywhere to go after this. There shouldn’t be any dead end pages.
Even a thank you page… because you can get people to take action on this page (e.g. Search for more products, share on social media).
Are there alternatives for not buying now?
This will depend on the product or service. For example:
- Free trial – Maybe there’s a free trial of software
- Free consultancy call
- Sign up as an email subscriber
What’s the bounce rate on pages?
Imagine if you got a lot of traffic to a high priority page but there was also a high bounce rate for this page?
We need to analyse these pages and see how we can improve them.
Here are some of the common reasons for a high bounce rate on a page:
- Irrelevant content or content that doesn’t match user intent
- Too many elements on the page creating visual clutter
- Slow page load times
- The page isn’t mobile friendly
- Intrusive ads or popups that come up as soon as someone land on your site
- Not having a clear next step for visitors to follow.
Here are typical bounce rates that you should definitely try to lower.
Are there high quality product videos and images?
Picture is worth a thousand words, and this is particularly true if you’re trying to sell products online.
Compelling visuals or high-quality pictures of the product can impact the purchasing decision of your customers.
So make sure that your product images are:
- Taken by a professional product photographer
- Include the basics of image SEO
- Keep a consistent style and design for each photo.
And if you want to go one step further, create a video that shows your product in action.
Where are people focusing their attention on?
This is where we watch and record what people are doing on your website.
- Visitor recording – There are many tools (e.g. Hotjar) that allow you to watch how people on desktop and mobile interact with your website. This gives a good idea of potential issues.
- Heatmap – This shows where people are focussing their attention and clicking on the pages of your website.
- Scroll map – This shows where people are scrolling to on your website. No point in putting your main offer way down the page if most people don’t get to this part of the website.
Note: The above uses Hotjar which is a very useful tool.
What is the payment process like?
When someone clicks on a call to action to buy, what is the payment process like?
This could be a shopping cart where you add items and then go to checkout.
…you only have one product/service to buy so there’s no ‘basket’.
You want to step through the whole process to see if there are any issues:
- Are all the steps clear and intuitive?
- Do you ask for too much information?
- Is there a choice of payment systems?
- Is there something to indicate it’s secure?
- Are there upsells/cross sells?
Is there a very obvious CTA in the banner?
The top half of the homepage or ‘above the fold’ section is the most prominent property of your website and you want to use it wisely.
This is where you place your unique sales proposition and your main CTA
The call to action you choose will depend on your business.
For example, if you sell houses a ‘buy now’ button is not going to be relevant but a search button is probably going to be very relevant.
In the following example there are 2 main CTA’s – Search and Advertise my property.
Note: for this example we’d advise the calls to action to have a different colour than the blue brand colour that is used a lot on the website.
Here’s an example of a service-based business that has a clear tagline, an expanded version of the tagline and a primary and secondary call to action:
The primary call to action stands out more on the page (in orange) and this is what they really want you to do.
But it also has a very smart secondary call to action to ‘see the proof.’ If you’re not ready to buy then read the case studies and this will push you over the edge!
How effective are lead capture forms?
In order to optimize the process of capturing leads on your website you need to answer the following questions.
Are you effectively building your email subscriber lists?
Are you creating different types of optins with page-level targeting?
And if you are asking people to become a part of your email list you need to be clear about one thing:
What’s in it for them?
Here are a couple of examples:
- Discount on your products
- Become a VIP etc.
To be successful at email marketing, you need to grow your list of email subscribers. To grow your list of subscribers, you need a great email signup form. The growth of your email list depends on how you design that little box. Ensure you have the 3 P’s for email sign up forms to optimise conversion – prominence, promise and proof.
Andy Crestodina, Orbit Media
How is the lead follow-up process?
Optimizing your lead follow-up process is an important piece of the CRO puzzle.
Are you leveraging automation tools to build automation around specific events and track all interactions with leads and customers?
If you automatically send follow up emails to your leads and customers, and segment your list so you can send the right messages to the right people at the right time, this will help improve your conversion rates.
Is it easy to contact the business?
What happens when someone wants to buy but they have some questions?
Do you make it easy to contact you e.g.:
- Chatbot for immediate conversation
- Phone number clearly accessible
- Contact form available
Ecommerce Specific Testing
Are related products offered?
This could be:
a). When someone is searching for products and you show related products on the same page
b). You are buying a product and there’s an option to add a related product to your cart (see Amazon)
c). You purchase a product and then after the sale you are offered an upsell of a related product.
Are the main USP’s reinforced across your website?
For example, if you offer free-shipping is this very clear across the website?
You don’t want to lose out on sales because your USP’s (unique selling position) are not clear.
Are shipping and return policies clear?
My wife said to me the other day that she decided to buy a pair of shoes online because you can return the product at no cost.
Shipping and returns are 2 big factors that effect your sales and it needs to be made very clear what these policies are.
Are reviews encouraged on the site?
Reviews improve your chances of getting more conversions in the future.
…if users leave reviews they are taking a stand on your product which will help with future sales.
Can the password be easily recovered?
You are about to buy but you can’t remember your password….
You want to make this easy!
Are urgency/scarcity tactics used to drive visitors to action?
Here are some examples of persuasion techniques that can help you sell more products:
- Only X products left
- Sale ending in X hours
- 5 other people looking at this offer.
Are there offers that appeal to different target markets?
You want to consider running multiple promotions at the same time that may appeal to different target markets or just having 2 offers where one appears to a particular target market but the other doesn’t.