Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a fancy term for a dead simple task – getting more of your website visitors to take the appropriate action. Note we said that the visitor’s side of the equation is simple, and it is. All they have to do is sign up for an email list or buy a product or service – whatever it is that is the reason for your site’s existence.
For the rest of us website owners desperately seeking the Holy Grail that will ratchet our conversions up, the task is more complicated, especially if you’re new to the whole art/science/voodoo that is modern CRO.
But you can rest easy. Even if you’re the wettest behind the ears newbie imaginable, we’re about to open up a world of possibilities by presenting the first four CRO tools you should consider as you begin (or continue) your battle to make a buck online. Easy to use but powerful, get ready to have your wildest dreams of profit come true. Just having a little fun there, but you never know…
Why You Should Care About CRO
In case you feeling compelled to dismiss the importance of a better conversion rate, consider the following:
- Higher conversion rate = better ROI
- You can make more money with the same amount of visitors
- It’s the best way to circumvent online impatience from visitors
Achieving these three goals is all in the data and how you analyze it. Let’s get started.
Tool #1 – Hotjar
Powerful but with a short learning curve, Hotjar allows you to analyze a website up to 2,000 pageviews a day at no cost. For 10,000 pageviews a day, your price will be $29 a month and it goes up from there. What can you do with Hotjar? Quite a lot, actually.
Features include: polling, surveys, visual heatmaps, conversion funnel tracking, form analytics, visitor recordings, and more.
The cool stuff: If you haven’t heard about visual heatmaps, they’re all the rage in CRO conversations. Put simply, they allow you to identify hot and cold spots on your website – in other words, where visitors click and where they don’t. If your prize BUY NOW button is in the deep freeze, a heatmap lets you know a redesign is in order.
Visitor recordings can also be helpful as you launch a CRO strategy. Did you ever wish you could stand behind a visitor’s shoulder and watch as they navigate your site? Being able to see exactly where they got bored, confused, frustrated, or simply leaped up to answer the call of nature would be immensely valuable. That’s what you can do with visitor recordings. Play back the click journey(s) and you’ll soon be able to tell where the process falls apart.
Tool #2 – Crazy Egg
Crazy Egg is definitely a major player in the CRO field. With a generous 30-day trial period and pricing that starts at $29 month, this service allows you a chance to practice before committing actual money.
The cool stuff: The big three offerings from Crazy Egg are heatmaps, visitor recordings, and A/B testing. We’ve already touched on heatmaps and visitor recordings, so let’s define A/B testing, which is a basic but critical part of CRO.
The overall process of CRO is to figure out what isn’t converting on your website and change it. The simplest way to do that is create nearly identical pages and split your traffic between them. Note we said NEARLY identical. By changing one thing at a time on a page, like say the color of the “buy” button, you can compare which version converts better.
By continuing to make one change at a time, you incrementally improve your conversion rate.
Tool #3 – EyeQuant
While heatmap tools are pretty standard fare with most CRO tools, EyeQuant has taken a different approach. Rather than relying on visitors’ actions to discern hot and cold spots on a web page, this company uses artificial intelligence (AI) to predict the areas that draw visual attention which, obviously, is a precursor (and perhaps more valuable measurement) to action.
The cool stuff: Where heatmaps collect and combine real world site interaction that plays out over time, EyeQuant’s Attention Map lets you upload a snapshot of a web page and delivers the verdict within a few minutes. This almost instant analysis comes to us courtesy of technical AI advances that make an educated guess as to where human eyes will go first.
One thing to keep in mind is that this service seems to work better with e-commerce websites. It tends to automatically decide that text heavy sites are too busy. While EyeQuant’s price might appear to be a state secret, we’ve managed to determine that entry-level packages start at around $100 per month.
As to whether your needs can justify the price – your call – but the case studies are pretty impressive.
Tool #4 – Google Analytics
The old war horse of CRO is something you’d have a hard time avoiding if you spend much time at all online but just because it’s been around a while doesn’t mean it’s past its prime. Not only has Google Analytics (GA) been revamped in recent years to make it even more valuable for CRO practitioners — it’s free. Included in GA are all the usual suspects of CRO like A/B testing, exit page, behavior flow, and more.
An often overlooked part of tuning your website for maximum conversions is how quickly it loads. Everything else being equal, a faster website means higher conversions. You’re doing yourself a serious disservice if you don’t pay attention to this. While we’re not trying to turn you into a programmer, there is a lot to accomplish through a few relatively simple strategies related to file compression.
Check out this Pingdom page to find out how quickly your website loads. Keep in mind that Google recommends two seconds or less and even uses this metric as part of its vaunted algorithm that determines where you place in search results. Improving site load speed is an ongoing parallel process to focus on at the same time as you learn to use the CRO tools we’ve discussed here. Good luck!