Conversion Rate Optimization for Beginners: 11 Resources To Get You Started

| October 30, 2014
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We’re talking Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Whether you’re in marketing, sales, UX, or even product management, everyone should care about conversion rates. When your conversion rate improves, so does your bottom line and the success of your brand.

So where to start? I’ve assembled 11 articles, blog posts, ebooks and videos—all free for the reading and watching—that will get you on your way to killing CRO for your site. I can already hear the cheering from your colleagues and accolades from your bosses!

1. The Ultimate Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization

From Rich Page

Rich Page knows a thing or two about CRO. You can dig into his book for a complete look—or just start with this post. He covers what CRO is, why you should care, and how to get started. He calls it “ultimate,” and I’m not going to argue. This 20 minute read will get you started on the right foot.

2. The Beginner’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization

From Qualaroo

Ready for more? Our good friends at Qualaroo have assembled a beautiful beginner’s guide to CRO. This 12 chapter treatise is basically a bachelor’s degree in CRO, sans the silly hat and boring ceremony at the end. It’s worth the time to read, and it will put all other articles you read in context. Really—everything else can wait; this will take you an hour (give or take 20 minutes) to get through it all.

3. Split-Testing 101: A Quick-Start Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization

From Conversion Rate Experts

A huge part of executing a great CRO plan is in the testing. This post from Conversion Rate Experts gets into all sorts of tests to improve your conversions. It tells you what they are and how to do them well. They’ve included a list of 108 things to test in all different parts of your site. Take a few minutes to read through the list, and you’ll come away with at least a handful of things to do right away!

4. Best Practices in Conversion Rate Optimization Debunked

From Unbounce

So now you know a little bit about CRO—probably just enough to be dangerous. I’ll bet you can think of a few instances where you looked at a call to action or form and thought, “I bet it would work better if….”

Well, not so fast! Greg Ciotti over at Unbounce pulled together a few examples of tests that scrutinize some conventionally held beliefs about what makes good CRO. You will be surprised by at least one of these five examples.

5. How to Write Web Copy that Converts—8 Simple Techniques Based on 4 Years of Research

From ContentVerve.com

It is hard to pick just one article from ContentVerve.com, but this may be one of my favorites. Michael Aagaard has spent enormous amount of time experimenting, testing, and telling us what works for CRO. And remember: it isn’t all about button color and placement. He reminds us here that copy converts (or doesn’t).

My favorite line from this article is, “Assume no one wants to do, what you want them to do.” Let him take you through a bunch of his A/B tests and show you how to think about creating your copy. Then bookmark his page and return everytime he has new content.

6. 4 Ways Fear Is Part of the Conversion Process—And What It Means for You

From SiteTuners

I love this article simply because in it, Tim Ash says out loud what we’ve all encountered before. Only yesterday I put a pair of shoes in my Zappos cart, and it told me in bright orange: “ONLY 2 LEFT!” I’d better make that purchase! Right? Well, conversion is all about motivating people, and frankly, we humans respond to fear. So learning how to use it, when to dial it up, or back, is an important CRO lesson.

7. CRO Statistics: How to Avoid Reporting Bad Data

From Moz

Ready for a deeper dive? Now that you’re ready to do some optimization, you should get your head around how to interpret your results. This post from Moz’s Craig Bradford takes you through how long your tests should run, how many people you need to participate, and how to tell if they are really significant – like statistically significant.

Yeah, there is math, and it is a bit of a longer read—25 to 30 minutes to digest all the concepts. But if you want to really understand your testing efforts, this is where to start.

8. Mobile Landing Page Optimization—10 Best Practices for Success

From Search Engine Watch

If you haven’t been paying attention to your customers’ mobile activity, you’d better start now! Yup, people buy on mobile, and will do so more and more frequently in the coming months and years. Angie Schottmuller will put you in the mood to think about it with this article specifically about CRO for mobile. Her ten-point list (15 minute read) reminds us to be fast, concise and thumb-friendly.

9. Want to Improve Your Blog’s Conversion Rates? 11 Tests to Try

From HubSpot

Now that you’ve broadened into mobile, why not give some CRO love to your blog? The optimization geniuses over at Hubspot have put together a list of tests you can try. No need to guess at this stuff—you need to test it! And this will guide you and your blog on a path to internet domination… or at least better conversion.

10. Conversion Rate Optimization Round Table: 11 Conversion Rate Experts Weigh In

From CPC Strategy

So it turns out CRO isn’t just about landing pages. In fact, every step of the customer journey can be looked at individually and optimized in its own way. The CPC Strategy Blog gathered 11 CRO experts (including our own CEO, Darrell Benatar!) to talk specifically about giving that final push to people who have put items into a shopping basket and then walk away. This is that “We were so close!” moment where it is crucial for any e-commerce company to find out why customers abandon their shopping carts.

11. How Some Companies Succeed at Converting Visitors Yet Fail to Earn Great Customers [Video]

From Moz

Here is your reminder that succeeding at converting a customer one time is not the be all and end all. Going back to Moz (what can we say, they do a lot of great work), Rand Fishkin reminds us that what we are really looking for are long term customers who feel great about using our products. In this whiteboard talk, Rand will take you through some honest examples about where Moz loses customers, why it happens, and how to turn that relationship around.

Bonus: UserTesting’s Conversion Rate Optimization Crash Course

This four-part email series will show you how to boost your conversions through user testing. You’ll get tips on how to use your analytics to uncover testing opportunities, plus seven testing templates.

What’s your favorite CRO article?

    This is just scratching the surface, but these articles and videos will get you on your way to CRO victory. Do you have a favorite CRO article or resource? Have any of these posts enlightened you to new ways of thinking about CRO? Leave us a comment!