Always wanted to take the guesswork out of creating and running highly profitable websites?

I always did, and that’s why I specialized in conversion rate optimization (CRO) over the years. Here at MoreNiche, we’ve created our own CRO framework, constantly improving and experimenting on our client sites.

Conversion Rate Optimisation is, in my opinion, the most important activity for any online business that has digital growth at the forefront of their strategy. But how are they doing conversion rate optimization in a dedicated conversion agency? What could we learn from them? That’s what I went to find out last Tuesday in London when we were attending the ‘UX & Conversion Optimisation Masterclass’ run by Karl Gilis, owner of AGConsult.

I was madly excited to attend a workshop that is 100% tailored to what I do here at MoreNiche. What I hoped for was to gain insights on how they do conversion rate optimization in a dedicated conversion agency, and hopefully, find some golden nuggets along the way.

Karl was a brilliant speaker. One of those that entertain with their knowledge and their cracking personality. It was a lecture where I never nodded off as it was jam-packed with useful content and good jokes along the way.

He said at the beginning he’s not very good at remembering names. However, I hope he remembers mine – I asked at least 80% of all questions during the day as I’m a firm believer in the “If you don’t ask, you don’t get” mentality. Karl stood his ground and I´m convinced he actually enjoyed being challenged!

What I learned

Okay, let’s get to the part most of you’ve been waiting for. Below I summarised all learnings I feel are also valuable for our MoreNiche affiliates. So here goes:

1 – User research matters

The first lesson learned was that user research is key, as each change on your website should be driven by that. When you do your research, it’s recommended to start with quantitative data (i.e. Google Analytics, Heatmaps, Clickmaps) first, followed by qualitative data (i.e. Surveys, Interviews, User testing)

Key facts to find out:

  • Where?
  • Why?
  • How to fix it?

2 – A website is NOT a project

A website needs continuous improvement – and here’s the proof:

3 – Research and A/B Testing

They’re both business tools – make sure you use them.

4 – Functionality testing is vital

Does your site, form, etc work on every common device and browser? You’ll be surprised how many businesses don’t check – it’s mind-boggling!

5 – Heat maps tell you lots about your visitors

Check where you lost most of your visitors, and then hide the section. AGConsult does this all the time as the first test to see if the section is needed, needs improving or if it’s just ‘unnecessary clutter’.

6 – Avoid stock imagery where you can

They’re often just not realistic. Have you ever seen a spinning class where everyone is smiling? Neither have I!

7 – Ghost buttons are a big NO NO as primary buttons

Please avoid at all costs. If you want users to click, ensure the buttons look like they need clicking.

From our experience, the button should have a good CTA and a chevron or arrow to guide customers to what they should do next (CLICK HERE >)

8 – Choose your CTA colors wisely

In terms of color, here’s another good tip – try to use the opposite of the color wheel based on your overall website color scheme.

9 – Check what appears above the fold

Your homepage should display above the fold what people click most on the top-navigation!

10 – Listen to your customer

You don’t control your brand anymore, the customer is your dictator! And if you don’t listen to the user, the user is gone. If you have to, fight against your brand guidelines and listen to the customers!

11 – Form tracking is really important

If you’ve got it, use Hotjar for your contact us and lead generation form, as they do the trick. For our client sites, I’m currently trialing Formisimo which can also track checkout forms, but I assume that’s not as relevant for you guys. Also, I guess it’s good for you to know that we are on it to ensure the most efficient checkout forms for the traffic you’re sending to our client sites!

12 – Only use tracking cookies as and when needed

When experimenting and conducting user research you do need to embed tracking codes for certain tools. Makes sense. But these could have an effect on your site speed, hence it´s important to remove them once you’ve collected your data. So as a rule of thumb, only run these tools when collecting data.

13 – Be careful with sliders

I´m yet to see a winning A/B test with them. Designers love them as they look fancy, company departments love them as they often get a space above the fold on the homepage. But what about your users?

Check the click-through rates and check how long people actually stay on your homepage before they scroll. From our knowledge often only 20% see the 2nd slider, as the rest leave before the slider moves on to the second image.

So what’s wrong with a slider?

  1. Our eyes react to the movement, which usually means it distracts us from more important things.
  2. They often follow the clutter effect (too much loud noise with too many messages).
  3. Ever heard of banner blindness? Sliders often look like banners and are mistaken for ads, hence they often get ignored.
  4. Users crave control, and auto-rotating sliders don’t give them that choice.

Based on the above I suggest a split test of your slider with a static hero image and a strong value proposition. Let us know the outcome!

14 – Don’t shout for attention on your website

Give attention and remove clutter.

15 – Your website copy should have a psychological build up

Find out what the user’s motivation is, then make the copy all about the customer and how their life can get easier and better by using your product or service.

16 – Definitely do exit surveys on your landing pages

Collect as much data as you can. That way you can find out why your visitors are leaving and you can implement whatever was missing.

Example questions are:

  • Do you have any questions remaining unanswered?
  • What would you like to know?
  • What’s keeping you from buying the product or service?

And if people need an immediate answer (and you can accommodate that), also supply an email or contact number for them to reach you on.

17 – According to Karl Gilis content changes are stronger than design changes

So make sure your content is top-notch! (And if not, work on improving it).

18 – The left side gets more attention than the right

Yes, really! I added that straight to our potential testing list to validate this for brands such as PhenQ.

Over to you!

There’s so much more I learned, and I´m grateful to Karl for sharing so many examples and his insightful knowledge.

Now it’s on us to take these learnings and put them into action, as there’s so much room for improvement for our affiliate and client sites.

So let’s get to it and smash our goal of making our website visitors happy!

Want to know more about Karl Gilis? Take a look at his website AGConsult.