More than two-thirds of businesses do not have a concrete conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy in place.
Why? Because its hard and complicated, or it was.
Is your company part of this group? Do you need clarification on what CRO is, why it matters, or how you can implement an effective strategy?
If you said “yes,” to these questions, read on.
This guide features all the answers you need. Below, you’ll learn what conversion rates and conversion rate optimization are, why they matter, and how you can use a split test or A/B test in WordPress to improve your strategy and achieve better results.
What Is Your Website’s Conversion Rate?
Your website’s conversion rate is a number (expressed as a percentage) that tells you how many visitors took specific actions and reached a desired goal in a given period.
For example, say you want people to sign up for your email newsletter. The percentage of people who do this, compared to those who visit your website but don’t take the extra step of providing their email address, is your conversion rate.
Maybe 1,000 people visit your site and 100 sign up for your newsletter. In that case, your conversion rate would be 10 percent.
What Is a Good Conversion Rate
At first, the idea of a 10 percent conversion rate might sound disappointing. In reality, though, it is far above average.
The definition of a “good” conversion rate varies by industry. According to recent research from Adobe, the following are considered average across various fields:
- Gifts: 4.9 percent
- Health and pharmacy: 4.6 percent
- Apparel and footwear: 4.2
- Sports: 3.1
- Jewelry and cosmetics: 2.9 percent
- Furniture and decor: 2.3 percent
- Major chains: 2.3 percent
- Automotive: 2.2 percent
- DIY and tools: 1.7 percent
- Consumer electronics: 1.4 percent
Remember that these are just averages. However, if your current conversion rate is far below the number associated with your particular industry, it could be helpful to use the average as a goal to work toward moving forward.
What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Conversion rate optimization, or CRO, is a series of practices one can use to increase their conversion rate and get a higher percentage of users to take a particular action.
The following are some examples of conversion rate optimization strategies:
- Changing your call-to-action button design to make it more eye-catching
- Using time-limited offers to create a sense of urgency and fear of missing out (FOMO)
- Sharing testimonials to provide social proof
- Using shorter forms to prevent people from giving up halfway through
Basically, anything you do with the intent of increasing your conversion rate could be considered an optimization strategy.
Why Prioritize Conversion Rate Optimization?
Regardless of what you sell or how long you’ve been in business, focusing on conversion rate optimization can benefit your company. Here are some specific benefits these strategies provide:
- Better return on investment: More conversions mean your marketing and advertising efforts are paying off. A better conversion rate also means less spending overall, especially when it comes to customer acquisition costs.
- Improved user experience: Some conversion rate optimization tactics make your website more user-friendly and provide visitors with a better experience (increasing the likelihood that they’ll take a specific action or come back again in the future).
- More customer insights: Testing and data collection are critical parts of an effective conversion rate optimization strategy. This data helps you understand your customers better, which allows you to make more informed decisions in other areas of your business.
- Better bottom line: Even if your goal isn’t for people to make a purchase, prioritizing conversion rate optimization can still boost your bottom line. If people view your company positively and take other actions when prompted, their chances of eventually making a purchase increase.
If any of those benefits sound appealing to you (and why wouldn’t they?), it’s time to start putting together a conversion rate optimization plan.
Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies
There are lots of techniques you might incorporate into your business’s conversion rate optimization plan. The following are some of the most well-known options:
- Add clear calls-to-action to all web pages, including blog posts
- Use lead flows (pop-ups that encourage people to share their email addresses or other contact details) to increase engagement
- Use automation to your advantage by sending follow-up messages to people who abandon carts, leave after looking at a specific product, etc.
- Use live chat software to connect with people who are visiting high-converting web pages (if someone is there to answer their questions, they might be more likely to follow through)
- Use retargeting on Facebook and other problems to re-engage with past website visitors.
It’s also essential that you optimize your pages for search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) helps your website rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs), drawing more traffic and creating more conversion opportunities.
Why Testing Matters for Conversion Rate Optimization
A common challenge that people face when creating and implementing a conversion rate optimization strategy is measuring success and figuring out what tactics, specifically, produced the best results.
This frequent issue explains why testing is crucial to a successful conversion rate optimization strategy. When done correctly, testing can help you measure the effectiveness of different techniques.
Once you’ve identified those that are most effective, you can try those tactics the first time around in the future. This approach will save you time, improve your ROI, and, of course, boost the number of conversions you get.
Types of Testing to Try
You can use several different types of testing to measure the effectiveness of your website’s conversion optimization rate.
However, two of the most beneficial options are split testing and A/B testing, which we’ll discuss in more detail in the upcoming sections.
A/B testing and split testing are effective for many reasons, including the following:
- A wide range of factors can affect your website’s conversion rates, from the page’s design to the copy to the call-to-action. A/B and split testing allow you to experiment with different versions of these elements and find the combination that appeals to your target audience the most.
- A/B and split testing allow you to make data-driven decisions. Rather than throwing things at the wall randomly to see what sticks, you can use relevant data to make decisions about how you’ll proceed.
- A/B and split testing are fairly simple and can be done with many different tools, including WordPress plugins that integrate directly with your website.
If any of these advantages appeal to you, it’s time to incorporate one or both of these tests into your conversion rate optimization plan.
How to Use a Split Test in WordPress to Improve Your Conversion Rate
Are you thinking about using split testing to assess your WordPress site and make innovative UI/UX design changes?
If so, the following steps will help you create an effective test and collect the most relevant data possible:
Choose a Web Page to Test
Start by deciding which web page you want to test first. For example, do you want to test a particular landing page or an email list signup popup?
Consider what action you want people to take when they visit your site and arrive at this particular page (schedule an appointment, make a purchase, sign up for your email list, etc.). Then, pick the page that is most important for them to take that action.
Gather Relevant Data
Before you begin testing, you should also evaluate your website and gather relevant data. That way, you’ll have information to compare after you complete the test.
Depending on the specific page you want to test, here are some examples of metrics you might want to measure and analyze:
- Conversion rate
- Click-through rate
- Bounce rate (the number of people who leave without taking further action)
- Scroll depth (how far down on the page someone scrolls)
- Abandonment rate (e.g., quitting a survey halfway through, abandoning a shopping cart, etc.)
- Session duration (the amount of time someone spends on a page
If you’re looking at metrics like abandonment rate and conversion rate, it also helps to monitor revenue. That way, you can see which page helps your business earn more money.
Create a Hypothesis
As you may remember from your high school science class, a hypothesis is your best guess about what will happen as a result of this experiment. What kind of effect on your conversion rate will a change in layout or images produce?
Use the data you gathered in the previous step as a jumping-off point. Or use our free AI website conversion tool to give you split test ideas and general conversion optimization stratigies.
For example, say you notice that your current bounce rate is high. In that case, maybe your hypothesis would be that changing the web page so that it features an engaging video will produce a lower bounce rate.
Remember to be realistic with your hypothesis as well. Again, this is where past data comes in handy.
If your current conversion rate is 1 percent, it’s unlikely that you’ll jump up to a 5 percent conversion in one month. It might be more realistic to anticipate an increase of 0.5 to 1 percent, though.
Decide Which Elements You Want to Change
Next, decide exactly which elements you want to change for the new version of your web page (the one you’ll be testing against the control). For example, you might decide to change the images, the color of the backdrop, the font size or type, the location of the call-to-action button, etc.
Be sure to make a note of everything you’ve changed, whether it’s on the front end or the back end. That way, you’ll have an easier time making similar updates on other pages (if you find that the new page produces better results).
Run the Test and Evaluate the Results
Finally, you’ll be ready to test the two pages and see which one performs the best (increases conversions, reduces bounce rate, etc.).
If you find that the test page produces better results, you may want to move on and start making similar updates to other important pages. Conversely, if you don’t see improvement, you might need to look more closely at other contributing factors.
Split Testing Best Practices
When done correctly, split testing can provide valuable insights that help you level up your business.
How do you ensure your split test is as effective as possible? Make sure you’re following these best practices:
Start with Simple Tests
Try not to get too carried away with the changes you make to the test web page, especially if you’re new to the concept of split testing. Making too many complex changes (to the front or back end) could create confusion and prevent you from making meaningful improvements to your website.
Don’t Choose Too Many Metrics
Similarly, resist the urge to monitor too many metrics throughout the testing process.
Pick the ones — like conversion rate — that matter the most to your business and your long-term goals. Remember that you can always run another test later that focuses on different metrics.
Focus on High-Impact Pages
You’ll get the most bang for your proverbial buck by focusing on high-impact pages (some people also refer to these as “money pages”). Examples include landing pages that encourage people to buy a specific product and lead generation pages that provide valuable contact information.
Redesigning these pages first will help you increase your conversion rate sooner and identify what elements of your plan are most effective. You can then use those results to help you decide how you want to revamp the rest of the website.
Keep the Results of Past Tests
Take careful notes during the testing process so you know what you changed, the results that the change contributed to, etc.
Save all this information, as well as the test results, so that you can refer back to them in the future. Having these details readily available will make future tests easier because you won’t be starting from scratch.
Give the Test Time to Produce Results
Remember to run the test long enough to collect significant evidence that either proves or disproves your hypothesis. If you only test for a couple of days, you won’t have much valid data to work with.
At a minimum, run the test for a few weeks. That will give people time to engage with the pages and help you see if your changes were effective.
Keep in mind, too, that all results can be used to inform your decision-making process.
If you see improvements with the enw page, you’ll know that a redesign will likely be helpful for your website overall. If you don’t notice improvements, you’ll see that you need to reassess other aspects.
How to Use an A/B Test in WordPress to Improve Your Conversion Rate
Do you think A/B testing is more effective for your conversion rate optimization strategy? If so, take the following steps (many of them are similar to the steps required for split testing, but there are some important distinctions as well):
Choose a Page and Element to Test
First, decide what web page you want to test. For example, do you want to refine a specific landing page to increase conversions?
Choose your page, then consider what elements you want to experiment with during your A/B tests.
Do Your Research
Your second step is to do some research and identify the specific performance metrics you want to measure (such as your conversion rate or click-through rate). To make this decision, you’ll need to review your entire website’s data so you have a clear understanding of your starting point.
Create a Hypothesis
Next, you’ll create a hypothesis based on the data you collected in the last step. What is a reasonable outcome to expect from these tests? What kinds of results do you think you and your team will see?
From here, you’ll create variations of the page you chose in step one. For example, you might create one that has a different font or one in which the call-to-action button is a different color or in a different location.
Run the Test
When you’ve completed the variation you want to test first, you’ll be ready to run the test.
As is the case with split testing, you must give the test time to produce meaningful results. Wait at least a few weeks before you evaluate the outcomes and decide which variation is more effective.
Analyze Results and Choose the Winner
At the end of the testing period, analyze the results. Once you’ve determined which variation contributes the most to increasing your conversion rate, you’ll have valuable data to reference in the future.
Prepare for the Next Testing Cycle
Depending on the results you saw from the first test, you might decide that the outcomes weren’t significant enough to justify a permanent change — at least the change that you made in this particular test.
If that happens, you can run a follow-up test experimenting with a different change.
Follow the same steps shared above as you apply the new change and prepare to launch another test.
A/B Testing Best Practices
As is the case with split testing, there are certain A/B testing best practices that can help you collect more relevant and valuable information. Here are some of the most important ones to keep in mind:
Only Test One Variable at a Time
One of the key tenets of A/B/C testing is that it allows you to measure the effectiveness of changing just one aspect of a web page.
If you change multiple variables at once, you won’t know which one was actually helpful in increasing your conversion rate. Was it the new font, the new picture, or the new call-to-action button?
Changing and testing one variable at a time lets you know precisely what does or doesn’t work.
Be Specific, But Not Too Specific
It is possible to get too granular with your A/B testing.
While this type of test is meant to assess individual variables, if you get too specific, you might not get any significant results — meaning you’ll have to start over with a new test.
Choose variables that, based on the data you’ve collected, are most likely to make a difference.
For example, say you’ve noticed that a lot of people are quitting your contact information form halfway through (increasing your website’s abandonment rate and preventing you from getting more conversions). With that information in mind, you might decide that you want to compare the original form with one that has fewer fields for people to fill in.
If your abandonment rate drops and your conversion rate goes up, you’ll know that people are getting frustrated by the long form and deciding that whatever freebie you are offering isn’t worth the effort.
Test Both Versions Simultaneously
Remember to test the control page and the changed page at the same time. If you test one and then wait a month to test the other, your results will be skewed. So make sure you are using a professional tool like AB Split Test
For example, say the changed page produces more conversions. Because you waited a month, you won’t know for sure that it was the changes that produced better results. It could have been another factor entirely.
Why Use an A/B or Split Test WordPress Plugin?
Whether you’re conducting an A/B or split test, a WordPress plugin can help to simplify the testing process and gather meaningful data. The following are some of the most significant benefits a split testing WordPress plugin can provide:
A/B and split testing are simple but not necessarily easy. In other words, it can take a lot of work to create two pages, identify the metrics you want to track, launch the test, collect data, analyze it, save the results, etc.
The process becomes much easier and more efficient when you use a WordPress plugin specifically designed for these kinds of tests.
As a business owner, you have enough on your plate without throwing “figure out how to run A/B test” into the mix. Use a plugin like AB Split Test that does the heavy lifting for you so you have more time to focus on other tasks.
The data tracking and collection processes can be particularly challenging when running split tests or A/B tests.
If you use a plugin, it will do the hard work of monitoring and saving this data. As a result, you’ll be able to reference it at any time and use it to discover valuable insights about your website, your audience, and what encourages them to engage.
Protect Your Work
Say you’ve spent a lot of time creating a specific webpage. You’ve worked so hard, in fact, that the page ranks highly on search engine results pages, and you don’t want to risk losing that progress by publishing a duplicate page as part of the testing process.
Here is where A/B and split testing plugins come in handy. Most tools use redirects and tags that let Google (and other search engines) know that this duplicate is temporary. As a result, it won’t work against you and your search engine optimization efforts.
Integrates with the WordPress Platform
The great thing about WordPress plugins is that they integrate seamlessly with the WordPress platform (which is used by 810 million websites worldwide).
By using a WordPress-specific plugin like AB Split Test, you won’t have to worry about trouble setting it up and running your tests. You’ll be able to create and launch them faster, meaning you can also collect valuable data sooner.
What to Look for in an A/B or Split Test WordPress Plugin
If you’re convinced that an A/B testing WordPress plugin can help you and your team, make sure you’re using the right one. Here are some of the top factors to consider when choosing a tool for your website:
Ease of Use
Naturally, you’ll want to find a plugin that is easy to set up and start using. Nobody wants to spend hours or days figuring out how to navigate a particular plugin — especially one that’s supposed to make their job easier.
If possible, request a demo of the plugin so you can see how easy (or not) it is to use.
Some A/B and split testing plugins put your privacy at risk.
Look for a WordPress plugin that is fully hosted within your WordPress platform. Make sure it doesn’t collect user-identifying data, as well, and is fully GDPR-compliant.
With this type of solution, you maintain control and full ownership of your valuable data.
You shouldn’t have to spend a fortune on plugins to get a high-performing split and A/B testing tool.
Consider the pricing structure of each plugin and whether or not it works with your budget, and compare different pricing tiers to find the option that provides the most value. Don’t forget to find out if the price is a one-time fee or a monthly or yearly payment, too.
You should be especially wary of plugins that don’t come with a documentation. Check for documentation and support so you can help yourself if you ever need.
What other tools and platforms does the plugin integrate with? Can it plug into other sites you regularly use, such as WooCommerce or Google Analytics? Make sure it integrates with these other platforms to provide a smoother experience.
Automatic winner integration
Make sure the tool you use has the smarts to identify the winning variation, and implement it automatically, so that you get the benefits of split testing as fast as possible.
Artificial Intelligence Usage
Some of the more sophisticated WordPress split testing and A/B testing plugins use artificial intelligence to provide more valuable insights ad recommendations for testers. For example, these tools could help you come up with ideas to improve your page and enhance your content to produce better results.
Avoid plugins that limit the number of tests you can run or variations you can experiment with.
Unlimited testing gives you the freedom to try different things and gather useful information for your website and conversion rate optimization plan.
Improve Conversion Rate Optimization Efforts with AB Split Test
Both split testing and A/B testing can provide valuable insights that help you improve your website’s conversion rate optimization strategy.
If you want to fine-tune your plan and make it as effective as possible, be sure to use a WordPress plugin like ABSplit Test. This tool can help you streamline the testing process and collect the data you need to make informed decisions.
Try AB Split Test for free today.