Around 88% of online shoppers won’t return to a website after a bad user-experience (UX). So how do you satisfy them enough to stick around, convert and come back?

For Marketing Managers, Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) audits are the perfect exercise to identify website problems and areas of opportunity. Once you know this information, you can make that all important plan to fix them.

But knowing where to start is hard, especially if you have quite a complex website with lots of pages, components and traffic. 

In this guide, we share six tips for conducting a website CRO audit to enhance UX and turn more visitors into customers.

Getting started with your CRO audit

Before starting your CRO audit, find out your company’s objectives and define what a website conversion is. If you’re an e-commerce company, a conversion is likely to be a purchase. If you’re a service provider, it’s probably a form completion, download or subscribe. But also consider smaller micro actions that are good indicators of a potential conversion e.g. if we want to track a form completion are we tracking if they even saw the form?

Next, keeping in mind the above, set up your tracking to measure and learn from your optimisation efforts. The tracking tools will depend on your platforms and conversion type, but GA4 is perfect for analysing key metrics like conversion rates, traffic and clicks.

So now you’ve got your goals and tracking in place, here’s six tips to conduct a comprehensive CRO audit. 

Identify areas of friction 

We all know how annoying it feels to visit a website that’s slow, hard to navigate or broken. That’s why identifying and removing friction is so important to make your users’ journey smooth and prevent frustration.

Use ‘The BS test’

One useful tool to identify areas of friction is ‘The BS Test’, which will help you discover if something is broken or slow.

What is a broken website element?

Broken website elements are anything from a button or link not working, a form that can’t be completed or an image not loading. Broken elements are a nightmare from a UX perspective, so it’s crucial to make sure everything is working as it should be.

How to identify broken website elements

To find broken elements, act like a visitor using your website and have others do the same. This might feel like a manual process, but user testing is the best way to identify issues that you might otherwise miss.

In addition, use GA4 to identify which devices and resolutions convert well and poorly. Users may be converting on desktop but not mobile, revealing problems with mobile usability or navigation. This gives you a confident starting point for your CRO audit based on real-time data.

Remember that just because something works on desktop doesn’t automatically mean it does on mobile, so always test both.

How to check if your website is slow

Use Google PageSpeed Insights to see your website’s LightHouse Score and check if it is too slow. LightHouse Scores are a metric that measure how well your website is doing in terms of performance, accessibility, best practices, SEO, and Progressive Web Apps.

If your website’s LightHouse score isn’t in the green (90-100), there’s room for improvement and you need to speed it up. Google PageSpeed Insights will show you problem areas and suggest ways to fix them for better performance. Common suggestions include reducing image sizes, JavaScript execution time or the impact of third-party code.

Identify areas of distraction

There are many ways to identify areas of distraction on your website. An effective one is through the concept of visual hierarchy.

Visual hierarchy is the way page elements are organised in order of importance.  For example, your call to action (CTA) matters more than other elements, so it should be high up on your page’s visual hierarchy. This means it should be clear and easily accessible in order for users to click it.

Areas that steer users away from clicking this CTA are elements of distraction. Too much text, contrasting colours, or conflicting messaging for example can distract users and cause the CTA to be lost.

The ‘Squint Test’ is a great way to identify areas of distraction. Open your webpage and squint your eyes so everything looks blurry. The areas you see first are high contrast sections, and therefore at the top of your page’s visual hierarchy. Your CTA and other important elements should stand out first. If they don’t, focus on improving your page’s visual hierarchy because users are getting distracted. 

Push your value proposition

If you haven’t created a value proposition yet, talk to stakeholders and conduct customer research to determine what it should be. Survey your team and a sample of your customers to understand their wants, needs and motivations. After you gather this information and define your value proposition, clearly display it on your website. This ensures users know what makes you different and why they should choose you over competitors. 

Decide if your content is relevant

Research your competitors because the experience users have on their websites influences their expectations for yours. Look at what features they offer, their page layouts and value proposition. If your website isn’t as good as theirs, users will be let down and choose competitors instead. So make sure yours looks the part, is enjoyable to use and provides real value to your customers. 

Make everything as clear as possible

Make it easy for users to find what they want on your website and get a real feel for your brand identity. So make sure your page design is engaging and clean, and your copy is clear and concise. 

Of course, some websites have a lot of products and services that are complicated. If you try to simplify them too much, it can make things more complex. In this case, consider techniques such as movement and animation to guide the user in a visually engaging way. 


Getting people to your website is one thing, but turning users into sales or leads is completely different. To convert website visitors, conduct a CRO audit to identity issues, fix them and ensure your UX is seamless.  Optimise every element of your site including usability, navigation, design, trust signals, and site speed. 

Everything we’ve shared in this article are just examples, and differ depending on your website’s purpose, sector and audience. Just remember your goals and that your website should guide the user to conversion. So the easier you make their journey, the more likely they’ll convert.

Want us to run a complimentary CRO audit on your website? Simply get in touch and we’ll book you in.

If you’re using any of Google’s advertising services – Google Ads, Shopping, Tag Manager, GA4 – within the EEA, you should have upgraded to Google Consent Mode v2 by Wednesday 6th March 2024. 

Why? In this short blog, we’ll explain everything you need to know, including what Google Consent Mode is and why updating to the new version is crucial for continuing to serve targeted adverts to your audience.

What are Google Consent Mode and Google Consent Mode V2?

Google Consent Mode is a tool that enables websites to collect non-identifying data when the user doesn’t give cookie consent. However, because of ongoing developments in EU/EEA privacy regulations, and the phase out of third-party cookies, Google upgraded the tool to offer enhanced functionality. 

That’s when Google Consent Mode V2 was born. With this version, you can adjust Google tags based on the users’ consent preferences for ads and cookies. Essentially this means that you’ll be able to track users, but only when they give explicit consent. 

Why updating to Google Consent Mode V2 is important

Upgrading to Google Consent Mode V2 is crucial for continuing to target users within the EEA with relevant ads. Without it, you won’t be able to capture new user data in advertising platforms, like Google Ads and GA4. You also won’t be able to accurately measure and report on ads, create audience lists or execute effective remarketing ad campaigns. Your bidding algorithms will be running on inaccurate data, so you won’t be spending your ad budgets effectively.

What are the next steps?

Now the March 6th deadline has passed, your website’s cookie consent banner must comply with Consent Mode Partners (CMP) V2. Google has several CMP partners but personally, we recommend Cookiebot

So if you haven’t already, don’t delay implementing Google Consent Mode V2. If you need support upgrading, choosing a CMP partner or have any questions, please get in touch.

On the 4th January 2024, Google officially started phasing out the use of third-party cookies for 1% of Chrome and Android users. This move mirrors actions already taken by Safari and Firefox, both of which blocked them a few years back to enhance privacy measures.

So what does Google removing third-party cookies mean for marketers? In this blog we’ll explain what third-cookies are, the impact the phase-out will have on marketing and alternative tactics to overcome the change.

What are third-party cookies?

Third-party cookies are placed on your device by websites that are different from the one you’re visiting. These cookies can be used to track user activity across multiple sites and social media platforms, collecting data such as demographics, interests and browsing patterns. Marketers then use this data to create targeted and remarketed ad campaigns, effectively reaching relevant audiences online.

For example, say you visit a clothing website and then start seeing ads for similar clothes on various other sites, that’s probably because third-party cookies have been tracking you all along. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of third-party cookies?

Advantages of third-party cookies
Disadvantages of third-party cookies:

Why are browsers removing third-party cookies?

Browsers are removing third-party cookies largely due to escalating privacy concerns about how companies collect and manage personal data. Data privacy laws and regulations are evolving, and there’s a pressing need to enhance transparency and provide assurances that data is being handled securely and ethically. 

But Google’s phase-out of third-party cookies isn’t anything new because major browsers have been getting rid of them for years. Safari blocked them back in 2020, followed by Mozilla Firefox in 2023. Google however, was slow to follow suit and continued allowing them right up until January 2024. 

What does Google phasing out third-party cookies mean for marketers?

Marketers have heavily relied on third-party cookies to serve personalised and retargeted ads through platforms like Google Ads and Shopping. But by removing them, effective targeting is much harder as marketers lose access to crucial data regarding the users’ browsing habits, which is what made this tactic so effective. 

What should you do now Google is phasing out third-party cookies 

First of all, breathe. Remember that Google isn’t banning all cookies and there are still plenty of other ways to collect valuable marketing data and reach your audience.  For example, you could implement a first-party data strategy – that’s data about user activity on your own website as opposed to elsewhere  – or trial more traditional research methods like customer surveys. This is an effective, yet often overlooked, way to gain insights into your audience’s wants and needs, which you can then use to shape your marketing strategy. 

Additionally, make sure that the way your business uses cookies definitely complies with the latest data privacy regulations. For example, if you use any Google advertising products such as Google Ads, Shopping or GA4, you have until the 6th March 2024 to upgrade to Google Consent Mode V2, if you want to continue serving targeted ads within the EEEA.

What is Google Privacy Sandbox?

Another potential alternative to third-party cookies is Google’s Privacy Sandbox, an initiative designed to curb unauthorised data tracking whilst enabling targeted advertising in Chrome. 

Google is still developing Privacy Sandbox, but it says the three goals of the initiative are to:

Keep an eye on the Privacy Sandbox website for monthly updates as the initiative develops.


Google’s phase-out of third-party cookies has been a long time coming, and it’s not too late to make alternative plans. The main thing is that you’re proactive in adapting to the change, and implement a contingency plan to reduce the impact. Finally, keep up to date with the latest news and developments around third-party cookies and data privacy regulations, they’re constantly evolving and you’ll find navigating the landscape way easier by staying in the loop.

On Thursday 25th January, The Marketing Social hosted its first event of the year at Love Lane Brewery in Liverpool with over 40 attendees. Held every three months, the popular event brings together Liverpool marketers, entrepreneurs and local businesses so they can learn, share knowledge and network.

We headed down to this month’s event as our Head of Marketing and Performance Matt Tilling was invited to speak about optimising website UX and how to do it effectively. 

Here’s a quick recap of Matt’s talk, including his top UX tips.

‘How to Become a Mini Optimiser’ – Matt Tilling at Reckless

Matt’s biggest UX tip from the night was to audit your website using The Lift Framework. This makes it a lot easier for you to identify problems, conversion barriers and areas of opportunity.

To conduct your UX audit using The Lift Framework, consider these six factors:


The main indicators of friction are increased length of task, high difficulty and anything that makes the user question the experience.

Tip: To identify friction on your website, use ‘The BS Test’ to find areas that are completely broken or slow.  To check if something is broken, use GA4 to see the devices and resolutions that convert poorly, and then make adjustments to improve the user journey. To check if your website loads too slowly, use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to see your LightHouse Score. If you’re not in the green (90-100), your site needs speeding up.


Are there elements on your page that divert users away from the goal?

Tip: Use the ‘Squint Test’ to check if visitors are being distracted. This test is exactly what it says on the tin; open your web page and squint your eyes to see areas of high and low contrast. The theory is that areas with high contrast are where your audience looks first, so if this area isn’t clear, focus on improving your visual hierarchy.

Value proposition

Clearly communicate what makes you different and why your visitors should choose you over your competitors.

Tip: The only way to provide real value is to understand your users wants, needs and motivations inside and out. So, conduct customer research to discover valuable audience insights. Research may seem daunting at first so to start, speak to a sample of five customers. This makes it manageable and you can gain a lot of valuable information from just a few conversations. Then, clearly communicate your value proposition on your website in a way that resonates with your audience.


Does the experience match the users’ expectation of what they thought they were going to see?

Tip: The experience users have on other websites shapes what they expect to see on yours, so research your competitor landscape. If your website doesn’t match or exceed the experience they’ve had previously, it results in cognitive dissonance; that’s the difference between held beliefs and lived experience. If this happens, users have to put in more effort to get what they want. More effort = less likely to complete the task they set out to do.


Does your web page clearly articulate your value proposition and call-to-action?

Tip: Take a reductionist approach to the content on your site. Start with what you need and keep things simple. Use concise copy, clear formatting and only the most important components.

Of course, some products and services are complex by nature, and if you try to simplify these too much it can lead to further obscurity. In these situations, think about using a technique such as movement and animation to guide the user through the process.

Motivation and Urgency

How can we motivate the user to act, now?

There are lots of methods you can use to motivate users, but one of the most notable is scarcity. Scarcity is used to illicit the fear of missing out, typically through social proofing and limited resources. This is a common marketing tactic you’ll see all the time. Here’s a screenshot from for example, which regularly uses scarcity to drive sales:

But how effective is this method going forward? Too many brands use ‘fake scarcity’ and consumers are more educated on its use as a marketing tactic, so use it in a way that feels authentic. How brands leverage this technique in the near future is definitely one to watch.

Matt ended his talk at The Marketing Social in Liverpool with this reminder: “While something may work for one website, doesn’t mean it will for yours. It may be tempting to copy and ‘find inspiration’ from competitors, but do it with caution because ultimately, they might not know what they’re doing either.” 


As a digital agency in Liverpool, we’re giving away some free UX audits to brands that want to improve their website. If you’d like us to take a look at your site, simply e-mail us [email protected].