How to perform a CRO audit

How to perform a website CRO audit

By Matt Tilling, Head of Growth and Optimisation at Reckless.

6 minute read

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. 

Summary

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.

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