Common CRO mistakes and how to avoid them

Alex Minchin
Alex Minchin

You’ve just spent ages working on a website and attempting to drive traffic to it. After running various tests, you figure out that your conversion rate is far from ideal. Conversion Rate Optimisation, or CRO for short, is essential for all digital marketing strategies. Whether you own a business and want to grow it, or if you’re a marketing professional keen to progress your digital strategy.

We see this all the time with companies everywhere, your site is getting a lot of traffic and clicks but the conversion rate is low.  Your site is getting traffic but your site’s visitors aren’t converting into sales or inquiries, what are you doing wrong and what can you improve? 

In the Zest Digital beginner’s guide to CRO, we’ll take a look at why CRO is so important.

Mainly, we’re concerned with the fundamental mistakes you’re currently making and what the best practices are that you can implement. By helping you avoid these mistakes, we’ll soon be able to improve your CRO and you can enjoy the benefits to your business.

Why is CRO important?

Conversion rate optimisation is the art of optimising your user journey to convert your website traffic into taking action. In practice, this could mean how many users are visiting your website and then make an enquiry or buy something.

Either way, improving your conversion rate is important and will be highly beneficial to your business’ growth.

What Are The Benefits Of CRO?

If you double or triple your conversion rate, then you’re basically doubling and tripling your enquries or sales. In a world where everyone is fiercely competing for a share of the web traffic, it’s crucial that you squeeze as much from your traffic as possible.

There’s a direct correlation between CRO and the number of customers a business has as well. An outstanding conversion rate usually means a business is bringing in more customers on a daily basis.

What’s more, CRO helps you gain more of an understanding of your customer base. You learn what makes them tick, and what’s most likely to trigger their interest to the point that they complete an action or make a purchase.

Finally, CRO helps organisations save money and time. It prevents you from banging away at the same old things that just don’t work. Instead, you get a much better return from your investments by focusing on ideas and digital strategies that result in higher conversion rates, and more money.

As you can see there any many benefits to CRO, but what about some CRO tips to help improve your rate? What are some of the common mistakes? The rest of this article will look at common CRO mistakes as well as some easy tips to improve CRO.

Easy Conversion Rate Optimisation Tips

Web design

One of the most common issues we see with business experiencing poor optimisation rates is awful web design. It doesn’t matter how fantastic your product is, or how useful your service might be – if your web design is bad, then your conversion rate will suffer.

Research suggests that around 75% of consumers will judge a business based on the design of their website. If yours isn’t up to scratch, then you’re already potentially losing out on three-quarters of your web traffic. They may load up your site but then leave as soon as they see the state of it.

The obvious question is; what does terrible web design look like?

As it happens, this goes above and beyond the look of your website. Yes, having a good-looking, modern, site is crucial, but you also have to consider how it functions and the journey it creates for users.

At the end of the day, your conversion rate can increase with good web design. We recently worked with a client, and by improving their user experience we more than doubled their conversion rate, growing enquiries by 288%.

A big part of our strategy focused on optimizing their product pages. This is an essential element of web design as you need to make it easy for people to see the products and navigate through them all, while also ensuring they know how to take action.


In essence, a large part of a clean, simple web design comes down to one thing; the layout. You need to look at your site and see if you’ve laid it out for a frictionless journey for site users.

Top Tips For Clean Web Design To Increase CRO

  • Do you have clear menus to help them navigate to different pages?
  • Is there a central focal point to attract attention as soon as the page loads?
  • Can users figure out how to get in touch with you by looking at the page?
  • Is the content easy to digest?
  • Do you have responsive web design, so your site is optimised for mobile devices?

When you improve the layout of your website, then the design is pretty much given an overhaul. This has a direct impact on your CRO as you will see more and more users staying on your site for longer.

They trust your business as they’ve made preconceived judgments based on your excellent web design. As a result, there’s more chance of converting leads and making sales.

If you feel like you need help improving the layout of your website to optimise your conversions, then take a look at our web design service and get in touch with your brief.

Site Speed And Its Effect On CRO

47% of users believe a website should load within two seconds or less. This seems like a very short time, but with modern technology, most sites should load within an instant. It’s no secret that slow loading times are associated with high bounce rates and a drop in conversions.

Modern consumers don’t want to wait around, particularly when they know there are other sites out there that won’t make them wait. The sad reality is that your conversion rate is poor because of such a tiny mistake.

All you need to do is lower the loading speeds by a fraction of a second, and more users will continue onto your website. It sounds easier said than done, but there are genuinely some fundamental things you can do to reduce loading times and speed up your site.

We strongly suggest you try condensing your site and not having too much content on each page. Particularly if you like using audio/visual content, as these files take far longer to load. On the topic of visual content, you can dramatically reduce loading speeds by optimising all images and videos.

Switching Server

Switching to a better server is also another great thing to try as this leads to quicker loading speeds too. The worst thing you can do is get some cheap and nasty $2 server, and expect to deliver a lightning-fast experience for your customers.

In many instances, it won’t matter how fantastic your web design is if your site takes too long to load up. Your bounce rate will continue to rise, meaning you miss out on so many potential sales and enquiries. Thus, a crucial part of CRO is getting your site under that two-second threshold.

It can be very difficult to achieve this, but the target is clear. To see how fast your site is, we recommend using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This gives you all the data you need.

Failing to track users

A large part of improving your conversion rate revolves around understanding user patterns and testing out new ideas. We’ll talk about testing later on, but this particular mistake is centred on tracking.

CRO best practices mean that every website that you are working on, should have tracking set up via Google Analytics, which means you’re viewing how users react on your site.

You can even set up heat maps that show where their cursors go and what they’re doing. The benefit of this is that you can track a user all the way from entering your site, through to completing an action.

From here, you have the ability to analyse their behavioural patterns and see their journey in full. After tracking multiple users, you may discover that they have certain things in common.

For example, if your site visitors arrive via a pay-per-click ad on Google. Or, they all ended up on the same landing page, while other landing pages on your website didn’t yield the same results. Consequently, tracking allows you to figure out where you’re wasting money, and where the most valuable investments lie.

If all your conversions are coming from your pay-per-click ads, then it’s time to ramp up investments and get more out of them. Likewise, you can look at the landing page that’s bringing the best conversion rate, and try to style other pages like it to elicit the same results.

By failing to track users, you miss out on all of this information. Essentially, you’re playing a guessing game with everyone that visits your site. You don’t have much of an idea how people found your site, how they behaved when they were on it, and the patterns that develop between different users.

Not only that, but failing to track will also mean you don’t see what point users may drop off and leave your site. This is an underrated benefit of tracking as it can zero in on what’s preventing your conversions.

Your A/B tests don’t yield accurate results

A/B testing is the backbone of every conversion rate optimisation strategy. It’s something we spend a lot of time doing with all our clients, and we strongly recommend you learn how to do it as effectively as possible.

If you don’t already know what this is – and you’re not doing it – then the simple definition of A/B testing when you compare two versions of the same web page and look at the results. It starts by running the original page and looking at the conversion rate. Then, you alter an element of the page and publish that, running two pages at the same time and see which page yields a better rate.

One of the most common CRO mistakes is that your tests aren’t producing accurate results. How does this happen? It usually comes down to three things:

  • The tests aren’t being run for long enough
  • You’re not taking the date into consideration
  • Your sample size is far too small

A common question asked is how long should you let your conversion optimization experiments run? The answer to this is four weeks. If a test is only run once, then it could easily throw up different results to one that’s run numerous times for an extended period. To see true validity, you have to run multiple test cycles and analyse the data you receive, you can generally see results after a period of four weeks.

Similarly, the date is more important than you think. For example, websites may see a better conversion rate during a holiday period like Christmas. It stands to reason more users are desperate to buy things during this time so your conversion rate may seem to be better than it is.

A/B Testing Sample Size

Lastly, the sample size is so important. You might never see accurate results if your testing sample is too small. Likewise, we know that having too big of a sample size means you spend far too much time and resources analysing the data. There’s an excellent sample size tool that you can view here, and it helps you figure out the ideal sample you need for accurate results.

Of course, A/B testing can be complicated and take up a lot of your valuable time. You need to keep altering elements of the web page, chart the results, pour through statistics, and figure out the results.

A growth agency will be able to help with A/B testing, so you get the results you need, and improve your CRO.

Landing pages aren’t being optimised correctly

Landing pages are specifically set up to convert traffic. Immediately, you can see how they play an integral role in good CRO.

A common mistake in CRO is not placing enough significance on landing pages. You may have too few landing pages, or you don’t have any set up at all.

The benefit of a landing page is that you can tailor it to tempt users into completing a specific CTA.

Going back to something we touched upon earlier, a large part of CRO is all about a smooth user journey. A landing page gives you the opportunity to almost map out a journey for a user, and guide them to the conclusion you require.

To get the most out of your landing pages, make sure you have plenty of different ones on your site. They should relate to different products, enquiries, and so on. What’s more, it’s proven that videos on landing pages can boost conversions. So, make sure your pages aren’t packed full of writing, and that you provide useful and engaging content that persuades them effectively.

Conclusion To CRO Best Practices

Adding conversion rate optimisation into your marketing mix should be near the top of your agenda. The more you improve your conversions, the more enquiries and sales you make. It’s a cost-effective marketing method that can help shape your digital strategy.

Understandably, you may not have the time or skill set to implement the best practices mentioned in this article. Which is why we’re more than happy to assist you with any of your conversion needs. We are experts at driving your target audience to your website, and helping you to convert more of them into customers – and we have all the expertise required to allow you to do that under one roof.

Head over to our Growth Calculator now, to calculate your revenue growth potential and to discover the two key objectives that you need to achieve to send your revenue skywards. Or, if you’re ahead of the game, book a free strategy call to discuss your project.

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