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Conversion Rate Optimisation top tips

We've compiled a list of our top Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) tips from some of the projects and lessons we've learned over the years.

Written by

Robert Hufton

Director & UX Consultant

'Why are we not converting users and why is our bounce rate so high?'

It's a question we get asked all the time. As a conversion rate optimisation agency based here in Manchester, we offer you some helpful tips to help you convert more users, lower your bounce rate and drive more business from your online presence.

So let's jump in.

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is crucial for improving the performance of your website or landing pages and increasing the percentage of visitors who take a desired action. Here are some top tips for effective CRO:

CRO tip #1 - Know your audience

Understanding who the users landing on your site are should always be your guide to catching their attention. Once you know who they are, usually you should know what they want to do. Creating user personas helps you understand your customers. 

User personas are designed to help you understand more about the type of people your customers are. What are their:

  • Personal objectives
  • Practical Actions
  • Buying reasons
  • Barriers to buy
  • Where they are likely to be (Consumer spaces)
  • Additional useful info like ‘what keywords they might type’

Understand who you are targeting by making user personas and researching what they want

Here is an example of how understanding your user can make for a successful marketing strategy:

Steve is 45, He has a fleet of construction machinery vehicles for his road maintenance company. Some are getting old and need servicing, but he can’t stop working. He might see on twitter ‘Need a winter excavator service? We can replace your old machine while it gets serviced’. This post should link to a well optimised for conversion landing page featuring a promotion designed around this offer. 

CRO tip #2 - Be clear about your proposition


The first people will see is the headline and there’s nothing worse than a headline that doesn’t make any sense. People won’t read your content if your headline doesn’t grab their attention.

So, we’ve found some rules that will help you in your pursuit of a good headline:

  • Always keep it simple - less is more
  • Your headline should reflect your content
  • Why not try open and close-ended questions to see which one attracts users more
  • Don’t bother with all the jargon, speak like your audience to spark conversation
  • Be relevant and on topic

When it comes to styling the headline, choose an eligible, strong typeface; size of headlines so they stand out and if you want, use colour to grab attention. Also, note that centred headlines are visually strong but left centred are more formal.

Remember, you only have one chance to make a good first impression.

Content is king

Your website copy should be one of the first things you should consider when approaching a new website or blog post. 

Write a catchy title that resonates with the user and people take an interest, once you have their interest, then lead them on a journey. Make sure you don’t write lengthy paragraph after a lengthy paragraph, chances are no-one will read them. Instead, break up the content, use bold text.

Keep it simple

It's tempting to write pages and pages about your services and history. But unless you are writing a lengthy informative piece, overloading users with long paragraphs on many pages makes their journey harder.

One of my favourite websites is the Dieter Rams Vitsoe website.

It’s basic, simple, but boy is it nice looking and easy to read?!  A slick grid. Some photos of incredible products (yes, of course, that helps) but also compelling and easy to read and digest copy. 

By the way, if you've never head of Dieter Rams, he pretty much wrote the book on modern design. His 10 Principles of good design are an essential list for any budding and experienced designer.

“Isn’t it lovely…?’ To the sound of Stevie Wonder isn’t she lovely.

CRO tip #3 - Fast loading pages

Optimising a website or app so that it loads content quickly is what users expect. Waiting 3...4...5 seconds for a page or service does one thing. Makes people leave.

Moreover - slow loading websites will be penalised by Google more and more in the coming months and years. Not only are they bad for users (waiting and waiting for content), they are bad for the environment. Imagine billions of websites twice as slow as they need to be, chugging all those servers and sapping up power. 

Test your own website performance using Chrome Developer Tools Lighthouse or a free to use a website like Pingdom or GTO Metrix

If you need to learn more about Search Engine Optimisation and how performance can help keep people on your website, talk to our SEO team today.

CRO tip #4 - Use a simple navigation

It can be tempting to cram every service, company history, news and blogs into your navigation, but this approach can overload users with choice.

Try not to give your users too many options as it can become overwhelming and, as a result, users will click away completely.

Make their life easier and limit it to the essentials.

Decision making itself is already tiring.

CRO tip #5 - Show off your reward badges

As you may have guessed it’s a loose pun about 5 gold rings. Website reviews can be amazing. They can also be business destroyers. If people want to complain they will do it online now. So your star ratings should be a great method of communicating to new users that other people trust you. 

Trustpilot is widely used but can become pricey, but there are many other ways to gain reviews, ratings and recognition.

Best practise I would advise is to use reviews across social media, Google and if you can afford it TrustPilot or Feefo.

CRO tip #6 Stop using cheesy stock photography

Stock photos - We've all used them. I still do when the time is right.

As much they are affordable, there is a problem.

Stock photos can make your content look like every other website. This creates a detachment from your potentially happy new users and your brand. Your users arrived expecting to find something interesting a new to them, but instead get the same thing they've seen before.

Instead - always try and use something unique that represents your company. People want to see the REAL face of your staff and maybe your offices. So show them. 

CRO tip #7 - Call to Action buttons

Call-to-action (CTA) buttons can lead your users to your goal conversion. But to ensure users are interacting with your CTAs, here are some variables to think about:

  • The bigger the button, the easier it will be seen (of course, we don’t want a massive button but a reasonable, effective size will do)
  • Use contrasting colours
  • Add rounded edges, animated text, drop shadow or an icon - either of these will make your CTAs more interactive, just don’t overuse all of them all on one button
  • Choose the text carefully. Use about 3 words and give your users the heads up at what they could expect if they click the button
  • CTAs normally placed above the fold or underneath the content
  • Use A/B testing to see which versions of CTAs work well for your users
  • Keep benefits and features close together for the best chance to convert

For an in depth study of call to action methods it's well worth a read of Paul Boag's article about call to action here.

CRO tip #8 - Use videos for conversions

This year, the internet has seen over 80% video marketing and the difference it makes to user interaction and engagement on websites. You have to keep up with the online trends or your business will just fizzle out into thin air. 

Of course, most people will choose to watch a video over reading because it’s easier, right? A website with various videos will have more attention and more conversions but it is a lot more than just putting out random videos on your website.

Make sure that your videos are related to your business and most importantly, appeals to your users.

Don’t be so boring and use humour in your videos!

P.S. make sure you tag relevant keywords and add a description to your videos for search engine optimisation. Google won’t rank you if you don’t fill out the boxes.

CRO tip #9 - Do your keyword research

Make sure your website is getting traffic from keywords that closely represent your best business offerings. SEO doesn't need to be daunting. It just needs careful planning and focus on what your company does best.

If you have no idea what keywords your website appears for, try this tool:

Example: You are a 'red shoe maker', your website needs to show in Google for 'red shoe maker', not 'boots and shoes'. This sounds really obvious, but we see if time and time, websites have traffic from digital marketing, but not from keywords that will drive new business. We also see many SEO and PPC budgets being burned by poor PPC management. It's staggering how much revenue Google generates by PPC management done badly.

Keywords and bounce rates

You can also investigate keyword performance in Analytics. Make sure the keywords you are advertising on have low bounce rates. Brand keywords should have the lowest bounce rate.

If you need help with your campaign, or would like a second opinion on your digital marketing budget use contact Higher Ground today.

Or read more about how to optimise your website for Google.

CRO tip #10 - Plan your customer's journey

Customer journey mapping is an essential element of any conversion rate optimisation plan.

By mapping the customer journey you are making sure they are kept engaged with the service or product you want to them to buy. But the journey doesn't stop at first interaction. Customer journey mapping also covers all ways you might communicate with your customers. From how you follow up to their enquiry or purchase. Any CRM you may use to keep in contact. Your sales team's approach to customer service, or any post sale or enquiry communication you have with your customers.

CR0 tip #11 - Use tools to discover what's happening

For any online strategy to succeed you need to understand what your users want, then analyse data (we call it metrics) to discover what’s actually going on.

By analysing and processing data from your website analytics you can report on effectiveness and use science to tell you what's really happening with people visiting your website or interacting with your campaign.

There are tonnes of analysis tools available. Our favourites are:

Google Analytics


Crazy Egg



Optimal workshop



CRO tip #12 - Analyse, report and optimise

When all your 11 steps are set up and in place, how do you know it's working? How do you define success? You need to double check your analytics and marketing to see what worked and what didn't. Each marketing channel will tell you different story, so investigating what worked and didn't helps you refine your strategy, learn and get better every-time you analyse.

So there you have it. Our 12 tips for increasing your Conversion Rate Optimisation to make your digital marketing more effective.

About Higher Ground

We are Manchester based Conversion Rate Optimisation agency specialising in ROI based digital marketing. To find out more, contact our CRO team today.

Top tips for successful Conversion Rate Optimisation

Create landing pages

The number one way to give you full control of conversion rates. Landing pages are custom-created pages designed to serve the user with content relevant to their search enquiry or marketing campaign source.

Pay Per Click ad text, SEO title tags and Social media posts

This should align with the page content the advert is linking to

Click Through Rate (CTR)

A high CTR doesn’t spell success. Be careful of marketeers trying techniques to boost their Click Through Rate. If your ad text doesn't align with your business offering, you will burn budget fast.


Be careful of marketers spending broad keywords. If the keywords don't align with your business offering, you will burn budget fast. It’s important to always use negative keywords to remove terms that aren't relevant to your business.

Landing page headlines

Always make sure the type of visitor finds the information they are looking for. Designing landing pages helps you target specific keyword audiences with a specific page.

Clear call to action

Sounds obvious one when you write it. But when a branded campaign has numerous action points and a range of actionable UI styles, this is not always straight-forward. Make sure you are able to separate the main action colour and button style to other actions (such as content links). Make sure the content relates to the call to action and the next steps follow the call to action.

Write amazing content

Lengthy paragraphs about your company history or anecdotal stories about how you once fitted the best solar panels to a factory roof, which made everyone free cups of tea doesn't help the user. It’s estimated you have under 15 seconds to engage with your target audience. You need to tell them exactly what you can do for them in short useful paragraphs. Anchor linking content in your page can also help users find what they are looking for - quickly.

Remember that every website is unique, so it's essential to tailor these tips to fit your specific audience and business goals. Regular testing and adaptation are key to successful Conversion Rate Optimisation.

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