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The Definitive
Conversion Rate Optimization Guide
Conversion Rate Optimization Guide
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Conversion Rate Optimization Guide
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Chapter 6

Creating a Conversion-Optimized Website in 14 Steps

You want your website to be a converting machine: transforming traffic to leads and leads to customers and customers to brand fans.

In this final chapter, we’ve pulled it all together for you. This is your step-by-step action plan to build the marketing optimized website your business deserves.


We recommend picking out one of your landing pages or website pages and going through the process with us. By the end of it, you’ll be on your way to the ultimate website conversion optimization!

What does it mean to optimize your website?

“Optimization” essentially means making something the best it can be. When you’re looking to create a marketing optimized website, you’re making your website the most “profitable” it can be. This might mean it’s collecting a lot of email leads, making sales, or signing people up for a webinar.

Website conversion optimization is about creating a website that’s pulling people through your sales journey in a systemized way. Every aspect of every page is like a magnet, attracting and pulling visitors through to the next action (and the next one, and the next one after that).

1. Know your website conversion optimization goals

What action do you want your visitor to take? How do you define a conversion action point?

Some example conversion actions include:

  • Subscribe to a newsletter
  • Make a purchase
  • Fill out a form or survey
  • Download free (or paid) content
  • Create an appointment
  • Sign up for an event

In most cases, a conversion point moves a person to the next step of your campaign. You might transform a new visitor into a warm lead by encouraging them to subscribe to your blog, or you might be turning a lead into a customer by encouraging them to make a purchase.

Be specific about what kind of conversion you want. This action should be a driver for your business and pull people through your sales journal.

Once you know the action you want the customers to take, create a phrase or sentence that will become your CTA. (You might change the wording of this later when you do A/B testing. This is just to get you started.)

2. Pick one CTA per page

You don’t want to dilute your page with too many offerings that could confuse your visitors. Each page should have one goal, one action, and one CTA. This clarity can improve your conversion rate by streamlining and simplifying the opt-in or checkout process.

If you have a few business goals or offerings, create different landing pages or website pages for them. It keeps it easy for you to track and your customers to follow along with.

You can have multiple conversions throughout your site, but you want to maintain consistency of action per page. The more pages you have, the more opportunities for conversion. Plus, you can compare these pages to one another in testing to determine and emphasize those that see the most success.

When to use a landing page versus a website page

Landing pages are designed for people to take a specific action. They’re designed with a specific CTA or marketing goal in mind.

Webpages, on the other hand, are more static pages that are used to provide information to the visitor. A webpage could have a conversion point, like a blog might encourage subscribers, but the conversion itself isn’t the primary goal of the webpage.

For example, you’re offering a downloadable as part of your lead generation strategy. Use a landing page where they input their info to receive the downloadable.

Or you’re selling an online course. Send them to a landing page where they can learn more about the course and make their decision.

You should almost always be sending traffic to a landing page, not a homepage. This is how you get clients, push conversions, and track your traffic and conversion metrics. Click to see why landing pages are better for paid traffic and conversion.

3. Always know your conversion rate

You don’t need to check your conversion rate every day, but it’s one metric you should keep a consistent eye on. If you are spending a lot of money on bringing in traffic, you want to leverage that acquisition cost to get a high ROI. The conversion rate is like the backbone of your marketing campaign: it tells you how successfully you’re able to move people into a deeper engagement with your brand.

If you don’t like where your conversion rate is today, that’s okay. There’s almost always room for improvement.

How do you calculate conversion rate?

Divide the number of actions taken by the total number of unique views.

Learn how to calculate conversion rate and what a “good” website conversion rate is by clicking in the box below:

4. Create a conversion rate goal

You know what your page’s current conversion rate is. What would happen if you increased that number by 1%... 2%... 5%? How would it affect your business?

Define a reasonable conversion rate goal.

Don’t just set a goal, though. Like any other business goal, you want to go through the process of defining the objective:

  • How will this goal feel after we’ve achieved it? Why does it matter? What will achieving this goal do for my business?
  • What is the timeline? By when do you hope to have this goal achieved?
  • Is this goal reasonable? Unreasonable goals kill business growth.
  • How can you meet this objective? What steps do you need to take to get there? (P.S. The answer to this question is A/B testing different features on your page.)

5. Take traffic numbers into account

You could have an awesome conversion rate, but that doesn’t mean anything if your traffic isn’t strong also. A 100% conversion rate of 2 site visitors isn’t as good as a 5% conversion rate of 10,000 visitors. So you’ll want to look at these two in relationship to one another.

You want a strong volume of qualified traffic coming in, and then you want to convert as much of that traffic as possible.

Ask:

  1. How can I direct more traffic to these landing pages? (PPC ads, Adwords, social media campaigns, etc.)
  2. What do I need to do to qualify these leads? How do I make sure I attract the right traffic?
  3. How can I capture more of the traffic that I already get? (This is ‘website conversion optimization’.)

What is conversion rate in SEO?

People ask us this question a lot, so we want to give a little clarification here.

Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t the same thing as conversion rate optimization (CRO).

SEO is about appealing to search engines to get your page higher in search results. For example, you might use specific keywords or include certain featured snippets to tell Google’s algorithm that your page is relevant to a specific search. SEO is also about connecting with your audience, but it’s more about attracting their initial attention.

CRO is about engaging your audience on a deeper level once you already have some level of interest. Website conversion optimization means talking directly to the visitor and what they want to get them to take the next step.

On a very basic level, SEO is about optimizing for an algorithm to gain traffic, while CRO is about optimizing for humans to get leads or sales.

Neither is more important than the other; you need both areas to be strong to see massive success!

What do you need to know about landing page SEO to rank on search engines? Get the SEO scoop here.

6. Define your audience’s needs

The goal of your offering is to deliver a solution to a customer’s problem, right? If they purchase your product, you hope that the product will make their life better. If they’re subscribing to a newsletter, you’re looking to deliver value that will educate them about the industry.

You want to have your audience in mind at every step of the conversion optimization process. So it doesn’t hurt to create a customer persona with everything from demographics and psychographics to pain points and desires.

Creating an outline of your target “converter” helps you better craft your page in alignment with what they want.

7. Create a list of variables to test

Don’t just start trying out “optimization techniques” willy nilly.

We’ve made this part easy for you. Check out this section for the different variables you’ll want to test out:


Here’s the condensed list of website conversion optimization variables you can test to work on improving your conversion rate:

  • Headline
  • Page template/layout
  • Background image (and other images)
  • Form fields
  • CTA button
  • Density and length
  • Numbers
  • Testimonials
  • Offering
  • Progress bar

Have a video you use in your marketing? Maybe try adding it to the landing page. Want to see if a new slogan better resonates with your audience? Try it with A/B testing.

8. Say it with less

Most people share too much. Both in conversation and on their landing pages. You want to give all the info needed for your visitor to take action without distracting them or losing their interest.

See if you can say the same thing in fewer, more potent words.

Which is better:

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  • Be a rockstar. Learn drums or guitar from the very best experts.

Still, you don’t want to be too concise. People still want to learn about what the offer is before they dive in. Neil Patel found that putting the CTA above the fold decreased conversions by 17% because people didn’t yet understand what they were supposed to be doing. So, be concise but not at the expense of communicating the value proposition.

9. Run A/B testing hypotheses

You don’t know what’s going to work until you test it. So create a theory, run your A/B testing, and then choose the page that has the “winning” conversion rate.

Don’t guess. Test!

10. Lather, rinse, repeat

After you’ve split tested one feature of the page, move on to the next one. Keep testing different features, one by one, until you’ve achieved (or surpassed) your conversion goal.

The process requires patience. But it’s the absolute best way to get more visitors converting and moving forward in your sales journey. When you know exactly what your customers want, you can continuously provide them the highest service.

11. Load up on CTA buttons

Don’t let your call to action (CTA) get lost in the fray. The CTA should be the “loudest” part of your page. This means the CTA:

  • Uses contrasting colors to attract the eye
  • Is sprinkled throughout multiple parts of the page
  • Has enticing copy to encourage a click

You want just one call to action per page. This CTA reflects the conversion goal of that page (like collecting a lead or making a sale). Though there’s only one CTA per page, that CTA should be prominent and pronounced.

You only have one action, but you want multiple CTA buttons reiterating that action throughout the page. This gives your visitor more opportunities to convert, and it has a button ready and raring to go the moment they’re ready to take action.

12. Use splash screens and exit pop-ups

Exit pop-ups are a great way to give one more opportunity for conversion. You’ll want to make this pop-up convincing. Remind them of the value of the offering, and then give them a little more. It’s your last-ditch effort before they click away, so you want to focus on engaging them. Like everything on your landing page, test your exit pop-ups to see which are working best to grab those customers on their way out the door.

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You can also use a splash screen when they first come to your website. This will show your CTA right away with the key benefits of conversion, so it starts to pique their interest.

However, you don’t want to be too pushy in the splash screen unless you’ve done a lot of setup before they landed on your page. If it’s the first time they’re hearing about this action, they’ll probably need a little more info on the full landing page before making a decision. Still, you can use the splash screen as a way to catch your customer’s eye right away.

13. Focus on load speed

Page load speed is perhaps the most commonly overlooked aspect of conversion rate optimization.

If your page takes too long to load, customers will click away. If a page takes too long to load, the visitor will click “exit” and click away to a competitor’s page (that loads at the speed of light).

As you can imagine, slow page performance can kill your conversion rate, costing you leads and sales. Additionally, slow load times kill your SEO and organic search rankings. If Google sees your page takes too long to load and you have a high bounce rate (people clicking away from your site quickly), they’ll knock you down on the rankings.

Leadpages loads 2.4 seconds faster and has a performance score 30% higher than our competitors. Have the need for speed? Click to learn about Leadpages’ load speed and why it matters.

14. Leverage the tools at your disposal

There are some awesome tools that can help increase website conversion for your business in a snap. Google Analytics can help you track your conversion rates, while Facebook and Instagram Ads and Google Ads can pull in high-quality traffic to your site. Drip or Emma create easy opt-in forms for email lists, and MailChimp or Klaviyo can help you follow up with leads (and send them to conversion-optimized landing pages).

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Leadpages offers hundreds of integrations to make it easier than ever to create marketing campaigns, draw in traffic, and convert them to lifelong, happy customers.

Website conversion optimization for the win

Website conversion optimization is all about creating a page that inspires your visitor to take an action that pulls them through the sales journey and drives your business forward.

Your website conversion rate could always be higher, right? Your business could always be pulling in more customers and revenue. Higher conversion means greater customer engagement, a bigger customer list, and more sales.

You can (and should) optimize for conversion on your landing pages and website. It comes down to testing different features to figure out what your audience wants to see, what draws them in, and what ultimately convinces them to say, “Yes, take me to the next step!”

What’s it going to take for you to take the next step in your business?

Start applying the techniques from this guide on your Leadpages website and landing pages to increase website conversion, grab more customers, and watch your business grow.

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