Conversion optimization guide

It is a term that we see more and more often in the marketing world: conversion optimization! Not surprising, because conversion optimization has many advantages to offer and is also becoming increasingly important today. But what exactly is conversion optimization? And how can you start with it? We will cover this concept in detail in this guide and we will also give a number of tips to make it possible for any website to achieve more conversions. So read on quickly if you want to turn your current visitors into more customers or leads!

What is conversion optimization?

Before we extensively discuss the conversion optimization step-by-step plan with the associated benefits, we will first start with the basics of conversion optimization. This obviously starts with the question “what is conversion optimization”? “Simply put, this includes all actions that focus on optimizing a website (or website page) in order to achieve more conversions in this way.” This concept comes from the English term conversion rate optimization (CRO). Almost every page has a purpose. This can be something simple, like reading a text and clicking a button, but it can also be a bigger goal. You can think of making a purchase or requesting a quote. These examples show that there are different types of conversions. A common distinction is that between micro and macro conversions. Micro conversions are goals that have a little less value and are therefore a bit easier to achieve. Some examples of micro conversions:

  • Clicking on a button
  • Visiting a page
  • Download PDF

Macro conversions are goals to which more value is attached and which also require more effort from the visitor to proceed to the conversion in question. Examples of macro conversions are:

  • Make a purchase
  • Request a quote
  • Taking out a subscription

All in all, it can therefore be concluded that there are many different conversion goals on a page. Conversion optimization focuses on optimizing a page, so that more visitors reach a certain conversion goal. Whether this is a micro or macro conversion, CRO makes it possible to optimize these goals.

Why is conversion optimization important?

Conversion optimization is important for almost every website. Imagine the following situation: your site is easy to find in the organic search results and attracts a lot of traffic, but hardly any visitor converts. That is of course not a desirable situation! It is a shame if you have invested a lot of time and money in good online findability or paid advertisements, but then eventually notice that too few conversions result from this. By using conversion optimization it is possible to gain insights into ways of increasing the number of visitors to convert. It is also an excellent way to increase the ease of use of your website.

Benefits of conversion optimization

In addition to increasing the number of conversions of a page, using conversion optimization has many other advantages to offer. Conversion optimization, for example, generally does not require drastic changes to the website, because it is already possible to achieve decent results with small adjustments. This means that (usually) not much time is needed to start up a CRO process. For example, changing the CTA text of a button or displaying reviews can quickly lead to more conversions. You also don’t have to change the way you conduct your current online marketing activities. CRO really takes place on the page itself: it does not change the way visitors arrive at the website.

One of the biggest advantages of conversion optimization is that almost everything can be measured online. We marketers are often inclined to rely on our own opinion, which sometimes makes this difficult to substantiate towards a client. Fortunately, this is not the case at all at CRO! With conversion optimization you let the data speak for you, because the results are based on the figures and the behavior of consumers on the site. To measure is to know, so you can excellently justify to your client or client why you chose something.

Conversie optimalisatie stappenplan

Now that it is clear what conversion optimization entails and what the various advantages are, we will now discuss the step-by-step plan of a CRO process.

The step-by-step plan of a CRO process can be divided into four steps.

  1. Issue
  2. Hypothesis
  3. To test
  4. Evaluation

You start with the problem, of course. It is important to see what can currently be improved on the website. A number of questions that can help with this are

  • What could be better?
  • Why do visitors drop out?
  • What do visitors encounter on the website?

Tools such as Hotjar and Google Analytics can help very well here. Even if you think that everything is going well on the website, it is still possible to find areas for improvement. For example, it may turn out that a page has a high bounce rate or that a button yields virtually no clicks. These may be interesting pages / elements to include in your experiment.

Once you’ve found the problem, it’s time to formulate hypotheses. For example, if you notice that a button on a certain page yields few clicks, this could perhaps be a hypothesis: ‘By changing the color of the button from green to red, I expect the button to yield 25% more clicks.’ is to formulate multiple hypotheses, so that you can check which hypothesis is correct afterwards.

After you have formulated the hypotheses, it is time to test! It is important to think in advance about which type of experiment you will use. We are going to cover the different types of experiments later in this guide. Once enough visitors / respondents have taken part in the test, it is time to analyze and evaluate the results. If it turns out that your hypothesis is correct, you can decide to make this change on the page. Even if the results show that the hypothesis is incorrect, you can only learn from it! In that case you know that it does not work and you can then take this along as a learning point.


CRO is often confused with A / B testing. On the one hand, this is understandable, because A / B testing is an important part of CRO. Conversion optimization is much more than just devising and executing experiments. A / B testing is not the same as conversion optimization, but it is an important part of it.

Testing your ideas is one of the most important steps you take during the CRO process. By experimenting you can see or test the proposed hypotheses. These experiments can then show whether the hypotheses you have formulated in advance are correct or not. Whether your idea works or not, you can at least learn a lot from it.

In an A / B test, visitors are randomly divided into two equal groups. The visitors themselves are unaware that they are taking an A / B test, which makes it possible to measure unconscious behavior. We humans exhibit unconscious behavior more often than consciously, especially on websites. Since you can’t ask for unconscious behavior, you have to test it. This is where an A / B test or some other kind of experiment comes in very handy.

You can research a lot of things with the help of an A / B test! Some examples of this are:

  • CTA text
  • Color of button
  • Place of a button
  • Media use (think of an image or product video)

There are different types of experiments, such as an A / B test, multivariate test and a split URL test. An A / B test is probably the best known of these kinds of experiments. This is an experiment where only one adjustment is made and then tested. In a multivariate test, multiple variables are adjusted and then tested. For example, you can experiment with the color of a button, its location and the text all at the same time by means of a multivariate test. A split URL test is very different. Visitors are sent to different pages. This makes it possible to test an entire page with different variables. Based on this, you can see which page has performed better and you can ultimately decide which version to choose.

Conversion optimization tools

The great thing about conversion optimization is that there are a lot of tools available that can help / improve the process. This makes it possible to give advice based on data, which ensures that you can substantiate everything properly. Some of the most famous tools are Hotjar, VWO and Google Optimize. We are going to discuss these tools further here!


Hotjar is probably the most famous tool when it comes to heat maps. With the help of these heat maps you can map the behavior of visitors: what they click on, how far they scroll and how they navigate over a page with the mouse. Especially with the help of the recordings you get a very concrete insight into how visitors behave on the page. For example, do you notice from the heatmap that visitors do not see a very important part at the bottom of the page? Then it can be useful to place this section higher on the page.


VWO is a program that many CRO specialists use. With the help of VWO you can perform various experiments, such as A / B and multivariate tests. However, you can do a lot more with this tool! You can create heat maps, use on-page surveys and analyze forms. It is therefore a very extensive tool that you can use to manage a CRO process.

Google Optimize

Google Optimize is a tool from Google with which it is possible to set up experiments. It is very easy to use and one of the biggest advantages: it is free! This is an ideal tool to start if you are just starting in the CRO field. You just have to put a piece of code on the website and you are ready to start experimenting.

Because the program is from Google, it is very easy to link with other tools such as Google Analytics. By linking it to goals in Google Analytics, it is possible to get a good picture of the progress of the experiment.

Conversion optimization tips

To conclude this guide about CRO, we will discuss a number of tips that you should pay attention to when you start with a conversion optimization process in practice! You can also use these tips to get an idea of ​​how conversion optimization can be applied in practice.

Create trust

Trust works very well with consumers. This plays very much on the principle of social evidential value, one of Cialdini’s principles of influence. Social proof helps (insecure) visitors make a decision. You can of course provide a very nice piece of text why visitors have come to the right place, but consumers are more likely to trust other consumers. So make sure your site has sufficient social proof. You can use this by offering visitors the opportunity to leave a review. It is important that you use reviews from real customers and do not post fake reviews, as this can be harshly punished and you damage your reliability.

Think from the perspective of the consumer

We marketers usually like to involve our own opinion in our work. At CRO, however, it’s not about what you like, but about what works best for visitors. Your website works as a means to fulfill a visitor’s goal. You will probably not like some things that you have to adjust, but you have to let go of that. If it yields more conversions, the less beautiful design does not matter of course!


We all recognize it: a notification with a product that there are only 3 articles available or that the promotion expires within 12 hours.

These are all attempts to create scarcity. In most cases it also works well, as urgency is created in the visitor. It is important that the information you provide is accurate and therefore not made up.


A CRO process can take quite some time, because you need to have enough visitors to participate in your experiment. For sites that attract thousands of visitors per day, less time will be required to make reliable statements compared to sites that attract dozens of visitors per month. It is therefore advisable to leave the test as long as possible, as this increases the chance that your results are reliable and can also be substantiated.

Also use CRO?

Wil je meer informatie ontvangen na het lezen van deze CRO gids? Of ben je al geïnteresseerd in het inzetten van conversie optimalisatie? Neem in dat geval dan vrijblijvend contact met ons op! Onze medewerkers helpen je met alle plezier verder.