How to Prioritize CRO Tests

There are an infinite amount of A/B tests that you can run on your site. Knowing how to prioritize tests that will have the strongest impact on your conversion rate is key to seeing success with your CRO efforts. This lesson will teach you how.

16 minutes

Key points you can
learn in this lesson.

Highest Priority to Lowest Priority

Understand which elements of a website need to be optimized first.

Using Usability Tools

Understand how to use site usability tools.

ICE Framework

Discover how to use the ICE Framework to prioritize specific tests.

Our key metrics increased. More importantly, we implemented a lot of new tactics and test scenarios, which will boost our company’s future prospects.

Dave McCue
Digital Marketing Manager at Allstate

Lesson Preview

In this lesson, we’ll be walking through how to properly prioritize your CRO tests. 

Why is this important?

If you test something while many other things are broken on your site, you may find that this test will be a waste of time because no one can use your site properly. Let’s say you decide to change a button color but your headline on the homepage makes absolutely no sense. It would be more impactful to change the headline before you change the button color. So we are going to go through everything that needs to be tested from highest priority to lowest priority. 

What you’ll need:

The Process:

When it comes to optimization, you should be very mindful about where you focus first. Wouldn’t it be silly to clog a leak on a boat that’s half an inch wide when there’s a 2-foot hole somewhere else on the boat? CRO must work the same way. Before you get to conversion tactics, you need to make sure the website works and is easy to use. Remember, no one wants to navigate a broken and difficult site. Before we get into persuasive testing on the website, we need to make sure the site functions properly first.

Here’s a breakdown of priority in the form of a pyramid: 

Step 1: Check your site functionality

Above all else, your site must work and do what it’s supposed to do. This means no technical errors. It also needs to be mobile optimized and work in every browser – even Internet Explorer. If you have visitors coming from IE and they can’t use your site, you will lose money. Make sure to do quality assurance and cross-browser testing too.

If we discover that the website doesn’t work with a particular browser – we can jump for joy. Fixing functional issues is a low-hanging fruit that brings instant, and possibly very high gains. Bug fixes are the biggest source of uplifts.

Some free tools you can use for cross-browser testing are: 

  1. Browser Shots
  2. Endtest
  3. Browserling 

Here’s a look at Browser Shots going through our Directive website across all browsers in just a few minutes.

Step 2: Check site accessibility

Can any device reach your site? Can a regular person get through your website or can only developers and IT professionals understand how to navigate your site and resources? 

This is is about making the website usable for everyone – no matter their physical condition or the device they’re on. Alt tags for images, readable font sizes, the contrast between buttons/text and background, and so on. Optimize for people with disabilities.

Here are some tools to check accessibility issues:

the WAVE (Website Accessibility Evaluation Tool)

SortSite

aXe: The Accessibility Engine

Step 3: Test site usability

Your site must be fast and easy to use. It shouldn’t be a puzzle for people to get around the website. Can visitors understand the language and buy the way they want? Is it obvious or do they have to “figure it out”? Show your site to colleagues and friends so they can do user testing for you. Someone in your company will know the ins and outs so you will want someone who has never landed on your website to do an honest usability test.

Here are some tools to help you do this:

CrazyEgg

Although not free, it’s one of the cheapest options out there at just $9 a month

Optimizely

The basic plan is absolutely free although some features are only available on the paid-for enterprise plan

Perform a usability analysis and fix the issues. Usability is about how easy it is to learn to use your website. Websites with usability issues suffer from conversion problems too. Fixing usability problems resolves multiple problems right away.

Step 4: Is your site intuitive?

This is where we finally can get into A/B testing. Your sales process must line up with the intent of the user. When we say intuitive, we mean that your site needs to reduce any friction in the buying process. Anticipate customer questions and provide the answers to those questions at the point of the ask and not in a generic FAQ section. 

This is often where businesses start to fall short: their site works and is navigable, but they haven’t taken into account all of the questions their customers have: how long is the trial? What do I get out of it? What happens next after I fill out this form? Will someone call me or email me? When? If we answer these questions on the appropriate page, we will see fewer visitors leaving and more visitors converting.

Optimize the design and sales process/funnel: Being intuitive relates to web design, prototypicality, cognitive fluency and meeting user expectations. Does the website feel intuitive and natural based on visitors ‘buying preferences? Does the copy make everything clear and obvious?

Step 5: Testing persuasive copy

The site works, questions are answered, but do users understand why they need what you’re selling? In order to improve the persuasiveness of your site, you’ll mostly be writing better copy that is specific to each of your personas. Better imagery and clean design are also important to showcase your value. 

 

Everything related to product descriptions, feature tours, demos, and product comparisons (even with competitors) are considered persuasive issues. This also includes your service descriptions, case studies, testimonials, and white papers.

It’s a great mental model to determine how you should be optimizing, and in what order. Make sure the first 4 steps are taken care of before moving on to the final one. While the higher you go on the pyramid, the bigger the potential impact on optimization, if the bottom layers are broken, then your conversion potential suffers deeply. Also, bear in mind that the level of effort needed to optimize for each level varies from site to site.

Step 6: The Prioritization Phase 

Now that you’ve found all the bugs on your site (steps 1-5), you can now use the I.C.E. framework to help you prioritize specific tests that tackle the intuitiveness and persuasiveness of your site and landing pages. I.C.E. stands for Impact, Confidence, Ease.

Impact

The main question to ask is: How impactful do I expect this test to be to my business? Some key indicators for high impact potential include:

  • Tests on pages with high traffic trends
  • Tests that focus on improving a KPI tied to business objectives (e.g. bottom funnel conversions such as transactions or proposals)
  • Tests on specific sections of the website. Does this test apply to all pages? If so, it likely has high impact potential.

Confidence

Next question to ask is: How confident am I that this test will prove my hypothesis? Points to consider to help you decide a confidence score include:

Related lessons.

Get full access to all lessons
today for only $99.

[if lte IE 8]
[if lte IE 8]
[if lte IE 8]
[if lte IE 8]
[if lte IE 8]
[if lte IE 8]