5-Step Conversion Rate Optimization Checklist

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Written By SmarterrMoney.org

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Did you know the average conversion rate across e-commerce businesses in August 2023 was 2.03%? In the past year, conversion rates have increased by 0.39%.

Make no mistake. Just because conversion rates are higher this year doesn’t make it any easier to convert prospects into buyers.

Cracking the secrets to improving conversion rates is crucial to running a successful website or business.

Your site is the digital headquarters all of your marketing efforts funnel toward. With every visitor comes an opportunity to convert them into a lead (or sale).

Keep reading if you want to improve your lead generation or convert more visitors into customers. In this article, we’ll break down a simple five-step conversion rate optimization checklist you need to follow to maximize your conversions.

What is conversion rate optimization?

Before we dive into the steps you need to follow to optimize your conversions, let’s back up and talk conversion rate optimization.

Conversion rate optimisation, or CRO for short, is the process website owners take to increase the number of visitors who take a specific action on the website. 

In most cases, this means:

  • Turning more visitors into leads by getting them to join their email list
  • Convincing a site visitor to fill out a contact form for a consultation
  • Converting a visitor into a paying customer by purchasing a product

However, conversion rate optimisation can be used for any action you want someone to take on your site. That could be downloading a free guide, clicking on a specific link, commenting on a blog post, sharing your website with a friend, or even asking them to take some form of personal action in their own lives.

Why following a CRO checklist is important

Conversion rate optimisation can be highly rewarding for any business or website owner. While it can be a bit complex, especially when you start diving into A/B testing, there are a variety of advantages:

Get the most out of your efforts

When all is said and done, if you can’t convert the traffic already coming to your site, dumping a ton of time and resources into traffic generation (whether paid or organic) won’t solve your problem.

Instead, you need to look at the root of the problem: your conversion rate.

By doubling down on conversions by following a conversion rate optimization checklist, you’ll get the greatest result for the effort you’re already putting into your site.

Increase audience size

To increase your audience size, you need to increase your traffic, right? Not exactly.

While your audience may be considered people who have seen your content or follow you on social media, a high-value audience is one you can market to directly on an ongoing basis.

Your website gives you the playground to convert visitors into high-value audience members. This is done by creating conversion-focused email signup forms and optimizing your website for sale conversions.

Generate more sales

By optimizing your website to transform more visitors into leads, you can then send targeted messaging that converts them into paying customers. 

Since a CRO-focused website allows you to draw in more high-value leads, you can convert more leads into paying customers over the long run, increasing your sales.

Reduce customer acquisition costs (CAC)

With conversion optimization, you can convert a higher percentage of your website visitors into paid customers. Even if you don’t spend more on acquiring new customers, you’ll be able to generate more sales overall. 

The result is that your customer acquisition costs will drop, allowing you to increase your total acquisitions to your customer base.

Improve profitability

While reduced customer acquisition costs mean you can pour more money into customer acquisition at a cheaper rate, you could simply maintain your costs while driving sales, resulting in increased profitability.

If you can spend the same amount on acquisition but bring in 20% more customers (due to using a CRO checklist), your profit margins will automatically increase.

5-Step CRO checklist

To double down on conversion rate optimization, you need to follow a checklist to ensure you don’t miss any major optimization opportunities.

The checklist below is designed to help you A/B test your website to ensure you continuously optimize and get the most out of your traffic.

1. Copywriting

The most crucial element you need to test is your copywriting. Without copy, no one will know what, why, and even how to buy.

Your copywriting is the foundation of your entire website. It helps communicate to your audience what you have to offer and why they need to take action.

You need to ensure you have a good offer. This isn’t just the product or service you’re putting out there. It’s the complete package. It includes the product, rewards, a unique guarantee, customer service, packaging, and promotions.

Start testing your copy with your headlines. Look at the headers and test different phrases to convert more potential customers into paying customers.

Here are a few tips to optimize your copy for more conversions:

  • Ensure copy is relevant to your headline and vice versa.
  • Write short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs.
  • Use bullets and subheaders to make the copy easy to skim.
  • Don’t focus too heavily on search engines. Instead, write for humans.
  • Focus on writing about benefits, not features.
  • Write about how your offer solves the pain points of your audience.

You can test your copy in several areas once you’ve begun testing your headers – your subheaders, body copy, signup forms, and product pages (if you’re in e-commerce).

2. Media: photos and videos

Next, testing out different media types is crucial. This means incorporating photos and videos into your content.

Don’t just take a random guess by throwing stuff against the wall, hoping it sticks. Instead, you should use data to develop impact video content.

Look at your website analytics and see what pages people spend the most time on. See what kind of video or photo content already impacts conversions.

Humans are highly visual. You should craft your content so it’s easy to skim. Instead of covering your website in huge chunks of text, split up your copy with photos and videos.

Photos and videos allow your readers to read more of your copy easily, and they help persuade them to take action on your site.

3. Calls to action (CTA)

This brings us to our next point: your call to action (CTA).

Are you trying to convert more prospects into leads? Want to turn more leads into customers? Trying to get more email subscribers? Or do you want to generate more sales every month?

You could write the most compelling offer flooded with beautiful images, videos, and CRO tactics. But your efforts will go to waste if you don’t include a compelling CTA.

Here are a few tips to optimize your CTAs:

  • Keep them congruent on a single web page (e.g., don’t sell a hat and a sweater on the same page, as it can be confusing).
  • Place at least one CTA above the fold on your web pages.
  • Include benefits in your CTA. Rather than “Buy Now,” try “Buy Now to Get 30% Off.”
  • It’s better to be clear and concise than too fancy and unique.

Optimizing your call to action isn’t just about your copywriting. It’s also about design. Test different fonts, sizes, and visual elements like borders and background colors.

4. Web design

Your site design will impact how well your visitors convert. You could have incredible copywriting, but if your site is laid out poorly, it will drive people away.

You must ensure your copy and visual content fit your website design well.

The first place you need to start with your site is your homepage design.

Your site design consists of the theme or template, color scene, and other visual elements that can be optimized to improve conversions.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when optimizing your website design:

  • Use a color scheme that’s pleasant rather than too distracting or extreme.
  • Ensure your design doesn’t remove the text’s clarity but makes it easier to read.
  • When in doubt, start with black text on a white background (the opposite rarely works).
  • Keep plenty of whitespace in between design elements.
  • When in doubt about font size, start by testing a larger size.
  • Design mobile-first rather than desktop-first.

Finally, it’s critical to ensure your website is easy to navigate. Good design is all about the user experience. Is it easy to find what they’re looking for? Simplify steps to reduce the need to click, and your conversions will increase.

5. Signup forms

Analyzing your signup forms is the final major element of conversion rate optimization. 

Website owners get frustrated because they’re seeing low sales and they don’t understand the importance of first warming up leads.

Your email and SMS list are a crucial part of conversion. Most visitors won’t become customers the first time they visit your site. Instead, you often need to have multiple touchpoints before they click “buy.”

Place email signup forms on your website in multiple places. This could be a simple form on your header or footer, a pop-up form on your popular web pages, or a dedicated landing page.

Remember that landing pages have the highest conversion rate (23%) but are the least popular type of signup form.

Focus on creating a solid landing page signup form and A/B test it to increase signups. Remember to set up event tracking on the form to track your results over time.


If you’re looking to get the most out of the traffic on your site by converting more visitors into leads or customers, following this 5-step CRO checklist will help you take steps in the right direction.

Just remember conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process. It’s not a one-time deal. To succeed, you need to be patient, test new tactics, and note what’s working.