Written on October 22, 2011 by  /  with 2 comments  /  in the Site Conversion category.

The Jedi Masters Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) for Blogs Part 1

Conversion rate optimization has been a common topic for quite some time in internet marketing. But with blogs? Not so much. Many marketers still consider blogging a good strategy, but not one that is super-effective at generating large amounts of business.

This is so not true. The truth is that your blog CAN be a converting machine. The trick is a) you have to create amazing value for your readers and b) you have to actually no how to increase your conversion rates. That’s why i’m here to help.

Because I basically have no life (jk) and spend 3/4 of my life on the web… I am able to find the time to read and research thousands of articles across many topics. In the past year conversion rate optimization or CRO has been a major source of curiosity for me. I’ve come across some amazing resources in my journey and I want to share all of these with you. All of which will help you increase conversion rates on your blog.

Conversion Optimization Strategies & Concepts

Before getting to into the details and messing around the tools that are available out there, it’s important to come up with some strategies for how you are going to increase conversion rates on that blog of yours. Here are 15 articles I recommend reading to get you started. After these your brain will undoubtedly start churning with ideas.

1. Multivariate Testing in Action: Five Simple Steps to Increase Conversion Rates

2. The Ultimate Guide To A/B Testing

3. Effective A/B Testing by Ben Tilly

4. Statistical significance & other A/B test pitfalls

5. Easy statistics for AdWords A/B testing, and hamsters

6. What you really need to know about mathematics of A/B split testing

7. How Not To Run An A/B Test

8. Statistical Analysis and A/B Testing

9. Use Conversions To Generate More Conversions

10. Optimizing Conversion Rates: It’s All About Usability

11. Optimizing Conversion Rates: Less Effort, More Customers

12. Should Your Content Aim for Traffic or Conversion?

13. 7 Takeaways From Optimization Summit 2011

14. 10 Effective Ways to Get More Email List Subscribers

15. Getting Users to Sign Up: Factors in Design and Content

Free Conversion Optimization Tools

Before you start spending money, I think it’s a better idea to start making money first. Start with these free tools to get conversion rates up and start implementing your strategies. To be honest there’s no reason why these free tools can’t do the job for you. If you’re an up-and-coming independent blogger than I would suggest just using these.

1. Clue App = test what people remember on your site.

2. PadiTrack = free conversion funnel tracking.

3. Google Website Optimizer = self explanatory.

4. FiveSecondTest = landing page optimization tool

5. NavFlow = path and conversion analysis & optimization tool

Paid Conversion Optimization Tools

If you are running a blog for a medium to large business I recommend these tools. They’ll help satisfy the executive team if you know what I mean. A few notes: Unbounce is more for “landing pages” which may or may not apply to your blog. The other tools can be used to test specific elements of your blog. Most bigger bloggers like using Visual Website Optimizer.

1. Visual Website Optimizer = an A/B testing tool and platform.

2. Unbounce = landing page and testing platform.

3. Vertster = multivariate testing platform.

4. SiteSpect = another popular premium a/b testing tool.

5. Test & Target = Adobe’s Omniture a/b and multivariate testing platform.

Calls 2 Action Resources

Call to actions are critical when it comes to conversion rate optimization and even more important when we are talking about blogging. People are actually reading your content and are trusting your recommendations. Creating the right calls 2 action can really boost conversions over night. Here are some awesome resources that will teach you a few things.

1. Call to Action Buttons: A Survey of Best Practices

2. Attract Your Visitors With Call-to-Action Buttons : Best Examples

3. Sparking Conversions: 10 Easy Calls to Action

4. Super Conversion Button Generator

5. Call To Action Buttons and the Psychology of Color

A/B Testing Case Studies You Should Read

It’s important to note that just because something worked with 1 site, that doesn’t mean it’s going to work for yours. Even if you are in the same industry or niche. But having said that, reading case studies of what others have done can be a good place to start. Here are 10 case studies that you will find very helpful for your blog.

1. Writing Decisions: Headline tests on the Highrise signup page

2. “You Should Follow Me on Twitter”

3. Human Photos Double your Conversion Rate

4. Google Website Optimizer Case Study: Daily Burn, 20%+ Improvement

5. A/B test case study: how two magical words increased conversion rate by 28%

6. How We Improved Our Conversion Rate by 72%

7. A/B Test Case Study: Single Page vs. Multi-Step Checkout

8. “Mad Libs” Style Form Increases Conversion 25-40%

9. Signups increased by 60% after actually removing the signup form

10. Anti A/B testing: signups increased by 60% after removing the blog header

Ideas & Inspiration for Creating Tests

One trap many bloggers run into is this feeling of “i’ve tried everything!” Don’t give up. The fact is there is NO WAY you have tried everything. These resources are great places for generating new testing ideas and for seeing the results of those tests. What you’ll find is there are an endless amount of tests to perform and thus, the limits of your blog and it’s ability to generate customers is endless as well.

1. Which Test Won = cool place to vote and see which tests actually win.

2. 101 A/B Testing Tips = + an overview of how to use Google Website Optimizer

3. ABtests.com = share your tests as well as learn from other’s tests

4. A/B IdeaFox search engine for A/B test case studies

5. Marketing Experiments = a site full of how-to content and resources for coming up with and measuring A/B and other experiments.

That’s all I have for part 1. Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon.