How CRO and UX work together in website optimisation

Digital360 on 23 May 2017

When getting your website up and running, your focus is on boosting those conversions, and engaging users with your site. If you know a little about website optimisation, you’ll know that this is where conversion rate optimisation (CRO) and user experience (UX) tactics come in.

While the two practices overlap, and one often leads to the other, the difference lies in their intent:

  • CRO is about the business’s need, and how the website can encourage the visitor to take action.
  • UX is about the user’s need, and making a website easy – and fun – to navigate.

But how exactly do CRO and UX work? And how can they work together? First, let’s break down the strategies a little more.

What is conversion rate optimisation (CRO)?

We know that conversions are when traffic turns into action – making them complete a goal. This goal isn’t necessarily your visitors making a purchase – it can when they sign up for something or make an enquiry. It all depends on what your business wants to measure and optimise on your website.

CRO is all about testing and tracking which techniques bring in the highest conversions – like experimenting with design and copy until you’ve discovered what works. This could be testing a redesign of a call-to-action button, or choosing between video and image banners.

A/B or ‘split’ testing is a key testing method in CRO. In website optimisation, A/B testing means comparing two versions of the same page to see which brings a better conversion rate. You can track your conversions easily with Google Analytics to know what’s working and what isn’t.

However, businesses need to be careful when optimising their website or hiring a CRO specialist. In the way that SEO has ‘black hat’ practices, CRO has its own ‘dark patterns’. These practices involve misleading the visitor into performing an action on your site. In other words, tricking them into completing an action. Dark patterns are considered bad UX, and can involve things like:

  • Disguising ads – Ads that look like content or navigation buttons to trick visitors into clicking on them.
  • Hidden costs – Costs that don’t appear until the last step at the checkout page, such as shipping, tax, or delivery charges.
  • Misleading action – Misleading the user into thinking an action isn’t ‘opt-in’. This could be site design or copy that misdirects the user into thinking they have to sign up for something, or pay extra fees.

What is user experience (UX)?

When it comes to website optimisation, UX is essential to attracting visitors. UX involves researching and testing website usability – in other words, how easy a website is to use. The trick is making your website as logical, easy, and engaging for your visitors.

Unlike conversion rate optimisation, user experience focusses entirely on the user’s needs. UX tactics are also much clearer-cut than CRO – everything is done with utility in mind.

UX is about making usability and accessibility the priority. Some tactics include:

  • Putting important information in ‘high value’ areas.
  • Remove ‘friction’ – meaning the amount of load time, clicks, or other actions that need to be performed between each step.
  • Making navigation easy with an uncluttered menu, an inbuilt search function, and relevant working links.

Testing for UX is straightforward, and doesn't need a large budget to get started. It can be as simple as sitting down with someone unfamiliar with your site, watching them interact with your page and monitoring for performance and site navigability. There are also online tools for UX and usability testing, which are great for finding website testers and receiving feedback quickly.

How CRO and UX work together

Improved UX can boost conversions and CRO tactics can jumpstart your UX-optimised site’s growth. While CRO targets the business’s needs – and UX targets the user’s needs – both strategies come together to help make your website the best it can be.

More often than not, improving your UX ends up being a conversion rate optimisation strategy.

The easier your website is to use and understand, the more conversions that you’ll see. With logical, fast-loading, and straightforward website, it’s likely that your visitors will stick around and take action. And because both strategies take a lot of testing, you can be rest-assured that your site will remain relevant and fine-tuned.

Website optimisation can take a while to master, which isn't ideal for when you want a CRO and UX-optimised site from the get-go. This is where a credible digital agency can lend a hand with their website optimisation services. They’ll be able to manage your Google Analytics, user testing, and conversion rate optimisation tactics, all under one roof.

We’re a Melbourne digital agency dedicated to achieving business outcomes. Chat with one of our specialists about your website optimisation strategy.