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31 Experts Speak: CRO Tips for Designers

Posted on 12.21.2016

Number of clicks, time on site, and other metrics used to measure engagement and experience are all great, but what enterprises are truly after are conversions. It's a Web designer's job to help increase sales in any way they can, which is why conversion rate optimization (CRO) has become so common in their daily lexicon and strategy. 

Website Magazine enlisted the help of fellow Web professionals to get their best (and condensed) advice about CRO for designers, specifically. Take a look at the tips offered below and please leave your own advice in the comments section.


"Trends define many of our design choices but are not always the best avenue for inspiration or good design. They do however shine a light at the things we should and should not do."

~ Andres Karolys, Marketing Coordinator at Skretting


"Carefully review the call to action (CTA), and ensure every visual element and word on the site guides and encourages visitors to take that desired action."

~ Rick Sloboda, Senior Web Copywriter & Content Strategist at Webcopy+


Humyra Hafiz, Web/Graphic Designer at Humyra Hafiz Design


"In any digital form, know your audience. Keeping it simple, offering a clear call to action with a narrow focus will urge them to click. Embrace all white space to centralize your CTA."

~ Kelly Hotles, Digital Developer at Neglia Design Inc.


"Before getting caught up in the visual design, start by getting to know more about the project by asking tough questions. A good designer can make anyone's concept look nice. A great designer specializes in creating concepts that matter at the core, thus blossoming naturally into a beautiful and moving digital piece.”

~ Katie Alcock, Art Director at Caredove


CRO in the Real World

"One big mistake designers make when designing a new product is their failure to understand their value proposition. What is it about their product, service and offer that compels people to say yes? Until they know this, most product design and aesthetic design initiatives are pointless.

For instance, when we first launched, we thought people would like our service because it's a cheaper way to get their grass cut. What we found through copy testing in different channels such as AdWords and Facebook is that the customer's ability to get same-day service is a much more effective and compelling subset of our value prop that drives more visitors and more conversions on our landing pages. Nailing your value prop first is crucial before you launch into your product design process."

Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal


"Be consistent. Be concise. Webspace must be designed with a critical, eye as its main purpose is functionality. Conversion rates will reflect the effort put into clarity, visual structure and ultimately the overall webspace impression."

~ Daniel Vega, Art Director at Vega Design Co.


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"Make your users care by incorporating your product into their context. Don’t tell them how awesome your product is, show them how awesome it’s going to make them by using it."

~ Guy Segal, Experience Design Lead at Capco


Alexis Lockhart, Founder & Principal Designer of Outfit Eleven


"If you have a site with high traffic levels, then the best tip I can offer is test, test, test. Use a tool like Optimizely and you can see huge conversion improvements from successful tests."

~ Martin Hayman, SEO Consultant


"Make sure you know what the goal is for each page and make the call-to-action immediately obvious. Don't get too carried away with imagery, keep it beautiful but remember to state the benefits."

~ Jennifer Rogina, Marketing Specialist at ClearPath


"Get really familiar with the industry that you are marketing to; understand what makes them click. You have 8 seconds to hook your visitors before they leave, so having a clear value proposition is vital."

~ Clarice Yuen, Web Designer & Developer at CY Designs


"Beautiful imagery can go a long way. Whether it's photography, illustration, or video, high quality imagery can make a lasting impression on users and really allow your site to stand out."

~ Geoff Krawiec, Graphic Designer/Web Developer at Brand & Mortar


Elements to Decrease & Increase

• Increase trust so that users don’t feel like they are going to be scammed.

• Decrease requirements from the viewer. The less you ask from them the more you will get in conversions.

• Decrease distractions - the fewer call to actions there are, the more likely a user will take action.

• Make sure your landing page is similar to where they are coming from. If they clicked on an ad for $35 shoes the landing page better be about $35 shoes.

• Take advantage of aesthetic usability - when something looks good, people will already perceive it at a higher value .

• Use the Default Effect and automatically have certain things filled in. This could be pulling in their location or this could be already having the most common options selected from the start. This requires users to do less and think less. 

Michael Sueoka, Head of User Experience at The Mobile Majority


"A complicated JavaScript page might get you noticed on the blogs but the average user is likely to leave if your page takes longer than 2 seconds to load. Keep it simple across all devices."

~ Christina Whitfield, Freelance Graphic Designer at ChristinaWhitfield.com


"When optimizing for landing pages, make sure that the message, look and feel match the ad they clicked on. If it feels off, many users will just click away without even reading it.”

~ Isaac Hammelburger, Senior SEM and CRO Strategist at WebbMason Marketing


"Consider the nature of the conversion then make that action as simple as you can for your users across all devices, so the transition from start to finish is as streamlined as possible."

~ Robyn Strafford, Web Designer at Bowler Hat


Helena Harvey, User Experience Designer at Digital Factory


"Design for the end-user, the customer. Consider the unique problem the site visitor is trying to solve online, and construct your content and assets to facilitate that need. Design to help users solve problems."

~ Daniel Davidson, Owner of ByDan


"Think mobile first. A website or landing page design should be automatically mobile responsive and result in a mobile layout that places the most important key messages and call-to-action above the fold and have a thumb-friendly data form and submission button."

~ Randy Mitchelson, Vice President of iPartnerMedia


Sergey Alakov, Digital Marketing Consultant at alakov.com


“Communicate, don't decorate.”

~ Devin Pickering, Designer & Web Developer


"Start asking why rather than what. Let consumer goals drive your design, not features. After that, build on that foundation by testing and iterating your designs with real people before going live."

~ David Hoos, Content Marketing Strategist at The Good


"Color is an effective method to entice consumer confidence and brand recognition. Hierarchy and visual cues can be utilized to influence the user's pattern of eye movement and lead your audience directly to your call-to-action."

~ Elise Rocque, Owner & Creative Director of Rocque Creative


Charlotte O’Hara, Web Designer & Developer at CharlotteOHara.ca


"Design is key to true conversion rate optimization. Always include clear calls-to-action and enticing, unique brand visuals. Don't forget to have a clear content hierarchy - remove the clutter."

~ Kayla Hammersmith, Copywriting & Content Strategy Manager at Perfect Search Media


"Simplicity is the key to success. Avoid creating complex and intricate designs, you don’t want to distract your users but want them to navigate easily. Always create a minimalistic foundation to let your content shine."

~ Aishwarya Verma, Jr. UX/UI Designer at Iron Logic


"Being able to ask the right questions and knowing what it's needed for will go a long way before having something that might look pretty but not work as well functionally. Questions — and attempting to find the answers — are a huge part of the job we do when we’re creating or refreshing a brand identity for a client or ourselves."

~ Daniel Szilagyi, UX Designer at ADP Canada


Vision, Numbers & Motivation

1. When designing a homepage, pull the page up on your monitor and look past it, so that the page is in your peripheral vision. Whatever element catches your eye should be used as the CTA.

2. Interview customers and check analytics to learn what most of your traffic is looking for (the question they need answered or the product they want). Make sure that your site header addresses that need.

3. Don't give large CTA buttons text like 'read more' or 'contact us.' Give a reason to motivate visitors to take action,such as 'get a free quote.' Give them value.

Josh Rubin, Chief Marketing Officer of Post Modern Marketing


"Transparency of why your website exists upon your audience's immediate discovery, will ultimately win their future loyalty and relationship. The impact of your digital design relies on the authenticity and meaningfulness of your message."

~ Brian Wong, Design Strategist at Great-West Life


"All design should have a purpose. Every page (and all elements on the page) should be meaningful to the end user, and presented in an easily digestible way. Put yourself in your end user's shoes!"

~ Danielle Aronovitch, Web and Graphic Designer at Blo Blow Dry Bar 


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