What Does a Conversion Rate Optimiser Do?

My Mother is having her home re-modelled. Her builder was recommended by a friend (word-of-mouth is the best marketing method around) and he has no online presence, as such, she offered up my services to build him a website.

Which meant that I had to break it to her that I am no longer a website designer & developer. Frankly, the idea of building a website from scratch fills me with dread, despite the many frameworks and preprocessors that have emerged since I left pure front-end development. It’s an uphill struggle and it’s why I much prefer the fast paced test & learn life of CRO.

But, it meant that I had to explain to her what I do now, and it turns out, I do quite a lot.

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Analytics

I lean on analytics teams to supply me with the data I need, but it is still my responsibility to know what to look for. Typically I start with broad funnel reports, but eventually you need to tunnel down into landing page conversions, audience segmentations, bounce rates and understand trading peaks & user journeys.

Having a good relationship with the analytics department is vital. Without their insights I would be clueless about where to begin improving a website. But being able to generate reports, or even just make sense of analytics dashboards yourself enables you to monitor your test successes (and failures) without impeding colleagues.

I have a long journey ahead of me to improve my analytic knowledge, but understanding the basics is a good start. Maintaining good working relationships for those times you need assistance currently works well for me too.

Idea Generation

Some of the techniques I used for research include:

  • Heat maps
  • Visitor recordings
  • NPS & on-site surveys
  • User testing
  • Customer Support feedback
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Knowing when and how to use all of these techniques is a skill in itself, but being able to correlate all the relevant data into one place and then come up with a valid test hypothesis has taken years of practice.

But your resident CRO expert should not be relied upon to generate all the ideas — your colleagues will undoubtably have loads too, even if many of them are subjective. Running workshops and turning vague ideas into fleshed out tests can make sure the whole business feels involved in optimisation.

Prioritisation and Road-mapping

  • How high a priority is the test?
  • Will the test clash with website releases?
  • Will the test clash with other tests?
  • Is the test due to run alongside marketing campaigns?
  • As well as considering any trading peaks, content dependancies, engineering bottlenecks, or HiPPOs.

It’s a minefield! And it’s why I create new road-maps every 3 months because business priorities might change, website releases might alter the codebase and test results can alter your perceptions.

Test Building, QA & Monitoring

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QA-ing tests can and should be done by anyone familiar with the website. Finding bugs before a test goes live is vital and although not all CRO specialists are required to build tests themselves — that is what teams and agencies are for — understanding the code enough to fix a bug is super helpful!

Personally, I love digging into existing website code to see how it was built and how it can be manipulated. It’s another way for me to generate test ideas.

I also spend a lot of time keeping an eye on tests which are running. Often you’ll have multiple tests at various states of completion, all of which require monitoring for any worrying behaviours (in which case it might be time to stop the test) for bugs (in which case, stop and fix the bug) or monitoring for completion (in which case, consider whether to stop the test or to push to 100%.)

Reporting

Often, you’ll also be required to present test results to rooms full of managers and stakeholders. Public speaking is a skill I’ve only just started working on, but you must be able to put together an engaging and informative presentation as well as speak clearly & know your material.

Communication is a key aspect of maintaining good working relationships as well as encouraging a test & learn culture.

Conclusion

It’s a demanding job with lots of balls to juggle, but then again, I also know how to juggle, and I love it!

What skills does your role require? Has reading this made you realise that you do more than people expect? Let me know!

UX, Conversion Rate Optimisation and Personalisation specialist.

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