Below is a list of conversion optimization tools by category that every optimizer should have at his or her disposal.
As with any craft, you’re only as good as the tools you use.
Even if you don’t do CRO and run a blog or have your own business, these conversion optimization tools will help you run your business with intelligence and savvy – making you look like the rockstar you are!
This resource list is broken down into categories to help you make your business, and website outshine the millions of others out there.
Copywriting is arguably the most important skill you can have when running your business online. Knowing how to properly structure your sales page, landing page and even your value proposition can mean the difference between making a few hundred bucks a month vs thousands of dollars per month.
So how do you get started learning about copywriting? Check out the following resources below:
Copywriting 101 by Copyblogger – sign up for a free Copyblogger account and start learning how to write great copy today!
Quicksprout’s Definitive Guide to Copywriting – a great FREE resource with 10 chapters of copywriting goodness
5 Steps to Concise Copy – not a very long guide but this point is super important to keep in mind as you write for the web. No one wants to read 10 pages of copy!
Copyhackers Copywriting Cheatsheets – Copyhackers helps startups and small business owners write great copy using “hacks” to help you get the job done faster.
The Gary Halbert Letters – a fascinating read by one of the best of the best old school copywriters. Read all the letters he sends to his son from behind bars that teach him how to write great copy.
Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples – I own this book and found it to be invaluable as I was creating sales copy for my clients websites. At $7 a copy, you can’t afford not to get this book.
KopywritingKourse by Neville Medhora – Neville is smart and a little whacky which makes learning copy er, kopy, from him a great time.
You’ve no doubt heard all of the hype surrounding “data-driven” marketing, right? Well, whether or not you believe the hype you need to understand how users are interacting with your website.
You need answers to questions such as: why are people spending so much time on this particular page? Or: why am I seeing a drop-off from “add to cart” to “checkout”?
You know, business type questions that help you make better decisions. And create test hypothesis.
With that, here’s a list of both free and paid resources where you can check out your website data.
Google Analytics – by far the most widely used website analytics tool on the internet. If you haven’t had a chance to get your skills up to snuff, head on over to their support area to connect your website and learn how to interpret the data.
Hotjar Insights – one of the best “all-in-one” analytics tools on the web. And if you don’t need a large sample size (2,000 visits) on very many pages then the Basic (free) version is perfect for you. Hotjar can track the following for you: heatmaps, recordings, conversion funnels, form analysis, feedback polls and surveys. You can target anything from your homepage to your landing page to your contact page.
Kissmetrics – lets you analyze how people are interacting with your site and then lets you engage with them at key conversion points based on triggers you set up. Perfect for marketing teams who want to optimize their funnel.
CrazyEgg – eye tracking software at its finest. CrazyEgg will generate heatmap, confetti, scroll map and overlay reports for you to see where people are not only clicking but what their eyes are drawn to. This is especially useful when you’re using images to nudge a visitor in the right direction.
Wooopra – real time customer data that Google Analytics cannot deliver and a super powerful tool to measure every action your customer takes. Woopra unites customer data from your company’s web, mobile, CRM, email automation, help desk, and more, in order to build a single and complete profile for each customer. This data is then used as the foundation for creating better customer experiences through optimization and personalization – the holy grail of online marketing.
If you really want to increase conversions, you’ve got to use landing pages for each campaign, or offer, you run.
And engrave this next sentence into your brain or you may as well be flushing money down the toilet: don’t ever send paid traffic to your homepage. EVER.
And now that you understand this, let’s talk about the landing page software you should be using to create these landing pages.
LeadPages – my personal landing page software of choice. Why? Well, first off all of their templates have been tested and are designed for conversions. The editor makes it super easy to customize to your liking and if you run a WordPress site use their plugin to create what’s called a “Welcome Gate” where first time visitors see your opt-in page but will not see it on subsequent visits. Then watch your opt-ins skyrocket.
You can use LeadPages to sell your products too. And if you don’t see a template you like in their library, head on over to the marketplace where you can find hundreds more created by developers.
In addition, LeadPages recently added drag-n-drop functionality to their editor – a feature long desired by its customer base. Now users have complete control over the elements on the page and can add and remove as they please. Note: only available on certain templates.
Unbounce – coming in at a close second is Unbounce. What makes Unbounce different from LeadPages is that you have complete control over the design and layout of every template. Wanna create a landing page from scratch? You can do that too. Your imagination is your only limitation with the Unbounce editor.
Unbounce also has a WordPress plugin that lets you render their templates directly on your domain.
Instapage – another solid landing page builder is Instapage. Their platform can do a lot of what the other landing page builders above can do. Instapage is perfect for quick tests on products, services, prototypes or whole business models.
Bonus: check out this monster guide on how to create a landing page using Instapage by Cloudwards.
OptinMonster – I would be remiss if I didn’t include OptinMonster to help you grow you email subscriber list. The only reason I can’t list it with LeadPages and Unbounce is because they don’t have landing pages. Otherwise, use this to create welcome mats, exit intent pop ups, slide in boxes, and MonsterLinks for content upgrades.
As a conversion rate optimizer, you don’t know what’s going to work when you implement design treatments.
That’s why we must test to prove (or disprove) our hypothesis.
When it comes to A/B testing tools, there are two major players and the differences between the two are almost negligible.
My recommendation is that you test drive each one and see which one is a better fit for you. In the end it may come down to the editor, pricing and features that make the decision for you.
Optimizely – my A/B testing tool of choice. For me, a little bit easier to use for beginners.
Visual Website Optimizer – they recently improved the heatmap tool to give you more test ideas.
You may wonder why I’m adding image creation to the list here. Well, if you’re an independent CRO pro like myself then you don’t always have the luxury (nor time) to create great looking images on your landing pages or any other piece of content you create to persuade visitors into taking action.
Canva – without a doubt my favorite image creation tool on the web. Really easy to use and they’ve preloaded social media layouts and sizes for you along with millions of pre-loaded images. One of the best features is the ability to magically resize your image for other social media sites with a click of the button. Time saver! It’s also great for creating content upgrade boxes for your blog posts.
Pixelmator – my image editing tool of choice if you own a Mac. Similar to Paint.NET, Pixelmator allows you to resize, crop and add layers to your image making you look like a pro.
You might be asking yourself what writing is doing on a list of optimization tools. Well, if you want to be regarded as an expert in your field then you should start blogging or, at the very least, writing case studies.
Everyone has their favorite writing tool and I’m no exception. So I’ll start by listing my personal favorite.
Google Docs – I’ve been using Google Docs since 2005 and it’s still my go-to writing application. Everything is saved in the cloud, I can invite collaborators and format it so it’s ready to go for publishing.
My only “wish list” item would be a direct integration with WordPress so that I don’t have to fiddle with my article to get it just right.
Scrivener – if you’re big into writing and do a lot of research for your pieces then Scrivener gets my vote. I don’t use it as much as I used to but it’s a powerful tool that was designed just for writers.
750Words – the most difficult thing about writing is, well, writing. And the only way to get better is to write every day. By signing up at 750Words, you’re encouraged to just write without any restrictions or formatting. You get awards for keeping your streak alive and that in itself is the motivation to keep writing everyday. My personal best? 52 days straight. Think you can beat it?
Evernote – Evernote has come a long way in recent years. It’s much more than a repository for your brain. Store images, ideas, notes, to-do’s and even categorize your writing stack. Once you’ve got your writing stack written out, add all of your notes and references. You can even type up your entire article in the application and paste it into WordPress.
Every craftsperson needs tools to do their job. This is just a list of tools that I think you should use to help you hone your craft.
Do you have a favorite tool that I listed? Or, did I miss one that you love?
Leave a comment below and let me know.
PS: This is just a starting point and I’ll keep adding to this post as I’m made aware of tools that I think can help increase conversions on your website and make you look like a badass.