The Clueless Cheat Sheet for CRO

Conversion Rate Optimization tutorial

Don’t be intimidated by this seemingly complex term. It doesn’t bite. Matter of fact, it’s very easy and simple to learn. This article was written for people who are hearing about CRO for the first time.

Maybe you’re a student doing a research paper or your boss told you to do a quick look-up or you’re probably a freelancer trying to write a piece about CRO or you’re just bored out of your mind and came across this link. Believe me, you only need 10 minutes to understand CRO; I know, because that’s how long it took me.

First thing on your mind would probably be, “What on earth does CRO mean? You keep on mentioning it but you haven’t even defined the term yet!” Hold your horses, I’m getting there.

Okay, here we go: CRO stands for Conversion Rate Optimization. It’s basically converting more of your existing traffic in your website into leads or sales.

More Sales!
More sales for the same Traffic


The concept is that simple! Sounds awesome, right?

TL;DR: CRO (conversion rate optimization) is the art and science in converting more of the existing traffic in your website into sales.


1. Well, the immediate benefit really is an increase in sales. And an increase in sales is an increase in profit! And profit is just a fancy way of saying money. Yes, CRO will lead to more money. Who doesn’t want that? Let me paint you a picture:

Music Match (a music streaming service that I just invented) has 500 visitors per month, and they have convinced 10% of those visitors to pay for their service at a cost of, let’s say, $3.00 per month. That’s $150 in monthly revenue. Now, let’s say Music Match decides to optimize their site and raise their conversion rate from 10% to 12.5%. That would increase their monthly revenue to $180. They have effectively increased their sales by $30 without the need to increase traffic.

2. Another advantage of CRO is you get to cut down on your CPA. Now, now, don’t get intimidated by the new acronym. It basically stands for Cost Per Acquisition — the amount you spend to obtain a new customer.

This largely includes advertising, but not limited to it. Since you are working with existing traffic/audience, there is no need to increase your advertising placements (I’m sure you know how expensive advertising can be ). CRO is a simple and efficient way to increase revenue .

Let’s say you spend $3.00 to capture new customers. Upon optimizing your site, you double your conversions. This will lead to a decrease in your cost per acquisition by 50%. Instead of spending $3.00, you now spend $1.50.

3. Lastly, CRO makes your advertising placements and other promotional efforts more cost efficient. Since your site is optimized, newly acquired traffic has a higher chance of availing your services, giving you a bigger bang for the buck from your ads.

TL;DR: CRO increases sales without the need to acquire/pay for more traffic. It cuts down your cost per acquisition. Lastly, it increases the cost efficiency of your adversiting.


It’s really simple. And I’m not just throwing that word around. It could be as simple as changing the copy in your landing page, changing the colour of your call to action, changing the design of your sign-up page, etc. You get the picture. Let me give you a couple of examples.


The Sims case study


The Sims case study variation


Image Source

Just by changing the appearance of their sign-up page, Sims 3 has effectively increased their sign-up rate by a whopping 128%!


Change in Color
21% Increase

A simple change in the color of their call-to-action button increased Performable’s clicks by 21%




L’axelle had a simple objective: increase the clicks on the add-to-cart button. Their solution was so simple; they just changed their headline to a call to action.

From: Feel fresh without sweat marks

To: Put an end to sweat marks!

From a static headline to a more action oriented one. This earned them a 38.3% increase in conversion rate – a 93% increase from before.

TL;DR: CRO can be a simple change in copy, change in color of your call-to-action button, change in landing page appearanace. It’s not limited to these methods, however.


Cheat Sheet CRO

What you need to do is run a test. If you cringed at the word “test”, don’t worry, the test I’m going to discuss is by no means difficult. It’s the simplest and most common testing method in CRO; the A/B or Split test.

What you want to do is test a version of a page or an interface element against another version of the same thing. Then compare the effectiveness of each.


That’s how easy this test is. But to make it easier, let me give you a basic example.

Let’s say you have two call-to-action buttons. Have two versions of this button, one green and the other red. Inject the same amount of traffic on both buttons. Then observe which button gives you the higher response rate. Got it? Good!

Remember, it’s advisable to test only a few elements at a time.

Use this test on any KPI (key performance indicator) you want. KPIs can be sign-ups, subscriptions, monthly memberships, etc.

TL;DR: A/B test is testing the variation of two exactly the same elements.


I told you; you only needed 10 minutes or even less to understand what CRO is. Now that you’re no longer clueless about what CRO is, go on and apply it your website or write that paper of yours or impress your friends with an impressive term you’ve just learned.

(In case you don’t know what TL;DR means, it stands for too long; didn’t read.)

Sean Si is the CEO and Founder of SEO Hacker and Qeryz. A start-up, data analysis and urgency junkie who spends his time inspiring young entrepreneurs through talks and seminars. Check out his personal blog where he writes about starting up two companies and life in general.

One thought on “The Clueless Cheat Sheet for CRO”

  1. Thanks for sharing this! I truly appreciate how you outlined CRO and I am waiting for further lessons. Thanks once again.

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