5 Tools For Blog CRO (And How To Use Them)
There is a ton of information about using CRO to increase the effectiveness of your landing pages. But what if you could improve conversion rates on your blog as well?
Your blog is one of your most valuable resources in the online marketing world. It’s truly your secret weapon. Don’t you want to make sure your blog is helping you reach your business goals? Are there areas where you could be completely missing out on conversions? Are there tools that you could implement in minutes that could potentially skyrocket your conversion rates?
Yes, to both.
In this article I’m going to dive in to the 5 tools I think every blog should set up to really analyze, and take advantage of every opportunity they can to make your blog an effective part of your conversion funnel.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
1. Create a top-bar call to action
In a test by Unbounce, a call to action above the fold (on the part of the page that shows without scrolling) increased their conversion rate by 41%. On a blog you don’t really get a good chance to have an above-the-fold call to action, without cutting off the user’s content (what they’re on the page for in the first place).
With a tool like HelloBar you can easily set up a call to action that will either pop up or be there from the moment they click on your page, and set up a destination page for that call to action to link to. If you have a new product you’re trying to feature or a new reason to sign up to your email list, you can write a good headline for the call to action and implement it in minutes.
This article even goes a bit more in-depth, showing how you should use HelloBar specifically, posing the call to actions correctly, etc., to gain over 1,000 new subscribers from HelloBar in under 30 days.
Here are a couple of the key bullet points:
- Headlines on HelloBar with a tangible promise lead to 28% more conversions than a HelloBar headline without a promise. Something like “Download your free 5 step guide to ____.”
- Send clicks from HelloBar through to a dedicated landing page. Traffic that came through to those landing pages from HelloBar (in this case) converted 70% more than other traffic sources.
Implement it, test it, and profit from this fantastic tool.
2. Set up a “Slide-in” call to action
A lot of blogs put call to actions in multiple places throughout the post. You will notice a call to action on the sidebar, potentially on the top bar, and most likely at the end of the post.
What you really notice, though, is when you see a slide-in call to action box come in from the bottom right of your screen.
In fact, when Hubspot’s tested implemention of a slide-in call to action box on their own site, their clickthrough rate increased by 192% compared to other call to actions, with 27% more submissions coming from that traffic than other sources.
So, how can you get a slide-in call to action set up in a matter of minutes? By using SumoMe’s “ScrollBox” app.
Here’s what one will look like in the bottom right of your blog:
The beauty of using ScrollBox (or any slide-in call to action) is that it provides a sense of urgency. When it’s not there to begin with but slides in part-way through reading the page, you immediately look, examine, and either act or go back to what you were reading (still, with that thought in the back of your head).
This is one reason ScrollBox is such an efficient way to increase conversions from your blog.
3. Implement a lightbox pop-up
This one is sometimes a touchy subject for a lot of bloggers and general website owners. You don’t want to put people off and upset anyone with pop-ups, I get it. But honestly, they don’t put people off as much as you might think, and they really work.
With a tool like ListBuilder from SumoMe (they’ve been killing it with these small tools) you can set up a pop-up call to action in minutes that looks good and matches the style and tone of your blog.
In this post by Brian Dean on the AppSumo blog he speaks about how he was able to double his blog’s conversion rate to his email list in literally 2 days by implementing ListBuilder and running this simple lightbox pop-up:
Pretty much overnight, his conversion rates doubled from his blog traffic.
Here are some of the tips Brian shared for ensuring the pop-up call to action worked as well as it could.
- Set the ListBuilder app to “Smart mode” which will essentially ensure that the user is paying attention when the pop-up pops up. You don’t want them reading on another tab only to come back and see a pop-up; instead, you want them to be reading intently and engaged when the action presents itself.
- Use a brief headline with a tangible result gained for signing up, like the guarentee that they will get more traffic with the resources you will provide them (as Brian does).
- Use copy that stands out on your call to action button. Not “Submit.” Instead, use something interesting that will catch their attention and align with the tone of your blog.
4. Use heat mapping software to get ideas for a better design
Heat mapping software is one of the most efficient ways to get incredible insights into your design, what works, and what doesn’t based on the traffic you’re already getting to your site.
Using heat maps to find where people are clicking, where the user engagement is, and what people are really doing on your site can lead to incredible conversion gains, just by making certain buttons clickable, cutting out distractions, and knowing where to put the key value points of your service on your webpage.
Nurse.com used CrazyEgg (albeit not on their blog) to increase their conversion rate by 15.7% simply by analyzing:
- Where people were already clicking, and cutting out a competing call to action
- Making non-clickable areas clickable, if people were clicking those areas
- Putting emphasis on the value of their service where the most engagement was on the page
They were able to gather all of this information simply by using a heat map on their current landing page.
Then, after testing a new variation, Nurse.com had an increase of conversions by 15.7% with this new, winning landing page.
The exact same approach can be taken to update the blog’s design.
- Are people trying to click non-clickable areas?
- Do you have call to actions that are competing and not in-line with each other?
- Is the user engagement not where the content is, and is there a way to improve that?
All of these questions should be asked, analyzed, and tested. We obviously recommend that you use CrazyEgg, as we believe it is the best out there for this purpose.
This brings me to the 5th and last tool to implement.
5. Use an A/B testing tool to test the success of updates to your design
I prefer Visual Website Optimizer, as it’s the simplest A/B testing tool to gain interesting insights from new versions of your pages, while both pages are running simultaneously.
How it works is, once set up and when you have a new page variant to test, 50% of the traffic goes to your old page, while 50% of the traffic goes to your new page being tested. This is key because there is no time-specific fluctuation. It’s the same traffic, coming from the same places, at the same time, and you can see which page or design works best.
VWO tells you by a clear percentage which design worked better in converting visitors to specific goals. Then it just comes down to what you test.
There are hundreds of things you could A/B test on your blog, though I recommend testing one at a time so you don’t get skewed results from multiple updates simultaneously.
Here are some things VWO recommends you test and consider:
- Everything you found from your heat map software
- Fewer form fields in sidebar call to actions
- Contrasting call-to-action colors from the other colors on your blog
- Cut out automatic carousels that could drag attention away from your content or call to actions—those should be the primary goals of your blog
- Try different wording on your call-to-action buttons
- Test headlines for your call to actions
- Try using urgency in your call to actions from your blog
- Using “free” when you can
- Test typographies
- Test background and foreground colors for the blog
There are hundreds of things to test. That’s the best part.
There are so many tools and tactics for increasing conversions from your blog, some tools take minutes to set up and can have insanely dramatic effect overnight.
The key to all of this is to align the style of your copy and content to the design and call to actions that you put forth on your blog. You want to make it all seem “native” to the reader. Do that, and they won’t get offended by multiple calls to action. Just be sure you keep a personal touch—and you’re providing value.
So, get implementing, get testing, and make your blog a business-generating engine for your company!