Conversion Rate Optimization

6 Common Conversion Rate Optimisation Best Practices For Your Website

Want to know what the conversion rate optimisation best practices are? Are you looking to convert more of exisiting traffic into registrations or purchasing orders?

Conversion rate optimisation and your startup’s website will be the most essential part of any marketing activity.

After all, it’s where people land for more information about your business and product. But more importantly, it’s where website visitors convert into paying customers.

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Essentially a website is meant to communicate the following:

  • Who are you?
  • What are your products?
  • What’s the benefit and value for the end-customer?
  • How much it costs?

All of this needs to be communicated in a way that makes your startup trustworthy and credible. Especially if people are going to be paying for their products online.

The Goal Of Your Website

The goal of your website is conversions. You want people signing up and paying for your product. This is why you need a fast and easy workflow. One that gets people from your homepage to the checkout page asap!

In essence, a startup’s website needs to be designed with conversion rate optimisation best practices in mind. So it can attract the highest number of conversions. So what do you need for a conversion optimised website?

After browsing through countless of startup websites, we’ve found and listed the best practices for conversion rate optimisation.

Conversion Rate Optimisation Best Practices

1. Professionally Designed

With startups being the new player on the market, and most likely wanting to dislodge an already existing and established company – it’s essential to make a good impression with first-time visitors.

A professionally designed website goes a long way toward building credibility and can act as a catalyst to attract and convert visitors.

According to research conducted by analytics company Kissmetrics, they found 42% of online shoppers based their opinion of the website on the design alone. Additionally, 52% would not return because the overall aesthetics did not appeal to them.

Meaning the overall design plays a massive factor in people’s purchasing decision and building trust with them.

Most startups will opt for a simple design and concisely describe the benefits of every main feature they offer. Latvian startup Infogram makes good use of white shape to draw attention to the content and visuals which highlights what their product does.

white space cro

UK startup Geckoboard also applies similar design principles but uses icons to illustrate their main features and a short description of their benefits when scrolling down. They also have a video available above the fold showcasing how people are using the product.

ux design cro

2. Social Proof

Whenever something new enters the market, people are sceptical and will most likely stick with an established player – even though the newcomer has a superior product to offer.

To overcome this preconception and convince people you have a superior product – you’ll want to use social proof on your website to alleviate any objections for people taking your product for a test drive.

What The Psychologist Says?

Psychologist Robert Cialdini defines social proof as a means to determine what is correct by finding out what others think is right.

He explains that the principle of social proof applies to the way people decide what constitutes correct behaviour. Behaviour is viewed as correct in a given situation when others are doing it. Cialdini says, “The tendency to see an action as more appropriate when others are doing normally works quite well. As a rule, we will make fewer mistakes by acting in accord with social evidence than contrary to it.”

Startup Social Proof Examples

For startups, using social proof communicates that other people are using your product. Leading people to think, “If others are using their product, then it must be good, and I should give it a try!

For example, InVision utilises several methods to display social proof. On their homepage, they show their biggest customers who appear above the fold and seen immediately when landing on the homepage.

social proof better conversion rate

InVision, however, takes things a step forward when displaying what their customers think of their product. When scrolling down, InVision’ showcases short video case studies explaining how useful the product is for their customers.

case studies showcase benefits

In the main menu, InVision also has a section on their website dedicated to testimonials which are grouped into the different target groups they are trying to attract, i.e. startups, corporations and agencies. They also include videos with each target group, where their customers explain the value of InVision.

Additionally, you can also state the number of users you have on your website. Finnish e-commerce startup Nosto who help online businesses deliver a personalised shopping experience to their online visitors displays the number of companies using their solution right at the top of their homepage.


One of Nosto’s main features is delivering personalised recommendations to online shoppers based on their website activity. When scrolling down, you’ll discover a real-time counter of how many recommendations Nosto has generated.

If you’re an early-stage startup, you’ll want to let everybody know your product actually has customers or has gained media attention.

In other words: Be shameless about promoting your achievements. Especially when it comes to highlighting that your product is being actively used.

3. Free Giveaway

An easy way to ease people’s objections about paying, is to let them take it out for a test-drive. This is not only a powerful tactic for startups but also for established companies too.

During research conducted by Professor Dennis Regan of Cornell University, Regan found that when people received a favour, they felt more inclined to return the gesture.

Giving a free trial is reminiscent to being given a free gift or a favour. Tut the underlining intention here is to get people hooked on the premium features. So their willingness to purchase is much higher than it would be if no free trial were available.

Essentially by giving a free trial or sample of your product people are more likely to buy after they’ve experienced what the ‘premium’ product can do and the benefits they deliver.

Here you can see how running and cycling tracking app Strava entices their existing users to sign up for a premium subscription with an offer of a free trial through email.

email promo free trial

CoSchedule also uses the free trial to persuade people to try out their product before committing to the monthly subscription plan.

pricing page driving conversions

4. Headline

Whenever a new person visits a website, there will one be thing that will draw their attention – the headline.

Primarily centred or aligned left above the fold, the headline communicates your main value proposition. That is, to describe what you do in one simple, and short sentence.

Many companies offer specific features separately when it comes to analytics and website tracking. However, Hotjar brought all those features together into one package. In their headline, they wanted to highlight the benefit that users only had one place to go to when it came to analysing user website behaviour.

benefit driven headline cro

Food delivery startup Deliveroo also focuses on the benefit. But you’ll notice they emphasise exactly what customers will receive when using their platform.

conversion rate optimised headline

5. Calls to action

The examples of Hotjar, Deliveroo and Intercom above also illustrate another common element in websites. That is the call-to-action being positioned directly under the main headline.

A call-to-action (CTA) is designed to encourage people to take a specific action.

From the startups already featured in this post, a CTA button is prominent throughout all their website. The reason being is to encourage people to sign up to use their product as quickly as possible. The CTA is essential here to telling website visitors exactly what they should do next.

However, most people will want to scroll and find out more about the product before signing up. This is why the rest of the website is split into sections. So it can highlight other key features and their benefits.

6. Highlighted main benefits

The headline and CTA are meant to drive people to take action. But this alone may not be enough to convince people to sign up or buy.

People will want to learn more before taking the plunge and committing to it. The majority of websites  include sections on the homepage listing the main features and their benefits to persuade visitors into making a purchasing decision.

For instance financial technology startup N26, who allows people to set up a bank account online highlights their main features and benefits in dedicated sections on their front page.

n26 homepage example croFrom the screenshot above you will also find that they include CTA buttons in those sections to remind website visitors what to do next, that is to ‘Open Account Now’.

So there you have it, six common conversion rate optimisation best practices to try out. Did we miss one? If yes, let us know in the comments section below.

Kostas Papageorgiou

Kostas is the Founding Editor of Marketing Unicorn. He's a digital marketing expert with extensive experience from different industries like SaaS, e-commerce, automotive and fintech.
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