The Easy-to-Follow 7-Step CRO Audit Process

CRO Audit: Increase Your Conversions in 10 Simple Steps


You have two options if you’re unhappy with your website’s conversion rates.

The first is to implement a couple of random tactics you heard on that marketing podcast, which worked for a business completely unrelated to yours. 

The other is to take a more systematic, measured approach. An approach that finds specific problems with the pages on your site and fixes them one by one. 

You’re choosing the second option, right?

Good, then let’s explain what a conversion rate optimisation audit is and how you can complete one using our step-by-step process.

What is a CRO audit?

A conversion rate optimisation audit (CRO audit) systematically evaluates your website. It identifies opportunities to enhance your website’s performance and improve conversion rates. 

During the audit, you’ll analyse your website’s entire customer journey, collect valuable user behaviour data and cross reference that with web analytics to find site elements (forms, calls-to-actions, etc.) that you can optimise.

What is a CRO audit

It’s one (and usually the first) part of a wider CRO strategy. 

For example, an online retailer might run a CRO audit to discover why cart abandonment rates are high. The audit may throw up several potential problems (like a confusing checkout form and poor navigation), which the retailer can then spend time optimising using A/B tests

Why run a CRO audit?

A CRO audit can be a lot of work, but it’s well worth the effort. Here are the benefits you can expect from running one.

Generate targeted and relevant insights

You’ve probably already tested some “best practice” conversion rate optimisations, like changing the colour of your CTA button, adding social proof or highlighting benefits to your headlines. 

These are great, but they aren’t tailored to your audience. Running a CRO audit will ensure you find (and rectify) the conversion bottlenecks and barriers that impact your users, not someone else’s.

Improve conversion rates

Ultimately, CRO audits are about improving conversion rates and increasing revenue. Finding and eliminating barriers to conversion makes it much more likely that users will convert. 

But that’s not all. CRO audits also improve the user experience and customer satisfaction. The audit process will help you understand how users behave on your website, allowing you to create a more user-friendly customer experience. 

A 10-step process for running your first CRO audit 

Want to conduct your first CRO audit? Follow the ten-step process we outline below:

A 10-step process for running your first CRO audit

1. Define your goals

Start your CRO audit by setting conversion goals that marry with the wider goals of your business. The more clearly you define your goals, the easier it will be to evaluate your website for opportunities.  

Your goals could include:

  • Booking more trials
  • Getting more email subscribers
  • Reducing cart abandonments

You should also define the specific actions users need to take for you to achieve these goals. For example, users will have to click on your call-to-action and complete a form to book more trials. On the other hand, reducing cart abandonments requires users to add items to their cart and click through all of the forms during the checkout process. 

If you’re unsure where to start, we recommend reading our CRO statistics roundup to see how your site compares to industry averages for metrics like conversion and click-through rates. 

You’ll also want to ensure you track these conversion goals in your web analytics software. In Matomo, it only takes a few minutes to set up a new conversion goal, and the goals dashboard makes it easy to see your performance at a glance.  

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2. Review your analytics

With your goals in mind, the next step is to dive into your website analytics and identify pages that need improvement.

Consider the following conversion metrics when analysing pages:

  • Conversion rate
  • Average time on page
  • Average order value
  • Click-through rate

Ensure you’re analysing metrics aligning with the goals you set in step one. Average order value could be a great metric to track if you want to reduce cart abandonments, for example, but it’s unsuitable to get more email subscribers.

3. Research the user experience

Next, you’ll want to gather user experience data to better understand how potential customers use your website and why they aren’t converting as often as you’d like. 

You can use several tools for user behaviour analysis, but we recommend heatmaps and session recordings.

Heatmaps visually represent how users click, move and scroll your website. It will show where visitors place their attention and which page elements are ignored.  

Take a look at this example below from our website. As you can see, the navigation, headline and CTA get the most attention. If we weren’t seeing as many conversions as we liked and our CTAs were getting ignored, that might be a sign to change their colour or placement. 

Screenshot of Matomo heatmap feature

Session recordings capture the actions users take as they browse your website. They let you watch a video playback of how visitors behave, capturing clicks and scrolls so you can see each visitor’s steps in order. 

Session recordings will show you how users navigate and where they drop off. 

4. Analyse your forms

Whether your forms are too confusing or too long, there are plenty of reasons for users to abandon your forms. 

But how many forms are they abandoning exactly and which forms are there?

That’s what form analysis is for. 

Running a form analysis will highlight which forms need work and reveal whether forms could be contributing to a page’s poor conversion rate. It’s how Concrete CMS tripled its leads in just a few days.

Matomo’s Form Analytics feature makes running form analysis easy.

A screenshot of Matomo's form analysis dashboard

Just open up the forms dashboard to get a snapshot of your forms’ key metrics, including average hesitation time, starter rate and submission rates. 

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5. Analyse your conversion funnel

Next, analyse the conversion funnel to see if there’s an obvious bottleneck or several pages where visitors abandon your desired action.  Common conversion abandonment points are shopping carts and forms.

A website conversion funnel

For example, you could find there is a drop-off in conversions between checking out and making a purchase or between booking a demo and signing up for a subscription. Understanding where these drop-offs occur lets you dig deeper and make targeted improvements.

Don’t worry if you’ve got a very long funnel. Start at the bottom and work backward. Problems with the pages at the very end of your funnel tasked with converting customers (landing pages, checkout pages, etc.) will have the biggest impact on your conversion rate. So, it makes sense to start there. 

6. Analyse campaigns and traffic sources (marketing attribution)

It’s now time to analyse traffic quality to ensure you’re powering your conversion optimisation efforts with the best traffic possible. 

This can also help you find your best customers so you can focus on acquiring more of them and tailoring your optimisation efforts to their preferences. 

Run a marketing attribution report to see which traffic sources generate the most conversions and have the highest conversion rates. 

Matomo comparing linear, first click, and last click attribution models in the marketing attribution dashboard

Using marketing attribution is crucial here because it gives a fuller picture of how customers move through their journey, recognising the impact of various touchpoints in making a decision, unlike last-click attribution, which only credits the final touchpoint before a conversion.

7. Use surveys and other qualitative data sources

Increase the amount of qualitative data you have access to by speaking directly to customers. Surveys, interviews and other user feedback methods add depth and context to your user behaviour research.

Sure, you aren’t getting feedback from hundreds of customers like you do with heatmaps or session recordings, but the information can sometimes be much richer. Users will often tell you outright why they didn’t take a specific action in a survey response (or what convinced them to convert).  

Running surveys is now even easier in Matomo, thanks to the Matomo Surveys third-party plugin. This lets you add a customisable survey popup to your site, the data from which is automatically added to Matomo and can be combined with Matomo segments.

8. Develop a conversion hypothesis

Using all of the insights you’ve gathered up to this point, you can now hypothesise what’s wrong and how you can fix it. 

Here’s a template you can use:

Conversion Hypothesis Template

This could end up looking something like the following:

Based on evidence gathered from web analytics and heatmaps, moving our signup form above the fold will fix our lack of free trial signups, improving signups by 50%.

A hypothesis recorded in Matomo

Make sure you write your hypothesis down somewhere. Matomo lets you document your hypothesis when creating an A/B test, so it’s easy to reflect on when the test finishes. 

9. Run A/B tests

Now, it’s time to put your theory into practice by running an A/B test.

Create an experiment using a platform like Matomo that creates two different versions of your page: the original and one with the change you mentioned in your hypothesis. 

There’s no set time for you to run an A/B test. Just keep running it until the outcome is statistically significant. This is something your A/B testing platform should do automatically. 

A statistically significant result means it would be very unlikely the outcome doesn’t happen in the long term.

A screenshot of an A/B test

As you can see in the image above, the wide header variation has significantly outperformed both the original and the other variation. So we can be pretty confident about making the change permanent. 

If the outcome of your A/B test also validates your conversion hypothesis, you can implement the change. If not, analyse the data, brainstorm another hypothesis and run another A/B test.   

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10. Monitor and iterate

You need to develop a culture of continuous improvement to succeed with conversion rate optimisation. That means constantly monitoring your conversion goals and running tests to improve your metrics. 

While you don’t need to run a conversion audit every month, you should run audits regularly throughout the year.

How often should you conduct a CRO audit? 

You should conduct a CRO audit fairly regularly. 

We recommend creating a CRO schedule that sees you run a CRO audit every six to 12 months. That will ensure you continue identifying problem pages and keeping your conversion rates competitive. 

Regular CRO audits will also account for evolving consumer behaviours, changes in your industry and your own business goals, all of which can impact your approach conversion rate optimisation. 

Run your CRO audit with Matomo

A CRO audit process is the only way you can identify conversion optimisation methods that will work for your site and your target audience. It’s a methodical, data-backed strategy for making targeted improvements to send conversion rates soaring.  

There are a lot of steps to complete, but you don’t need dozens of tools to run a CRO audit process. 

Just one: Matomo.

Unlike other web analytics platforms, like Google Analytics, Matomo has the built-in tools and plugins to help with every step of the CRO audit process, from web analytics to conversion funnel analysis and A/B testing. With its accurate, unsampled data and privacy-friendly tracking, Matomo is the ideal choice for optimising conversions. 

Learn how to increase your conversions with Matomo, and start a free 21-day trial today. No credit card required.

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A powerful web analytics platform that gives you and your business 100% data ownership and user privacy protection.

No credit card required.

Free forever.