7 Need-to-Know Insights from Conversion Optimization Guru Peep Laja

Jack Maden  |  March 4, 2016

Jack Maden  |  March 4, 2016


We were fortunate enough to be joined by ConversionXL founder Peep Laja for a brilliant webinar on conversion optimization. Peep gave a fantastic presentation that covered all the bases for a successful CRO program. If you didn’t make the webinar, fret not – we’ve compiled a list of seven key takeaways from Peep’s talk. 


1. Optimization is not a set of tactics

Lists of best practices and tactics might make you feel like you’re getting on top of this whole optimization lark, but really they’ll leave you floundering. Where do you start? How do you progress? What is measurable? Sets of optimization tactics, Peep says, are for amateurs.

2. Don’t follow the trends

Another red herring in developing an optimization plan, Peep advises, is merely following the trends. Design trends may make your site look fashionable, but since when were pretty designs the cause of high conversions? Overt decoration can actually distract the user from the action you’d like them to take.

Don’t look at market leaders either. Websites are highly contextual – what works for one company is not guaranteed to make an entirely separate business rich too.

And, on that note, never copy your competitors – for all you know they might be getting it all wrong too!

3. Optimization is a process

So, if not tactics and if not trends, what do you follow to reap the rewards of conversion rate optimization? A plan, that’s what! This plan starts with a thorough research process, and ends with the implementation of evidence-based fixes and changes.

For research, Peep recommends the ResearchXL model. It’s an incredibly thorough, six-step plan that combines qualitative and quantitative data to inform optimization hypotheses. You can see its outline in the image below, and read more about it from Peep here.


4. Ask questions, then look at the data

Research does not involve just looking at data, Peep emphasizes. Data is useless without a human being to make sense of it (until the robot revolution, that is), and the best way to make sense of it isn’t just to stare at it and hope for inspiration. It’s to ask the right questions first.

"Is our site working for every device and every browser? Are users having to scroll too far on our product page to see the call to action? Which field on our checkout form is receiving the most drop-offs?"

Once you have your list of questions, then look at the relevant data to answer them.  

5. Trust data, not ego!

“If you torture data for long enough, it will confess to anything,” Peep says. Try to remove the bias from your interpretations. If you have a favorite solution or idea for how you want the site to look, at least admit that to yourself: it’ll make your interpretation of data a lot more objective.

And, if you can, try to surround yourself with people who, as Peep says, will “call your bullshit”. This will act as a further check on your natural human bias.

6. Prioritize and implement your fixes

After following your research plan you should have a long list of identified problems – it’s now time to prioritize and fix them. The obvious and easy stuff with the highest potential uplift comes first. For example, if you discover that Android users receive an error whenever they attempt to register their details, there’s no need to test a solution: just fix it and ease that abandonment rate.


For the problems with less obvious solutions – high bounce rate on a content page, for example – you’ll need to get a little more creative. Use your research to come up with testable hypotheses. “Based on these observations, I think moving this call to action up the visual hierarchy will lead tomore sign ups on this content page” - and so on. Then, create an A/B test to see how the new iteration of the page does and, if it’s a winner, get it live!

7. Repeat!

So you got 3% uplift in conversions with the shiny new version of your home page? Great! But conversion rate optimization never ends. It’s unlikely that you stumbled on the optimal solutions to your website’s problems first time around, so keep at it!

Throughout the whole process, keep detailed records of all your research, the tests run and the changes implemented, for these become the benchmarks for research and hypotheses generation for future testing.

To sum it up, the key takeaway for improving your conversion rate optimization is this: don’t follow tactics or trends, follow a set plan – and commit to it.

Go further

Peep provided us with some fantastic insights on the optimization process. If you'd like to explore conversion optimization further, then be sure to check out Decibel Insight's comprehensive free guide. It's packed full of industry insight, techniques, and expert advice. Hit the image below to download it now!

Turn your website into a conversion machine

Jack Maden

Written on March 4, 2016 by:

Jack Maden

Jack is Digital Manager at Decibel, the best digital experience intelligence platform around! He also runs philosophy break.


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