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To Master Conversion Optimization, Remember These Resources

Published: September 19, 2014

Author: Theresa Baiocco

My partner, Richard Farr, came up with a framework for dividing our time, which I love. It’s to spend equal resources and energy on these four areas: earning, learning, health, and happiness. I’m going to let you find your own resources for earning, health and happiness, and focus this post on learning.
Specifically, the best resources I’ve found for learning Conversion Optimization.
Because if you’re not dedicating time and money for continual education, you WILL get left behind.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when getting started with Conversion Optimization is thinking that they merely need to learn how to use an A/B testing tool. But that’s actually one of the easiest aspects of CRO, thanks to tools like Optimizely, VWO, and Convert.com, which have made A/B testing easy to do on practically any site.
In fact, getting really big wins requires skills in the following areas:

-UX (user experience)
-Market research
-A/B testing and statistics

Here are good resources for learning – and staying on top of – each one:


Although UX encompasses more than just web, no web page should be built or changed without thought put into user experience. Team Treehouse has a course on UX Basics to give you a good foundation.
To stay on top of UX for the long haul, subscribe to the ConversionXL and UserTesting.com blogs.

Market Research

This is an area that’s near and dear to my heart – and often overlooked because it requires some elbow grease. The good news is that you don’t have to go to business school to learn how to do basic market research. But taking the time to get inside the head of your target market is invaluable for creating the right offers and messages that convince them to do business with you.
For an excellent step-by-step process, read The User Is Always Right by Steve Mulder.


Conversion Optimization is based on science and data. The first set of data to look at before making any decisions is the site’s analytics. But most people are so overwhelmed with all the data available to them and end up either:

-Doing nothing because of paralysis by analysis, or
-Only looking at traffic numbers, which are superficial, meaningless metrics by themselves

To start making data-driven decisions about your website, check out these online courses:

1. Market Motive
For $300, you can take a self-paced video course from Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik. The course includes quizzes to check your progress along the way, and a certificate of completion if you pass the final exam. If you want Avinash’s personal coaching, it’s worth forking out a couple grand for the Master Certification.

2. Google Analytics Academy is also self-paced and helps prepare you to take the exam to become a Google Analytics Qualified Individual. And it’s free.


This is arguably one of the most difficult areas to master. Read the Copyhackers blog to learn how to write copy that converts. Buy their ebooks. Take one of their courses. Learn all you can from them.

A/B Testing

95% of the work involved in A/B testing is figuring out what to test. Actually setting up and running a test is only 5% of the work. In order to get big improvements out of your tests, you need a systematic process of identifying and prioritizing conversion problems on your site.
The first place to start is by reading a couple of books:

Landing Page Optimization by Tim Ash
You Should Test That by Chris Goward

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Then, watch the growing collection of webinars from various conversion experts hosted by Convert.com.
Lastly, subscribe to these blogs to stay current:



While the A/B testing tools do the heavy lifting and calculate statistical significance for you, you really need a good foundation in statistics to make sure you’re not drawing incorrect conclusions from your tests, which could be very costly.
This is the one area where I wish I had a faster, more convenient resource for you. In order to brush up on statistics, myself, I took a class at my local community college. In this day and age of data overload, I know community college classes seem old-school (literally!), but if you’re serious about conversion optimization and are a bit rusty in stats, this is a worthwhile use of your time and money.
There’s no quick way to get – and stay – really good at conversion optimization. But it’s critical to your success online because it doesn’t matter how much traffic you drive to your site if no one converts. So it’s worth it to take a step back from merely earning, and dedicate time to learning. Feel free to borrow Richard’s framework and also build time into your day, week, month, and year for doing things for your health and happiness too.
After all, you’ll earn more if you learn more, and are healthy and happy.

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