ConversionXL recently published the results of their survey on conversion optimisation in 2016. The data shows that a high percentage of people in a CRO role in their organisation have only one year of experience and the majority have less than three years experience.
Considering the lack of experience it’s natural that these groups want and need to learn more. However, Alex Birkett of ConversionXL, worries about where these young optimisers are learning from.
75% of respondents also said they rely on blog posts to increase their conversion optimization know-how.
Blog posts are great for quick reading, easy access and easy learning. However, the advice given is not always applicable to all readers. Naive readers may not be as capable of picking apart the opinions, data and advice given. There’s a risk of confusing inexperienced optimisers and passing bad advice around.
There are a handful of exceptional blogs that you should follow for CRO knowledge, including ConversionXL. I’m aware of the irony of this blog post but my aim here is to point you toward the really good stuff. When vetting your sources, look for articles that link to plenty of data and which encourage you to look at your own data first.
For online learning, that isn’t simply a blog post, here are five sources for CRO knowledge:
1. Online conference
Completely online, with a speaker lineup to rival the more long standing conferences in America and Europe. There’s no need to miss out on the best talks and presentations due to location or expense.
Not got a ticket yet? There’s really no excuses, no really, they’ve thought of an answer to everything, check out why you must go to Conversion World 2016.
2. Research institutes
Many agencies and consultancies conduct original research for their clients while some take a wider scope and produce data on a specific industry such as ecommerce or a subsection such as travel websites. These wider scope studies are useful for finding trends and benchmarks.
Baymard Institute was set up in 2009. It describes itself as “an independent web usability research institute”.
“We believe in what we call “actionable research” – taking the originality and thoroughness of academic research, but presenting it in a pragmatic and user-friendly format.”
The full reports must be purchased but aren’t as expensive as Nielsen Norman Group, another research organisation focussed on ecommerce usability.
Conversion Sciences, a conversion optimisation agency based in Austin, Texas, also contribute to industry reports.
Although Conversion Sciences is predominantly an agency they have produced reports on B2B optimisation, seasonal retail and optimising higher education sites. These are free to access.
3. Slack groups
Slack isn’t just for the teams you work with. A lot of great people are doing a lot of great things with it, including creating online chat spaces for specific subjects like conversion optimisation.
Conversion World has a Slack group too so you can stay in touch with the speakers and attendees all year round. The group means you don’t miss out on the networking opportunities of a location-based conference either.
Content shared in Conversion World is mostly from practitioners so it’s a super reliable source. Use the local channels to organise meetups with optimisers in your region. The opportunity for building a local network is brilliant.
This group is less than one year old. Set up by Sarunas Shast, it already has nearly 400 members. The group is pretty active with introductions, content sharing or reviews of favourite industry tools being posted every few days.
In fact, I found out a lot about the members favourite tools to use for conversion optimisation, including alternatives to well-known tools such as Google Tag Manager (GTM), Unbounce and even Excel.
4. Community platforms
Online communities are my go-to place for timely articles, finding out the big topics in CRO right now and getting help with questions.
To be honest, Inbound is for marketers but the lack of a large community platform for conversion optimisers and the cross over that marketing and optimisation have means there are lots of great optimisation articles shared and discussions to be had.
I love the Ask Inbound feature. The community is very helpful and informed. You’re sure to find another member to help you with your question.
Copywriters, there are quite a few ‘conversion copywriters’ in the community to connect with and plenty of discussions on copywriting.
Optiverse is a community run by Optimizely. It’s not exclusive to Optimizely users though. Although the content is more focussed on CRO than Inbound, the site is a little harder to navigate. Content can be categorised but it’s not as immediately obvious how it’s all organised, look to the top right hand corner for the filter function.
It’s also not as active as Inbound; new content is added every few days as opposed to multiple times a day. It benefits from the professional CRO practitioners in the community and the Optimizely moderators.
No signup required, just start browsing.
Structured courses are available and they’re far and above the best way to really learn, especially if you hope to be an optimisation practitioner.
The course was created by Giles Thomas, an ecommerce expert and CEO of Whole Design Studios & AcquireConvert.
In the program Giles teaches you his data-backed process for ecommerce optimisation, through 70 step-by-step video tutorials and worksheets, including handy done-for-you templates.
Enrollment happens twice a year for $199 a month for 6 months or a one time payment of $999.
Rich’s CRO course has over 6 hours of step-by-step training videos. It will teach you secrets of high converting sites like Amazon and Moz.com, plus expert A/B testing, web analytics and usability techniques for you to get many more website sales or leads. Taken by over 350 students so far, it’s the highest rated CRO course on Udemy.
If you’re ready to invest in a CRO career then go the whole hog and learn from the best. Peep Laja, founder of ConversionXL, has written a course designed for self-learning. The course is extensive but without any extraneous material. As Peep says:
“…all the content is as short as possible, straight to the point, meat.
The course is priced at $1,499. However, it’s also available with ConversionXL’s new subscription offering, the ConversionXL Institute. The Institute itself is an exciting new learning resource. Subscribers will get new, original research each month, as well as access to the course. The team behind the institute have designed the service to address the lack of original content and real learning opportunities in the industry.
More CRO courses
Need to spend less? We created a list of 6 online conversion optimisation courses. There’s a selection of no cost and low cost courses to further your CRO knowledge, as well as one specific to landing page building.
A few golden rules to remember: look for content written by practitioners and posts that reference real data or studies, rather than pure opinion pieces – unless it’s an expert pondering over an opinion.
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