How the Founder of Split Testing and Approaches CRO from End to End

In this expert collaboration with Dylan Ander, we delve into valuable insights to help e-commerce brands elevate their storefronts with efficiency.

Dylan Ander
Co-Founder and CEO, @Split Testing &

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How the Founder of Split Testing and Approaches CRO from End to End

Conversion rate optimization is crucial for modern eCommerce brands, which regularly compete for customers’ attention on ever tighter margins. Sadly, expert advice on the matter can be difficult to find as the CRO sphere is also increasingly flooded with noise. 

That's why the Nostra team sat down with Dylan Ander, Co-Founder and CEO of Split Testing, the leading full-service CRO agency, and, the only heatmap tool with built-in revenue and eCom insights. 

Drawing on his expertise in site speed and conversion rate optimization, Dylan provided tips for eCom brands to efficiently level up their storefronts. Below, we cover: 

  1. The step-by-step guide to improving site speed
  2. Common site optimization mistakes to avoid
  3. The best conversion practices for scaling brands

Let’s dive in.

Prioritize These 2 Factors to Supercharge Your eCom Revenue

The average eCom brand is faced with two modern-day realities: 

  1. Ad costs will continue increasing
  2. Consumers’ attention spans will keep decreasing

Functionally, this means that brands are paying more money for less of consumers’ time. 

This paradigm is at the crux of the field of conversion rate optimization, or CRO, which in effect details the unending quest to make a customer’s site experience fit perfectly into their ever-shrinking and selective attention spans.

With this in mind, these are the two most essential steps a brand can take to optimize its website for conversion.

Step 1: Boost site speed

Most brands want to optimize their website experiences for more conversions, lower CPA, and maximum ROAS. Yet, in Dylan’s experience, they often overlook a major priority to getting there: site speed. He notes that site speed is just as central to making money as any other variable. 

Unfortunately, if your brand is on Shopify, you know the platform doesn't offer a faster CDN (content delivery network) alternative. It's a development-intensive fix, and most brands don't have the engineering firepower to build the necessary infrastructure. 

So, if hiring engineers to build a personal solution feels unreasonable, the simplest alternative is employing a site speed company. There are various options on the market, but Dylan affirms that Nostra is most focused on accelerating site speed to the max. 

Step 2: Invest in CRO

Ad costs will never fall to previous rates. CPM will only increase as more and more brands advertise on Facebook while the social platform's tier-one user base flatlines. 

That's why there is such a rush to partner with CRO agencies, invest in CRO-based software, and split-test before the sunset of Google Optimize. (Notably, site speed is a component of CRO.) Despite the current mad rush into the market, it will always be the right time to optimize your CRO – and you can do so with Nostra’s A/B testing kit + Edge Delivery Engine. 

4 ‘Must-Do’ Actions for Improving Site Speed

After years of running both Split Testing and, Dylan loves passing on his go-to approach for improving eCom site speeds — from easy fixes to deeper revisions. 

Step 1: Remove any plug-ins or code you're not using

This sort of back-end debris harms your load time. 

Step 2: Compress your images

Beautiful, high-resolution visuals are key to depicting your product as accurately as possible and capturing visitors’ attention. However, they also weigh down your site if you do not compress their size as much as possible. 

Step 3: Revisit your site’s loading stream and code base

Every website has a waterfall order for how content loads on pages. You must investigate this order to determine which photos or assets are loading first. Then, rearrange them so any interactive features for users load ASAP. 

Step 4: Leverage a site speed tool like Nostra

After you've dug in and addressed any code harming your site speed, Nostra can make changes on the DNS level to provide the massive bump that ultimately improves your conversion rate. In summary, those cleanups pave the way for massive gains that only Nostra can create.

Avoid these 2 Common Site Optimization Errors

Some areas of storefront improvement have to do with implementing best practices. 

Others are about avoiding mistakes Dylan often sees in his field. He calls out the two most common ones below: 

Mistake #1: Not hiring the right developers

Your developer needs the front-end development competency to understand waterfalls, CFP, and Time to Interactive (TTI). They should also understand every core metric that makes up your site speed — from the main thread, to blocking time, to how quickly the site appears interactive to visitors. 

Mistake #2: Not accounting for site rankings

Your site can look blazing fast on the front end when, in reality, it's slow to load in the browser. That seriously harms your organic rankings, which then has a cascading effect on Facebook ad performance. 

The issue here is domain authority. The more trustworthy a domain is, the more likely it'll be chosen for a premier ad space. So, if you have any banned MX records, it's a lot like having a bad credit score — a red flag to people judging your ad's trustworthiness. 

Ways Scaling Brands Can Optimize Site Speeds and CVR in One Go

On top of all-around best practices, here are three actions Dylan recommends for eCom brands scaling in late 2023 and early 2024: 

Tip #1: Run site speed tests twice per week

After each test, identify what has changed on your website. (For even more insights, provides calculations for site speed over time.) 

Here are some rules of thumb for your site speed: 

  • If you can decrease your TTI from five seconds to four seconds, this can completely level up your site experience and conversion rates.

  • If you get your TTI below three seconds, your speed is solid. You no longer need to focus as much on improvements because the returns will be less significant. 

Reducing your TTFB (Time to First Byte) will have a knock-on effect in TTI, so reducing that figure using Nostra is a great place to start.

Tip #2: Don’t overextend your focus on CRO or ROAS

The issue with basing your brand's progress solely on conversion rate data is that so many unique variables can skew the stat in the short term. For instance: 

  • Seasonal brands often see peaks and drops in CVR
  • Pushing 10 email campaigns in one week can momentarily boost CVR in an unsustainable way

So, prioritize looking at the longtails rather than the day-to-day ups and downs. With this, Dylan reminds founders to: 

  1. Realize there is more to each metric than meets the eye
  2. Make sure to also value metrics like AOV, revenue per procession, and net profit
  3. Work on personalization (AKA “the future of CRO,” according to Dylan – and something Nostra can help you with) and creating a catered experience for every user path

Tip #3: Always understand your customer through and through

No matter how shockingly fast your site speed is or how perfectly personalized the shopping experience feels, resonating with your customers is still critically important. On this front, Dylan finds brands can be overly concerned with UX when they should focus more on messaging – a faux pas similar to building the walls of a house before the foundation.

To figure out what resonates with your customers, Dylan recommends three steps: 

  1. Send out customer feedback surveys to your buyers based on heatmaps.

  2. It may sound scary, but actually pick up the phone and ask previous buyers what they would improve about your product.

  3. Then, take your learnings and apply them. This means rewriting headlines or retaking product images to improve the brand in the eyes of your customers — which is also CRO. 

As illuminated by Dylan, there are a multitude of ways to boost your site speed and work on conversion rate optimization. To stand out in the CRO sphere, consider working with Nostra – with us, you can drastically reduce latency and improve Core Web Vitals.

No need to hesitate! Book a free demo today. 

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