Chances are, you already know that conversion rates are pretty low for online sales. Indeed, when you look at your site analytics, your percentage of sales versus visitors might be in the single digits.

For our April Maker Meetup, hosted by betsy & iya (former Portland Made director Jim Hassert’s new workplace), Jon MacDonald of The Good schooled attendees on conversion rate optimization, or CRO, something his company has been helping businesses like Adobe, Nike, and Klean Kanteen with for ten years.

CRO workshop
CRO workshop
CRO workshop

MacDonald started with a textbook definition of CRO:

A data-backed system for increasing the percentage of website visitors that convert into customers, or more generally, take any desired action on a webpage.

The first step toward CRO, ostensibly, is finding out what people do on your site before they buy. And MacDonald laid out four key types of data for figuring that out: analytics, heatmaps, user testing, and A/B testing. Most of the meetup was spent on heatmaps, with Hassert volunteering betsy & iya’s website for some workshopping. Using The Good’s eye-tracking technology, MacDonald was able to show us where customers are looking—and not looking—on betsy & iya’s homepage.

From there, he laid out some basic dos and don’ts for website design:

    • Do make your search option conspicuous on your homepage. People who use search have a higher CRO, so the easier it is for them to find that function, the more likely you are to generate sales.
    • Do put your contact information on your main page (ideally, in the lower right corner). It increases trust, thereby making the path to conversion quicker.
    • Do make your call to action eye-catching. Make images clickable, make text links stand out, and make directions clear to shorten paths to conversion.
    • Don’t put too much energy into promotional bars. Although they are increasing in popularity, MacDonald says only one typically yields results: A promise of free shipping. This is most likely because it takes the anxiety out of what a final price might be. Similarly, auto-rotating banners might seem like a great way to cram in more information, but they can be unnerving for visitors to your site.
    • Don’t time your pop-ups to come up immediately when a visitor clicks on your site. “Imagine if an employee [at a store] walked up two seconds in and put a clipboard in your face, asking for your email address,” MacDonald says. It’s probably not going to get the reaction you want. On a related note, don’t use shaming or condescending language on those pop-ups. Messages like, “No thanks. I don’t like to save money.” are a big turn-off to potential customers.
    • Don’t ask for more information than you truly need for a newsletter signup. Name and email should suffice, and the more information you ask for beyond that, the less likely you are to gain their email address.
CRO workshop

MacDonald was great at dispelling some web design myths, and he noted that having a “pretty” site is not the priority; rather, function and simplicity is what matters. He then turned to offering his services to makers with a desire to optimize their own websites before adjourning into a formal farewell to Jim Hassert by new director Meghan Sinnott. Attendees stayed after to browse the betsy & iya workshop and chat with MacDonald, Hassert, and their fellow makers.

CRO workshop
CRO workshop

On deck– Join us for May’s Maker Meetup on intellectual property and how to cover your assets. 

Written by: Katey Trnka  //  Photography: Sarah Toor



Host: betsy & iya

Speaker: Jon MacDonald, The Good
Sponsor: MadeHere

Portland Made Branding

More and more consumers are valuing independently made, locally sourced goods. Let customers know you are Portland Made by branding your website and product packaging.


Portland brands


Designed for more established businesses who want their products seen and their story told, our Growth Membership offers the greatest online exposure, including products, related content, and links directing consumers back to your website. Showcase your products in our online Shop, include your photo in our Featured Maker Gallery, and add your logo to our Brand Gallery. Your Featured Bio tells your story, has a slider of your brand images, and highlights any related blog posts and products you may have on Share your news, events, and product releases in our blog, newsletter and social media channels.


Our Startup Membership includes a one on one session to check in about your business and get some free feedback to remove obstacles and/or develop your business. It includes your logo in our Brand Gallery, as well as your brand’s Bio Page, where others can see a brief overview of your business, and a link to your website, Etsy shop or Instagram account. Looking to show off your products or for added services? See our Growth Membership, and/or optional add-on services.


It all starts with an idea. This stage of membership is designed for those who have an inkling for what they want to do, but may be hazy on the details. Maybe you want to connect with other makers, or you need product photos or a business consultation to help get you to the next level.

Brand Bio

When visitors click on your logo in the Brand Gallery they are taken to your Brand Bio page. This page includes your logo, a product photo, brand story, and link back to your website or shop page.

Portland maker Membership

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This monthly, one-of-a kind networking event is FREE for members; $15 for non-members. Crafted to be the most useful hour and half a maker can spend on their business each month, this event aims to: expose makers to new workshops, connect makers with each other, and learn from experts.

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Connect with talented professional service providers and subcontractors, offering the range of services small businesses need to thrive. Our online Resources page highlights those we recommend and trust.

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Add your logo to the collective’s Brand Gallery. Visitors can peruse brands by category, and click to see your Brand Bio page (for Startup tier), or Featured Bio page (Growth tier).

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For makers looking for greater exposure, your Featured Brand Bio includes your logo, a slider of images, your brand story, and link back to your website or online shop. As well, this featured page showcases products you have in Portland Made’s online Shop and any related Journal posts you may have on our site.

Visitors can navigate to your Featured Bio from the Brand Gallery and, for those with a professional photo included in Featured Makers, from this gallery as well.

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Add your maker photo to our Featured Makers gallery. The most prominent page in the Discovery menu, this gallery highlights you as a Portland maker, shows your business name when hovering on your photo, and clicks through to your Featured Bio page where visitors can get an in depth look at your business and visit your personal website.

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Complimentary Business Consultation

Meet for a one on one business consultation to assess the health of your business and identify areas for improvement. 

Jim Hassert, Portland

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Show off your goods! This page is where consumers can see your goods in more detail. It includes a photo, description, and prominent link to your site where they can buy directly from you.

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