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How to Boost Your Conversion Rate

Lily O'Halloran

A spectacular website may look great, but looking good is only half the battle when it comes to conversion. Turning site visitors into customers takes more than a pretty picture. What’s more important that a great looking website? A well-designed one that entices your customers to find out more, assists them in their buying decisions, and leads them through a seamless sales process. A well-designed website boosts conversion rates and increases revenue.

Follow this five-step plan to increase the effectiveness of your website and boost your conversion rate.

1. Optimize web pages for quick loading time.

Web users expect sites to load quickly. Don’t drive potential customers away by assuming that they will stick around for your website to load slowly. If visitors have to wait even three seconds for your website to load, many will head to a competitor’s site instead. Although the consequences are grave, there is no need to fret; optimizing your website is easier than you think.

Optimizing each web page for a quick loading time is crucial to the well-being of your business and the conversion rate. This three-step solution will have your pages loading faster and attracting more attention. Each step reduces loading time, thus skipping any step reduces the benefits you will gain from completing the entire solution.

The first step to reducing page load time is writing clean, correct code. Sloppy code bogs down loading time. Clean code is easier to work with and is no harder to write than sloppy code. Get in the habit of coding web pages correctly. Not sure if your code is up to standard? Use a free online program to validate your code, or brush up your coding skills with online tutorials. There are numerous free resources on the web that can be found with a simple Google search.

The second step to optimizing your pages is to reduce the file size of all graphics. Reduce files as much as possible without reducing the quality of the file too much. You may have to play around with sizes and resolutions to decide what size works best for your needs. Once again, there are many freeware applications online that you can use for your web graphic needs.

The third step to optimizing pages is to use the height and width attributes of the image tag. Browsers load pages faster when they are able to allocate space for images before the images load; therefore, using these important attributes enables the whole page to load in less time.

2. Write attention-grabbing headlines to pique curiosity.

Use eye-catching headlines to grab your reader’s attention. A great headline not only pulls your reader in, it offers a hint of what type of information and benefits can be found on your web page.

Headlines should be formatted well and include at least one benefit. Let’s look at two example headlines to determine which is more effective.

“Discover the secret serum that celebrities use to erase wrinkles overnight!”

“Moisturizers, cleansers, and other skincare items”

The first headline is entices the reader to want more information. It piques curiosity by mentioning both a secret and celebrities. The headline also presents a benefit: erase wrinkles overnight.

On the other hand, the second headline is boring. Sure, it mentions skincare items. That could be what a customer is looking for, but how many millions of websites sell skincare? What makes that headline stand out from the masses? Nothing.

An effective headline pulls your visitor in right away. Be sure to write compelling sales copy that boasts the benefits of your products. Your sales copy is your salesperson. Put that copy to work.

3. Create a sleek, professional website design.

Professional website designs generally incorporate black text on a white background with minimal background colors – often in a neutral shade. Why? Because study after study proves that this particular combination leads to the highest conversion rate. Conservative color schemes with a minimal number of colors – around three, create a professional design.

Don’t fall into the amateur trap by using flashy colors, designs, prints, and crazy graphics. Avoid bold colors, clashing color schemes, and busy background prints. Customers won’t take your website seriously, if you don’t. For the same reason avoid unnecessary animated graphics, distracting videos, and sound clips. Remember the phrase less is more? It’s true to a point.

4. Write web-sized, short paragraphs.

Web users have a short attention span while reading online. Small paragraphs work best for holding readers’ attention. Just as brief paragraphs are essential, so is the horizontal length of a paragraph. For example, a block of text that is contained in ½ (or less) of the length across a computer screen is much easier to read than text that flows across the entire length of the screen; this is especially true when you consider the number of users with wide-screen monitors. Short paragraphs enable readers to absorb information quickly.

Lengthy blocks of text deter many readers. Long paragraphs often cause readers to either click-away from the site or skim the text. The text that readers skim-over could be the most important section of your sales copy. Err on the safe side by keeping text blocks brief; include as much information as necessary, but break down text blocks into manageable, easy-to-read sizes to obtain the best results.

5. Stream-line the buying process.

A crucial part of the selling process is creating an easy-to-use, efficient checkout process. What exactly does that mean? The checkout process should be as simple as possible; therefore, it should only require customer information that is absolutely necessary.

A quick checkout option that enables customers to check out without creating a username, password, and email account is useful for guests that value their privacy. Requiring too much information can be a deterrent to many customers. Collecting email addresses and creating user accounts is obviously great for business, but may not be the best idea to mandate. Don’t discount the practice altogether; rather, offer customers an incentive to create an account. Simple rewards, such as a discount on a future purchase, are often enough to encourage most customers to create an opt-in account. An opt-in email account enables you to stay in touch with your customers and offer them rewards for remaining loyal customers.

Ensure that your checkout process is simple and secure. Most customers are aware of the importance of checking out with a secure process. A secure checkout benefits both customers and you. Secure transactions deter fraudulent activity.

Streamline your checkout process to encourage quick checkouts. Long, complicated processes lead to frustrated customers who give up and shop elsewhere. Easy checkouts lead to happy, satisfied customers. Positive experiences lead to loyal customers and increased conversion rates, which lead to increased revenue for you.

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