Free Strategies to Increase Website Conversion and Profitability

What if I told you that your website could start making more profit tomorrow without spending any money today?

You might think you have to spend a lot of money upfront to get valuable leads, but the truth is your current website could perform so much better with just a few low-cost (and even free!) tweaks.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to get more leads, and then convert those leads into paying customers without spending a dime.

We’ll also explore answers to the following questions:

  • What is conversion?
  • How to increase conversion rates?
  • What is website speed optimization?

By the end you’ll learn how a simple method like website speed optimization can help you increase your website conversion rate.

Basically, when you optimize your website in subtle, but powerful ways – say, by increasing loading speeds – you will not only provide your site visitors with a better user experience, but your website will also rank higher in popular search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

Together, this visibility gives you a better chance to connect with the right audience; that is, those who have a problem only you can solve!

Plus, more visitors = more conversions = more sales !

How Website Speed Impacts Conversion Rates

Does your website look amazing, but fails to convert traffic?

Do you get a massive inflow of traffic to your website, yet struggle with high bounce rates and sales?

That’s when most of our clients begin to ask, what is a conversion, and how can I get more of them?

As you likely know, conversions take place when a user takes a desired action. For example, if you have an eCommerce website that sells clothing, a user ‘converts’ when they decide to purchase a product by clicking on the “buy” button.

At The Digital Navigator, for example, we consider website conversions to occur when a user has filled and submitted their contact information. Since we are a service provider, having contact information of a potential prospect is valuable to us.

However, a conversion can also happen when a website visitor…

  • fills out and submits a contact form,
  • makes a call,
  • requests a consultation,
  • or downloads a digital consumable.

It doesn’t exactly matter where in the customer journey the conversion takes place, they are simply the most direct way to gain a valuable lead and turn that lead into a repeat customer.

You Can Increase Conversion Rates with A Faster Website

Kissmetrics has done extensive research on how loading time affects your bottom line.

40% of users abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

By looking at the research, you can see how page speed affects user experience. A slow site can make or break your website.

Here’s what else the numbers have to say:

  • Faster page speed accounts for a better user experience.
  • When you increase page views, you’re going to get more conversions and thus more sales and business revenue.

For instance, if a user is shopping online but has to wait for your webpage and web images to load, you are going to lose that potential conversion which is going to affect your sales negatively.

There is no doubt how a faster website speed can improve conversion for your business, but this is just a small part of how vastly website speed affects your conversion.

The benefit is that when you commit to website speed optimization, you get a better user experience, enhance brand awareness, increase sales, and generally improve your site Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Better User Experience

Users want your website to load faster so they can get what they are looking for in a timely manner. This enhances their user experience as it will allow them to browse your website’s other pages. It also helps them get to know more about your business, products, and services.

Not to mention, a slow loading website is just frustrating and wastes time.

Enhance Brand Awareness

One way to give your competition more business is to have a website that loads like you’re using dial-up internet.

Seriously, you only have a few seconds to make a good first impression when someone visits your website. And while it’s important to have a great looking website, it does little good if your website takes too long to load and users abandon ship.

Slow loading times will leave a negative brand impression and will have people remembering you for all of the wrong reasons. Neil Patel has even proven that a sluggish website is the biggest cause for website users to forego a planned purchase!

Basically, if a potential lead has to wait too long to actually view your site, they will click away and try another option.

For example: say you have a large video that loads at the top of our home page, or you have sliders at the top of your page. These features – though beautiful – can significantly slow down your website. In these cases we recommend alternative work-arounds–i.e. you can use a static image for the initial load, and include the video background afterward.

If, on the other hand, a prospect can come to your website, find what they’re looking for, and get the information they need to make an informed decision all in one place (and quickly), it will positively impact your sales.

In reality, if a buyer is hesitant, every bit of lag could make the difference between whether your site makes its next critical sale.

Improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Online search engines like Google have a list of criteria they are looking for when it comes to search rankings. The more boxes you tick, the higher your website will be ranked.

This strategy weeds out old or irrelevant websites when you make a search query.

As consumers ourselves, most of us also know which sites we click on: those at the top of the list. That’s why you want those top spots: sites that rank higher in the search reach potential customers first.

Here’s proof:

 

The bottom line is: search engines want to cater to their own customer base by listing sites that are fast, relevant, and have good image quality and videos in their search results.

That’s why it’s been said that to rank well on Google for instance, your page has to load fast, since they take into account bounce rates, load speed on desktop, and load speed on mobile when ranking.

As a result (and we often echo this to our clients), when your website speed is at its fastest, users will stay longer, and bounce less.

7 Steps to Optimize Website for Speed

Now that you’ve discovered just how important website loading speed is, let’s talk about how to get a fast loading website and keep your competitive edge on the internet.

Below are 7 simple steps that will help you optimize your website so that you can achieve website conversion best practices.

1. Conduct a website audit

A website audit provides you with a ton of insight about page performance, traffic, and search engine ranking status.

With these insights, you can see where your website is underperforming and what pages are not generating traffic.

The audit should also provide a comprehensive checklist to ensure you get the most out of your website audit. Website speed will be just one of the factors a website audit will measure.

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How to find the right audit tool

Finding a good audit tool will help you diagnose and locate areas of improvement for your website.

The key is to find an audit service that identifies the following:

  • Location of technical problems
  • Page errors
  • Internal and external issues with links and files
  • Underperforming content
  • Evaluation of page issues, including slow load speed and blocked pages

For instance, at The Digital Navigator we use and recommend tools like ahrefs and gtmetrix to create a quick report for our clients for SEO and to manually inspect site code. But hey, if you want our help you can just schedule a consultation right out the gate for an expert take.

2. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Content delivery networks (CDNs) are a group of servers distributed geographically to facilitate fast content delivery online. They are designed to host and deliver copies of your WordPress site’s static and dynamic content to the server closest to the computer of your visitor.

There are several benefits of using CDNs to enhance the speed of your website:

  • Performance boosts: It has been proven time and time again that a faster loading site directly correlates with higher conversion rates, decreased bounce rates, and a longer average visitor duration.
  • Lower costs: since CDNs are an additional resource to support faster content delivery, they can help you reduce your internet’s bandwidth costs. They also prevent traffic from overloading your host, which in turn enhances user experience as your visitors will not experience any lags or slow loading speeds.
  • SEO advantages: since speed is one of the factors Google uses to rank your website, a good CDN helps you with search engine optimization. As your content, images, videos, blogs, and articles load faster, your website will rank higher in search engines results.
  • Increases compatibility within a global market: User experience and speed improve for global audiences with a good CDN. For example if you were serving clients in Australia, Canada, and the United States, without an adequate content delivery network your site would be much slower in one country over the other.

 

Technical Insight from our Team

Another advantage of CDNs is that not all requests need to be processed by the primary website hosting server. For example, if an image is requested 1,000 times by visitors, your CDN may only need to request it 50 times (1 for each of 50 server locations across the CDN) to process all 1,000 requests.

Without a CDN, the host would have to submit and process all 1,000 requests. This clogs up the lanes like a highway. If a website is saturated, without a good CDN everyone on the website will experience lag when your page loads.

When it comes to our work at The Digital Navigator, we use WP Offload Media to send all image files, which results in about ⅓ of the needed requests to Google Cloud Platform storage. What that means is your website hosting server receives zero of those 1000 requests, which are instead sent to storage.

3. Use the latest version of WordPress

If your current website is using an old version of WordPress, you likely have a website that loads slower than necessary. It’s also true that your website could be exposed to some pretty serious vulnerabilities.

Hackers are known to use the double-edged sword of open source software to openly search for vulnerabilities in previous versions of WordPress, and then exploit sites like yours through those versions.

“If, say, a business is behind on a major release or update, it is just a fact that they are exposed. We try to remove the ‘could’ from the equation by using Wordpress, since their updates have security patches built into them. Then, you can invest in other security measures with more peace of mind.”
–Pol Cousineau

Without the latest update, you could potentially reduce the functionality of your website, be targeted by ransomware, have malware that steals your customer’s information, have your website defaced, or even lose your website altogether if there is no backup.

Not having the latest update can also affect your bottom line. That’s because your added plugins – that run everything from animations to schedulers to pop-ups – may not display properly or not work at all. The last thing you want is for someone to want to make a purchase and discover a blank screen.

How do I know if I am running the latest version of Wordpress?

Not sure if you’re running the latest version of WordPress? Click into your admin dashboard to use the following method:

1. Look to the lower right corner of your screen
When you log into WordPress, the version number of any page on your backend appears in the bottom right corner of the screen.

2. Check the ‘At a Glance’ box
On your dashboard homepage, there should be a box titled ‘At a Glance’ which gives you the latest insights on your website’s comments, pages, posts, and the currently installed theme. If you don’t see this box, it may be that you have a custom admin theme, have removed it from your dashboard screen, or are using an old version.

3. Check the ‘Updates’ screen
If you click to Dashboard and then to Updates, you can see immediately whether you need an update. It can also sometimes tell you if you’ve installed the latest version.

4. Hover to the ‘About Wordpress’ screen
If none of those options work, hover over the ‘About WordPress’ logo in the top left corner of your screen, then select the first dropdown button. You’ll see the version number of your last update, and can determine via quick google search if that’s the latest version available.

5. Watch for ‘nags’
WordPress is pretty good about reminding you to update to the latest version whenever you explore the backend of your website. Look for that message to appear, and follow the instructions from there.

Depending on how your website is configured, we always recommend you consult a professional to perform the update so that your whole site functions properly. This ensures direct access to all the safeguards that keep you safe in the face of storage and functionality losses–which are a rare, but potential risk.

4. Locate the First Contentful Paint (FCP) Score

Your site’s First Contentful Paint (FCP) score is an important metric that measures the time it takes for a page to load, from when the page starts to load to when any part of the page’s content appears or is rendered on the screen.

The main benefit of a great FCP score is that you can decrease bounce rates while improving conversion rates. You also get to make a better brand impression, while improving website reliability.

What is a good FCP score?

A good FCP score would be under one second for simple websites, and about 1.5 seconds or less for sites with advanced functionalities or designs. 1.8 is the general industry standard, but a truly bad score would be anything above three seconds.

To measure your FCP score, feel free to use popular tools such as:

  • Gtmetrix
  • Chrome User Experience Report
  • Search Console (Speed Report)
  • Lighthouse
  • Chrome DevTools

You can also use PageSpeed Insights, but be wary. Our clients will come to us complaining about eight-second page speed, when a more reliable tool like Gtmetrix will read one second. We’ve seen wild variances between tests, so we caution our clients to stay away from this tool.

How do I increase my FCP score?

We use Wordpress at The Digital Navigator since it gives our team simple tools to improve FCP scores for our clients to:

  1. Reduce server response times
  2. Eliminate render-blocking resources
  3. Improve client-side rendering
  4. Speed up lazy-loading images through compression

Our methods involve having a good host, and eliminating render-blocking resources–but if that’s altogether too technical for your time, we can take care of it for you.

What if I run paid ads?

When we look at the numbers from Kissmetric, running paid ads on websites like Google, LinkedIn or Facebook have a massive impact on conversions–by something lik 10% to 25%. That’s because FCP scores are accumulated at the moment users see your content or interact with your page.

5. Optimize images and videos

Websites nowadays are rich in multimedia content with images, videos, animations, and GIFs. Although multimedia content is used to engage website visitors, a high amount of content can have adverse effects on your website.

Images often account for most of the downloaded bytes on a website. As a result, optimizing website images can have long term benefits for your website. For instance, you will notice performance improvements, and faster browsing and loading speeds.

To enhance image load speeds, choose the right format for your images. We use sites like Riot Optimizer to manually resize and compress images.

“Compressing images is super important. That means resizing images and encoding them into smaller formats. Some clients come to us with 5MB image backgrounds at the top of their page, which can turn into 200KB through compression, all without quality loss. This can have a huge impact on loading speed.”
–Pol Cousineau

Here are just a few other file format tips you should be aware of so you can use the right file type to optimize your website:

  • .JPG is much smaller than .PNG for online images, and this conversion is a common area of optimization for website speed
  • .GIFs should be avoided, and if needed should involve a limited number of frames
  • You can’t have transparent backgrounds on .JPG files
  • Most images should be under 100KB, while larger more complex images should be 300KB or less.

6. Reduce Update Page Redirects

When you move or delete pages on your website, you want your visitors to reach the latest version of your new pages.

A redirect is therefore what occurs when someone inadvertently lands on a page that is no longer live, and is redirected to the newer version. A redirect happens automatically, and sends your website visitors to the new location as opposed to an error page.

What are the pros and cons of page redirects?

While redirects are a good thing because they keep people from seeing blank pages, they can also be problematic. The actual process of redirecting website users can cause your pages to load slower than they should. Redirects ultimately hinder the performance of your website and increase bounce rates.

In essence, multiple redirects mean that your website visitors have to go through different connections before they are directed to their desired location on your website. Worst of all, because of the slow loading time, your search engine rankings will suffer too.

To avoid or reduce redirects, we keep a close eye on sitemap updates and the organizational structure of your website.

What is the main cause of page redirects?

How often do you type ‘www.’ when you visit a website these days, or send links to friends with ‘https://’ attached? What about when you add internal links between content pages, what link format do you use?

Each of these are primary causes for page redirects, and is based on the difference between your original site name and the name potential leads type to find you.

4 ways to reduce page redirects

  1. Never link to a page that you know has a redirect on it. It will only lead to multiple redirects and a very frustrated visitor. Instead link to the final destination URL.
  2. Plugins can result in unnecessary redirects, so make sure to clear out any plugins that you don’t really need.
  3. Regularly scan your website for old redirects that lead to pages you deleted a long time ago. This is a good practice after switching hosting providers or making large content changes to your website.
  4. If you’re a WordPress user, try the Redirection plugin for alerts on new redirects, 404 errors, and any loose ends that you’re not aware of.

7. Reduce server response time

Server response time is the time that passes between a client requesting a page in a browser and a server responding to that request. When you reduce server response time, you also improve page load times.

Server response times also influence search engine optimization and the overall user experience. Here are some of the ways we recommend you reduce server response time, but don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you prefer a more automatic route to response time improvements.

Choose The Right Host And Server

When you choose the right host and server, you can accommodate more visitors and users on your website without overwhelming your chosen platform.

This way, you will be able to improve conversions because you can handle more users, provide them with a great experience, and make their time on your website worthwhile.

Keep WordPress lightweight

There is no doubt in our minds that WordPress has impressive options for different types of clients. WordPress.org is one of the best hosting platforms for self-service businesses, while Wordpress.com is a website development platform with a built-in CMS you can use for your website.

In the end though, we use WordPress.com to build all our client websites. In fact, it already powers about 43% of the web, while allowing you to create beautiful websites with endlessly customizable themes and plugins.

However, when you overload your website with themes and plugins, although it may look good, you often end up slowing down your website’s response time.

That’s why we advise sticking to simple and lightweight templates unless you’re a developer or have access to one.

More importantly though, make sure every template you use is optimized for speed. For instance, themes like ‘Divi’ by Elegant have a ton of usable speed optimizations!

How to Increase Website Conversion Rates with an Optimized Website

“I can get traffic to my website but I’m not making those conversions. What can I do to get sales?”

We hear this all the time. If you get plenty of web visitors, but nobody seems to stay very long, click a link, or make any purchases, it’s time to make a few adjustments.

The first thing we recommend for a business owner who wants more website conversions is to optimize their website for good web traffic, high conversion rates, and overall usability.

Not only does an optimized website help you rank your website higher in search engines, but it also acts as a driving force to bring traffic to your website. It’s an online marketing strategy that attracts all types of businesses because it’s so effective at bringing in results.

We therefore suggest using the following five steps as a guide for how to optimize your website to improve conversions:

1. Use effective headlines

Since headlines are the first thing a visitor sees when they come across on your website, you want to make sure your titles pique the curiosity of visitors, usually by answering a question or solving a problem.

For instance, on our website the main headline is “Digital Marketing Services to Drive Sales”. Right away we’re informing visitors about what we do and tell them how we can help increase sales overall.

With headlines, simple and to the point is the name of the game.

2. Keep navigation easy

Website organization is a significant aspect of improving your website conversions.

More visitors will stay and explore your website if your website navigation is simple and easily understandable. If it’s not clear where to click to purchase, get more information, or there are too many confusing options, web visitors will just close the screen.

3. Improve page load speed

We’ve touched on this subject before, but it bears repeating here.

We’ve all felt that frustration when a website’s page takes ages to load. Whether you’re looking for images, store hours, or signing up for a webinar, nobody really wants to wait. Most likely, you are going to lose your patience and close the website and move on to another one.

Seems everyone expects things to load in a blink of an eye, and if it doesn’t, the first thing we do is hit that back button. In simpler terms, the faster your website is, generally, your website conversion rate will follow suit.

4. Optimize for Mobile

Mobile phones are the most widely used device that customers use to browse online.

Whether for leisure, news, shopping, or watching videos, when your website is not optimized for mobile, it’s possible that a large chunk of your website visitors will never see your website on their desktop.

If you don’t currently have a responsive website on a mobile device, and don’t know where to start, we recommend looking into how you can utilize a mobile plugin.

We of course recommend Wordpress for its mobile optimization and mobile plugins, but if you aren’t looking to do the job on your own, we’re here to help.

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5. Add Testimonials, Reviews, and Case Studies

Even though you may have a convincing website with great products and services, website visitors may still hesitate to make the final decision. Displaying client testimonials and reviews is a great way to build trust in your product to make the sale!

In addition, it shows the authenticity and reliability of your products and services, which influences casual visitors to become long-time clients.

There is no doubt that with website optimization, you can skyrocket your sales and business processes.

What are the benefits of optimization for more website conversions?

When you optimize your website to increase conversion rates, you also increase traffic, improve your brand’s reputation, and get a better understanding of your customers and audience.

1. Increase traffic

Website optimization enables your website to generate traffic, which allows your business to earn more profits as a result of that increase.

2. Improve brand reputation

Having an optimized website means everything works like it should and website users appreciate that. And improved online reputation means more trust and more traffic flow which will lead to more sales. In addition, this allows you to have an edge over your competitors.

3. Get a better understanding of your customers

This is especially true for eCommerce businesses, but it is vitally important to understand your customers. Having an understanding of their needs will not only allow you to fulfill them but also tell your users how you provide simple solutions to their problems.

For example, we know our customers want simple, affordable digital marketing and web development solutions that don’t require a ton of technical know-how. We often use that to drive our website and content designs, so they can successfully build and expand their online business.

How to Increase Your Search Engine Visibility with a Fast Website

We’ve talked a lot about how speed affects your customer’s experience and how increasing your website load speed can help your website conversion rate from the customer’s perspective; but there’s another reason speed is important: search engine visibility.

Search engine optimization (or search engine visibility) refers to how search engines find your website within particular search criteria. Obviously, the more often search engines suggest your website in a given search – and the higher up your website is within that search – the better the chance there is for someone to click on that result and visit your site.

Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing do however look for a particular set of criteria to rank your website on their search results pages.

For example, search engines evaluate website load speeds. The slower your website, the lower you’ll rank in search results.

How does website speed impact SEO?

If someone doesn’t see your website listed in the first few search results are they even going to be able to find you at all? How many times have you personally bothered to see results past the first page?

Website speed influences your search engine optimization (SEO) in two main ways, which in turn affects your search engine visibility:

Rank
Since website speed is a ranking factor for Google, ensuring that your website has a fast loading speed will help your site rank higher than similar slower websites.

Bounce Rate
If your website takes ages to load, then there is a high possibility that you will be losing potential customers. If a large number of visitors enter your website but leave shortly, this is also called bounce rate. Google will demote any website with a high bounce rate.

Focus your conversion optimizations and get great returns

If you don’t have time to go through a laundry list of improvements for your underperforming website, consider focusing on just one of the search engine optimizations we listed above, such as speed or mobile-friendliness, to get the greatest impact.

As you make other improvements within your website, by using effective headlines, simplified navigation, and mobile responsiveness, you’re inevitably going to see your site rank higher in search engines, which will lead to increased conversion rates.

Best of all, these improvements don’t have to cost anything!

The reality is that you can improve your website’s SEO and get your website seen by more people almost overnight when your website loads smoothly, is fast, and gives trustworthy information all in one place.

As a result, potential and existing clients will be more likely to submit their information, download a digital consumable, or make a purchase.

That’s how you, by simply making a few improvements to your website, can start to see a more effective and profitable outcome for all your business dealings online!

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