Getting thousands of visitors to your website is great; however, in the end, it is all about generating conversions. What's the use in spending your hard-earned online marketing dollars to send a lot of traffic to your site if no one buys or signs up for anything?

According to research performed by Econsultancy, for every $92 spent on acquiring traffic, only $1 is spent on trying to convert it.

Fortunately, you can perform seven simple tasks that can have a drastic impact on improving your website conversion rates.

  1. Make your benefits stand out (unique value proposition).

Let the consumer know the benefits your product or service offers that others do not. It's important to make this stand out on your homepage as well as on some of your landing pages. Examples include free shipping, 24/7 customer support, 10 percent off all orders, etc. This is a tactic often called "unique value proposition," because you're highlighting something that makes your business different (or unique).

  1. Incorporate one or more credibility markers.

Credibility markers include testimonials, reviews, and badges on your site, but they can go further with things such as money-back guarantees, clear privacy policies, and even memberships to the BBB or other local organizations. Having these indicators on your site lets visitors know that your business can be trusted.

Specifically, when you're working with testimonials or creating a section of logos of companies in which you've been published or mentioned, it's especially important to try to feature influencers in your industry. If people recognize anything on your website that they already trust, then they will be more likely to trust you and therefore more likely to convert.

  1. Have a clear call to actions.

To put it simply, you should make it blatantly obvious what you want your users to do on your site. If your conversion goal is to obtain website visitors' contact info as a lead, then it is important to present that submission or contact form in a way in which the visitors can find it clearly, without your being too obnoxious about it. If your goal is to generate sales on the website, make it as simple as possible for visitors to locate what they are looking for as they navigate your website.

  1. Have a quick conversion process.

This is one of the more overlooked ideas, but it's one of the simplest. Make it as easy as possible for users to complete the conversion. If we are talking about sales, make the checkout process as streamlined as possible. If we are talking about lead submits, then ask for as little information as possible. Website visitors are much more likely to enter their name and email address if they don't have to navigate through a dozen input fields.

  1. Improve and test website headlines.

The main headline is often the first impression your reader has of your website. This is your chance to have someone stay on the site or bounce out. Try a headline for a few weeks and then test with a different hook to see if you get any change in the conversion rate. It's as simple as that.

  1. Add video.

According to DigitalSherpa, 80 percent of your online visitors will watch a video while only 20 percent will actually read content in its entirety. In other words, video engages users and makes them stay on your page longer. The longer someone stays on your page and you have him or her hooked with your content, the better the chance that the person will convert. The worst thing for conversion rates is a high bounce rate, so keeping people on your page is key. The content of your video, in addition, has to be high quality--this is your chance to really sell them.

  1. Ensure fast load times.

Nothing will make a user leave your website quicker than a slow website load time. Your page load times have a dramatic effect on your website conversions--even the difference of a second or two can make or break your conversion rate. According to Kissmetrics, a one-second delay in page response can result in a 7 percent reduction in conversions. The moral of the story: Make sure your pages load as quickly as possible for optimal website conversion rates.

The Takeaway

Remember what your ultimate goal is and try to entice your visitors to accomplish that goal. Conversion rate optimization is all about testing what is working and what is not, and the tips above are great places to start the testing process. It's safe to say that in the majority of situations these tips will improve your conversions, but it's up to you how much.

Published on: Aug 5, 2014
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.