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Boost Web sales by increasing your visitor ‘conversion rate’

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When it comes to your Web site, the number of clicks doesn’t matter … it’s all about the sale.

That’s why it’s important to maximize your site’s “conversion rate,” which is the number of Web site visitors who act on an offer (buy a product, etc.) divided by the number of total visitors who see the offer. (Say 1,000 people visited your site in a month and 25 of them bought something; then your conversion rate is 2.5 percent.)

Your ISP may track Web-traffic numbers for you. Software can do it, too. Example: HitBox Professional (www., click on Products).

So, how can you boost your conversion rate and encourage visitors to make that purchase? Here are six tips from small business site

1. Minimize load times. Optimize your Web pages to load quickly. Slowly uploading sites are death to conversion rates. Graphics are the biggest upload killers. Remove any unnecessary images that don’t support your core message.

2. Put your best products up front. Too many clicks = high abandon rates. List “Best sellers” or “Featured products” on your home page.

3. Place important info “above the fold.” The first things visitors see in the top portion of your home page will decide whether they scroll down or go inside.

4. Promote what makes you special. What’s your company going to do to make things better for visitors? Visitors should be able to answer that question within a few seconds of seeing your home page.

5. Plan around “eyeflow.” Studies show that people scan Web pages by first looking at the upper left, then the center of the page and then the left side. The right column (where many ads appear) is a low priority for most Web cruisers.

6. Ask for the order. It’s amazing how many e-commerce sites don’t include “Buy now” or “Add to cart” buttons next to every offering. Everywhere that you feature a product for sale, ask for the order.

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