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Building Traffic

8 Simple Ways to Improve Your Conversion Rate

8 Simple Ways to Improve Your Conversion RateQuestion: How can you double the sales from your website without spending a single dollar more on advertising or marketing?

Answer: Improving your conversion rate with a few simple changes to your landing pages.

We should start with a basic explanation and understanding of conversion rates.  Your website’s “conversion rate” is the percentage of your total visitors that end up buying from you. Conversion rate will depend on a number of different factors, such as what kind of product you are selling, how competitive the industry is, your price point and a variety of other variables. In general, products or services that have lower price points require less “involvement” from the consumer and don’t require much in the way of research or supporting information when people buy them.  These items have considerably less risk associated with their purchase, and consequently will have higher conversion rates.  Products or services that have higher price points require more “involvement” or research and information gathering from the consumer, have considerably more risk associated with their purchase, and consequently, have much lower conversion rates.

Given that rule of thumb for conversion rates, it’s not hard to see the conversion rate for a song on iTunes at $1.49 being considerably higher than the conversion rate for the purchase of an S-550 Mercedes Benz online.

For most websites, a 1-2% conversion rate is considered just about the industry average for most products and services.  For others, a 25% conversion rate is perfectly reasonable because of the type of service or product being offered.  Instead of improving conversion rates, most novice website owners focus initially on driving up their total visitor count.  The logic goes something like this:  If I double my visitor count I could double my sales so that should be the first logical step, right, by getting more visitors?  Many new site owners struggle mightily with increasing their overall traffic, especially early in their website’s lifecycle.  Building traffic for most site owners takes time and patience to achieve.

What if, instead of focusing on building more traffic, you could double your sales from the traffic of your existing customers?  If your conversion rate is now 2%, what if you could lift your conversion rate to 4% and what effect would that have on your total profits?  Doubling your conversion rate from 2% to 4% will double your profits.  Sound interesting now?

If you think that a conversion rate of 4% is too high, take a look at some of the top online conversion rates from December 2008.  The best conversion rate was for ProFlowers.com at 31.1% of sales.

Instead of focusing on generating more traffic, improving the conversion rate on a website from its existing traffic is the surest way to increase sales and profits in the shortest amount of time. There are exceptions to this rule but for sake of our discussion, we’ll assume that your site is not yet attracting a flood of traffic and you’d like to improve your conversion rate.  The good news is that there are a few fairly simple ways to easily improve your conversion rate and overall profits with minimal expense.

Let’s take a look at a few quick and easy ways to improve your conversion rates that you can start on immediately:

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Preparing Your E-Commerce Site Early for the Holidays

During the lazy late summer months, the last thing you might be thinking about is the upcoming holiday season. Yet, the notion of Christmas in the summer time really isn’t that far off base when it comes to your e-commerce shop.Preparing Your E-Commerce Site Early for the Holidays We all know the holiday shopping season can quickly turn chaotic so, particularly if you’re new to the e-commerce game, you need to start preparing yourself and your site for holiday shoppers well in advance of the holidays.

Depending on the size and scope of your site as well as the time you can dedicate to the prep work, you might want to consider starting the preparation in July or August.  The “Back-to-School” rush is usually a good time to start preparing for the holidays.  It might sound crazy to begin prepping your site for the holiday season in the middle of summer, but prepping well in advance is key to success.  The tips that we’re providing below for getting your e-commerce site ready certainly apply to the holiday shopping season but they are also critical to the overall success of your business website no matter what time of year it is.

The one thing that all e-commerce entrepreneurs learn very quickly is that preparing for the holiday season early is the only safe option.

Being unprepared for the holiday rush can destroy your credibility and negatively impact your business for years to come.

Here is a list of our best tips and advice for e-commerce site owners on preparing early for the upcoming holiday season:

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Tips and Advice on Blog Carnivals

Tips and Advice on Blog CarnivalsMost experienced bloggers might already be familiar with the concept of a blog carnival, but for the uninitiated, we’ve put together some tips and advice about blog carnivals, including a description of the blog carnival concept, its history, and how bloggers can benefit from it.  A blog carnival is a unique blogging event designed to share ideas amongst bloggers that have an interest in similar subject matter, say e-commerce, online marketing, personal finance or education.  The carnival is published on a regular basis, often times either weekly or monthly.  Ben Vershbow, Editorial Director for the Institute for the Future of the Book, accurately describes the blog carnival as a “traveling festival of ideas, a party that moves from house to house.”   The carnivals are usually focused on a generalized topic but will often times incorporate more tightly focused sub-topics as well as a “theme” for discussion purposes.

“A blog carnival is like a roving journal, a rotating showcase of interesting writing from around the blogosphere within a particular discipline. Individual bloggers volunteer to host a carnival on their personal blog, acting as chief editor for that edition. It falls to them to collect noteworthy items, and to sort through suggestions from the community, many of which are direct submissions from authors. On the appointed date (carnivals generally keep to a regular schedule) the carnival gets published and the community is treated to a richly annotated feast of new writing in the field,”  Ben Vershbow

The carnival host will post a few words or personal remarks about an article submitted to the site by fellow bloggers and then post a link directly to the article.

Most carnivals have a “hub” site or a centralized location that serves to archive past editions of the carnival as well as a schedule of upcoming carnivals.  The blog posts themselves exist separately from the carnival’s hub on the various blogs that make up that particular blogging community.  The variety of blog carnival topics is vast and covers practically every topic imaginable including personal finance, technology, ecommerce, fitness, science, and business among others.

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How Fresh Content Can Increase Your Website Traffic

Regardless of how fabulous your online store is, there are a few basic things that you can do as a new site owner to ensure regular, consistent traffic to your website.  One of the most well-documented ways to build traffic to your website is to continually provide fresh, new information about your products and services.

Here are five Fresh Content Increases Website Traffic basic ways that you can start with to help build your site traffic with fresh, new content:

  1. Blog Regularly – Using a blog regularly to consistently update your site with fresh content is one of the best ways to give your site’s visitors a reason to come back.  Think of your blog as the door to your retail store where you can stand and greet customers as they come inside.  Blogging also provides the perfect platform to discuss new inventory items you add, upcoming promotional events and sales, and industry trends that your potential customers will care about. The commenting feature that’s standard with blogging platforms such as WordPress or TypePad provides a way to establish trust by opening dialogue with your visitors immediately.When utilized properly, a blog should cross-link to specific items in your web store relevant to the subject you’re writing about and should also link out to some authoritative resources on the subject matter, further benefiting your visitors. A blog can help to boost search engine rankings because, all things being equal, a site that updates more frequently with new content will rank better. Blogging can also be a useful tool in other types of online marketing, such as:
  2. Use Blog Carnivals to Start Building Links – When you have consistently updated content on your blog (which is connected to your store domain and through links from the blog to specific products), you can easily use blog carnivals to increase incoming links and traffic to your site. To find blog carnivals to submit your blog posts to, visit www.blogcarnival.com and search the categories for topics that are related to the information you write about on your blog or the products and services that you promote and sell.Submit links for your blogs to these specific carnivals and if you are included in their published carnival posts, you’ll receive an incoming link to your blog post.  Incoming links from related blogs and websites are great for search engine optimization, but it also means that the people reading the blog containing your blog carnival link will be more likely to visit your site since they are in the same target market as your customers.
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