Website conversion: what is it and how to increase it?

You can have such an attractive website, but it really stands or falls with pages that are designed to convert. Website conversion means nothing more than an identifiable action on your website that you want a visitor to perform. Think for example of how often a contact form is filled out, the number of orders in a webshop or a purchased service. Each of these actions contributes to gaining more sales. 

Conversion Rate

The number of website conversions is often expressed as a conversion rate, also known as conversion ratio. This is the number of percent of visitors who made a completed conversion. For example, if in a month you attracted 200 visitors to your website and 8 of them filled out a contact form, the conversion rate is 4%. 

The average conversion rate has been dangling between 3 and 4 percent for years. So you don’t have to worry if only one of 20 visitors makes a purchase. That is still a conversion rate of 5%! It is also useful to calculate how much a conversion potentially brings in. Suppose one or 5% of those 20 visitors earns $200, then 1% earns $40. Now you have performance results to benchmark with and compare them to your competitors and the standard in your industry. 

Examples of website conversions 

A website conversion has many forms and does not always have to be about a “sale”. This means that identifying website conversions is not only interesting for web shops. Some examples of website conversions are:

  • Filling out a contact form
  • Viewing a certain page or a number of pages
  • Buying a product or service 
  • Contacting a customer by phone 
  • Requesting a tender

What the value of these conversions is differs per website. For example, a foundation that primarily wants to provide information, the number of views of a particular page is an important conversion goal. But for a website that wants to make sales, the number of products or services sold is a more important conversion target.

Distinction between hard and soft website conversions

In addition to different conversions, a distinction is also made between soft and hard conversions: 

  • A hard conversion often leads directly to an increase in sales. Examples are the sale of a certain product or a visitor who requests a quotation. 
  • A soft conversion does not directly lead to an increase in sales, but it does contribute to it indirectly. It is a catalyst for a hard conversion. Examples include viewing a particular page or calling or filling out a contact form for more information.  

Most websites do well to consider both hard and soft conversions. A good balance of these two ensures a positive customer journey. If a website has few soft conversion paths, there is a good chance it is trying to sell in a too direct manner. This can scare off a visitor. If, on the other hand, products or services are offered in too indirect a manner, it is unclear what is expected of the visitor. 

Measuring website conversion

Since conversions say a lot about how your website is performing, it is not a bad idea to measure the number and types of conversions. The most widely used tool for this is Google Analytics, which is also available for free. With this tool you can measure for example:

  • Where a visitor comes from 
  • How a visitor ended up on your website (organic, paid, social media, email or direct traffic)
  • What a certain social or ads campaign has yielded and what the costs were 
  • Which pages are viewed the most/least and what their session length was
  • How many visitors have been on your website in a month 

To use Google Analytics you need to create a free account and place a code in the header of your website. To specifically measure conversions, so-called goals need to be created. 

Two other useful tools for measuring conversions are Hotjar and Google Tag Manager

Hotjar is a heat mapping tool for your website. By help of the tool, different sessions are measured within a certain time frame to generate visual reports. These results show how users navigate your website. In other words, what they look at, click on and scroll to. 

Google Tag Manager allows you to place so-called tags on your website that are “fired” by triggers. These allow you to measure specific conversions such as a call to action button or a submitted contact form. 

Website conversion optimization

Website conversion optimization means nothing more than trying to achieve even more conversions on your website with the aim of increasing sales. Actually, this is an ongoing process of measuring, analyzing the results and prioritizing actions based on these results. 

In any case, the most important thing is to identify which parts of your website need improvement. Based on this, campaigns can be set up to optimize website conversion. For example:

  • The relevance of your products/services
    Before you start optimizing your website conversion, it is important to take a helicopter view of your business. On a strategic level, look at what your business actually adds to the world and what your usp’s are compared to the competition.
  • Usp’s
    If you have come up with strong usp’s then you should definitely not hesitate to include them on your website. Let the visitor know what makes your business unique and what you have that the competition does not have.
  • Make it clear at a glance what you offer
    The most important principle for webshop conversion optimization is that visitors generally have a short attention span. So make sure that visitors can immediately find what they have in mind.
  • Increase your customers’ trust
    One way to create a bond of trust with your customers is by clearly indicating what happens to their data, especially their payment details. Also give your webshop’s privacy policy a prominent place. An SSL certificate can also help to gain trust.
  • Social proof
    By adding customer reviews and testimonials to your website, you show the quality of your products or services and visitors are more likely to buy something.
  • Optimize the loading time of your website
    If your website takes longer than a few seconds to load, chances are your visitors have already left. Modern people are very impatient and we cannot emphasize enough to maximize your website loading speed.
  • Get a better position in Google
    You can do this in two ways, with Google Adwords (SEA) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In other words, the paid and organic way.
  • Make your design responsive
    Take mobile traffic into account in particular because many websites currently receive more than half of their search traffic from mobile phones. Hence, always test your website on mobile phones and make it mobile friendly.

WordPress speed optimization: 6 trics for a speedy website

WordPress speed optimization is a must for any website owner or marketer. If your WordPress website does not load fast enough, visitors will leave as quickly as they came in. Concretely speaking, this means that your website should load within 2 seconds. We can already hear you thinking, “really, that fast?”. Yes, the attention span of the modern internet user is short. Very short. 

Also for search engines like Google a fast website is an important parameter for a seamless user experience. If your website does not meet the speed requirements then it is more likely to rank lower in the search engines. A lower ranking means less traffic. And less traffic means, you guessed it, less sales. 

Fortunately, there are several techniques you can employ to optimize your WordPress website speed. This article lists and describes these tricks so you can get started right after! We also tell you our three favorite WordPress plugins for speed optimization. 

How fast is your WordPress website? 

Before we present the best practices of WordPress speed optimization, it might be nice to know how fast your WordPress is. This is easy to test by using some speed/user experience tools. 

There are several free tools you can use to get an indication of your website speed. The ones we often use ourselves are: Google pagespeed Insights, GTmetrix and Pindom

All these tools do essentially the same thing: they give you the status quo of your website speed and tips on how to improve it. It is wise to run these tests on multiple devices because the scores are influenced by your physical location and speed of your internet connection, among other things. 

Other factors that influence the tests are:

  • The size of a specific page;
  • How many requests the page generates at a given time;
  • Whether the page is cached or not;
  • And finally, what kind of content (static or dynamic) the page contains.

Often the homepage of a website is used to benchmark speed, as this is usually the largest and heaviest page. In the example below, where the tool Google Pagespeed Insights is used, this is also the case. 

wordpress speed optimization

This custom made WordPress website passed with flying colors. But how does this score come to be so positive? We will answer that question in the next section. 

What factors can optimize the speed of your WordPress website? 

Now it’s time to tell you how to boost your WordPress website speed: 

WordPress speed optimization trick 1: pick a fast and solid WordPress hoster

WordPress Hosting has a big impact on how fast your website is. If your website is running on a server that is slow to respond, then there is little point in starting to optimize your website. That’s why hosting is also seen as the foundation for WordPress speed optimization 

If you choose a fast WordPress hosting, your website will have more hosting capacity and you will notice that almost immediately in the loading time. Two hosters we have very positive experiences with are Kinsta and SiteGround. Both are very good and score excellent on speed, support and security.

WordPress speed optimization trick 2: use a lightweight WordPress theme

WordPress themes with lots of dynamic elements like sliders, widgets, moving icons are attractive to the eye. But remember this: too much of a good thing will drastically lower your website speed. Therefore, it is wise to use a lightweight theme.

The only problem is that there are thousands of WordPress themes to choose from. So When picking a theme, you can look out for the following to seperate the wheat from the chaff: 

  • The number of downloads
  • Positive reviews (extra tip: read reviews through to the end)
  • No superfluous functionalities and a compact code
  • Relevance (is the theme still updated?) and support (do they have a ticket system and/or a helpdesk)

We recommend the themes Astra and OceanWP. Both are outstanding lightwieght WordPress themes and very user friendly. 

If you don’t want to change from theme, use a plugin like WProcket that optimizes your website codes.

WordPress speed optimization trick 3: resize images

Most websites are full of images. This often also means that images are the cause of a significant portion of the loading time. Therefore, we recommend testing the loading time of your website thoroughly and to reduce the size of unnecessarily large images to the actual size. 

WordPress already helps by saving each image you upload in different formats. You can further reduce and scale images in the WordPress media library, but also – if you are handy – on your own computer before uploading. You can use any image editor that exists; from Photoshop to Paint.

When you have set the format of your images correctly, there is a second optimization possible for the loading time of your images: compression. This means that the images are “packed” as best as possible into small packages, without losing too much quality. In this way you can quickly save several megabytes on dozens of images.

Fortunately, it is possible to use plugins that compress images for you. Two plugins that we definitely would recommend: WPsmush and Imagify.

WordPress speed optimization trick 4: loading static content externally with a CDN

Normally, images and scripts are loaded from your own server. A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is an external hosting party that copies and offers all your static content (images, PDFs, videos, but also scripts that rarely change). 

When a visitor visits your website, the dynamic content (the code of your website that changes per request) is still delivered by your own server, but all static content can be retrieved from somewhere else.

Because the requests of a visitor are spread over two servers, the load per server is lightened and a request can be handled faster. This improves your website speed. Cloudflare is an excellent CDN and is among one of the most popular in the world.

WordPress speed optimization trick 5: use caching

A cache makes your website faster by preventing the web server from having to load the same page over and over again. The website will load faster on your next visit because the browser has already saved it, so to speak. It is very easy to set up caching. If you have a WordPress website, you can do this using the plugins WP Rocket and W3 Total Cache.

WordPress speed optimization trick 6: website maintenance

The final point for website speed optimization is maintaining your WordPress environment. Many website owners neglect this task which makes their website slower and sometimes even let it crash. Therefore, always make sure that your theme, plugins, WordPress and PHP version are up to date. Also try to remove all plugins you no longer use, they take up unnecessary space and slow down your website speed.

Our top 3 plugins for WordPress speed optimization

To conclude this article, we finally present three more plugins that can help you make your website faster. These plugins have already been briefly mentioned above, but we’d like to pay a little extra attention to them.


WProcket is an all-in-one tool for optimizing the speed of your WordPress website. With this plugin you can not only combine and compress scripts, but also empty your cache. It can also help you remove and/or move render blocking resources. You do have to pay for this plugin, but it is certainly worth the investment if you are looking for a quick way to boost your website speed.


Cloudflare is a CDN that makes your website faster and more secure. CloudFlare does this by capturing all your website traffic on their own faster servers. Indirectly, they get all the necessary information from your website. This way, your own server is protected from overloading. 

Some hosters like Kinsta already have a standard integration with Cloudflare, so always check this before downloading the plugin. 

WP Smush 

WP Smush is a best-of-class plugin for optimizing images. With this plugin you can compress and optimize images without losing quality. Hence, very useful if you want your website to be fast but at the same time look attractive. WP Smush also allows you to ‘lazy load’ images that are out of focus when opening the page. You can also optimize 50 images with just one click of a button. 

WP Smush has a free and a paid version. The free version will get you a long way but if you are looking for something more serious like image backups, image optimization above 5MB and optimization of more than 50 images then it is a good idea to upgrade to the premium version. 

The best WordPress plugins of 2021: our top 7

The beautiful thing of WordPress is that there is a plugin for almost every problem imaginable. But with thousands of plugins available, it can be hard to figure out which one you need.

  • For example, there are numerous plugins that secure your website and ensure that spam is warded off
  • There are several plugins that can help you SEO-proof your WordPress website
  • There are also plugins that can add pop-ups, sliders, forms and cookies to your WordPress website.

In short, a lot is possible and this creates overchoice. Fortunately you do not have to download every plugin available. Because every plugin takes up space and makes your WordPress website slower. And this has a big impact on your SEO. Therefore, you need to be frugal and critical when picking plugins. Hence, a statement that is very applicable to plugins: less is more.

Of course this does not mean that you should not download any plugins at all. How much a plugin slows down your WordPress website depends on the plugin itself. A plugin that adds a form to your website is usually a lot less slowing down than a plugin that integrates various webshop functionalities.

To get you started, we have listed our top 7 plugins below. The nice thing is that these plugins are not slowing down your WordPress website and certainly are a must-have for every WordPress website owner.

The best WordPress SEO plugin: Yoast SEO

SEO plugins are specialized in making your WordPress website rank higher in Google. There are many good SEO plugins available such as All in One SEO and All-In-One SEO Pack. Yet one plugin in particular stands out and that is Yoast SEO.

Why? Because of its many features. Of course it allows you to customize your titles and meta descriptions per page. But you can also have the title and description tag generated automatically for all pages. Moreover you can adjust URL-structures and the plugin has a tool for making your texts SEO-proof.

The plugin also generates sitemaps, has a link to Google Webmasters and allows you to configure your permalinks. In short, exactly what you need for the search engine optimization of your WordPress website!

The best WordPress redirect plugin: Redirection

Redirection does an excellent job in coordinating the 301 redirects on your website. As a result, this prevents 404 errors.

As soon as you change the permalink of a page/post, this plugin automatically creates a 301 redirect, which is placed in the .htaccess file. This is ideal if you are less technical and don’t know how to place a 301 redirect in your .htaccess file yourself.

The best anti-spam and security WordPress plugin: Akismet

Because 40% of all websites run on WordPress, it is an enticing target for hackers and spammers around the world. Not one WordPress website owner is waiting for spam responses under articles about soccer or cryptocurrency.

Fortunately, through a security plugin, you can nip most spam in the bud. Akismet is the mother of all security plugins for securing your WordPress website and reducing spam responses. It was developed by the company Automattic and has been around since 2005.

However, you do need an API key to use this plugin. Fortunately, the API key is available for free and for non-commercial use.

The best WordPress speed plugin: WProcket

WProcket is an all-in-one tool for optimizing the speed of your WordPress website. With this plugin you can not only combine and compress scripts, but also empty your cache. It can also help you remove and/or move render blocking resources. This plugin is not downloadable for free, but it is certainly worth the investment.

The best WordPress form plugin: Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms allows you to create forms. The plugin offers great flexibility to build complex forms. And with it you can greatly improve your landing pages and calls to action on your website. It is even possible to use the plugin to sell products. In our opinion, if you take your WordPress website a bit seriously, you can’t do without this plugin.

The best WordPress multilingual plugin: WPML

Building a multilingual website is always tricky. Often you mistake how much time it takes. So for us as a company, it’s clearly a detriment. However, since we purchased the plugin WPML (a while back), building multilingual websites has become much easier. WPML is very flexible and stable when it comes to translating pages, menus, widgets, themes, plugins, etc. And it is also very user friendly. We can’t imagine building another multilingual website in WordPress without WPML.

The best WordPress analytics plugin: Monster Insights

The second plugin developed by Yoast SEO that we recommend is MonsterInsights. This plugin allows you to configure your Google Analytics code in an advanced way, allowing you to measure in Google Analytics in an even more targeted manner. A must-have for marketers and website owners engaged in website optimization.

Not found what you are looking for?

Is the plugin for your specific solution not listed? Then take a look at the very comprehensive article from our hosting partner Kinsta. They have over 50 valuable WordPress plugins that can help you improve your WordPress website.