WordPress tidy up: spring-cleaning with perspective

Jan Hornung Last updated on 23.01.2020
9 Min.
WordPress  aufräumen
Last updated on 23.01.2020

Digital spring-cleaning is usually about making them site faster, safer and leaner. Old Pluginsones Themesare deleted, the database is optimised and the old ones are cleared site out. But you should never lose sight of the big picture. Because such a spring-cleaning is the perfect opportunity to optimize your own page concept and drive up the conversions.

Everybody knows this situation: Images from old blog posts, deactivated plugins and themes and other data garbage hide away in your WordPress backend. At first sight, this doesn't really bother anybody, but in the long run it slows down your site. slow and insecure.

Spring-cleaning campaigns, such as that of Michelle from Hootprooffrom David from fastwp or even whole Workshops to clean up of WordPress , so make a lot of sense. Because lean sites tends to be faster and safer.

And such actions provide you with the perfect opportunity to explore and critically question the basic concept and mechanisms of yourssite . And this is exactly what I am advocating today: tidying WordPress up is important, but you should also not lose sight of the big picture, your side concept!

With layout, text and pricing, you can quickly increase the conversions of yoursites

Especially if your website does not exist since yesterday, some sites people may not have seen an update for a long time or lead a rather stepmotherly existence. A spring cleaning with perspective starts right here and asks among other things:

  • Does everything correspond to the current standards in web design?
  • Are there new marketing insights that can be implemented or tested?
  • Is mine site quick and easy to read and does it fulfill its intended purpose as well as it could?

The answers to these questions are not so easy. That's why I show you today three points where you can start to critically question your site concept.

Three areas are particularly interesting. And with all three you can optimize the effect and conversions of yourssites :

Part 1: What reading has to do with layout

What do design, marketing and text have in common? They are based on psychology. Just as our buying behaviour is affected by what music is played in the supermarket, we are subconsciously influenced by web design, layout and text.

A good layout allows us to capture all the relevant information at first glance - so surfing on one site is particularly easy. A bad layout does not necessarily attract our attention as visitors, but the site operator will notice it. For example because nobody downloads his eBook, subscribes to his newsletter or buys his product.

Good and bad layouts differ in one thing above all: the psychology of perception. And if you know the decisive processes, you can use them to your advantage.

And because the arrangement and order of your website elements is reflected in the conversions, people have been orienting themselves to universal patterns of reception for years.

Two particularly important patterns are the F and Z patterns.

The F-Pattern - especially relevant for sites those with a lot of content

In eye-tracking and usability studies, in which the eye movements of the test persons are tracked while reading a website, the so-called F-pattern has been shown repeatedly for years. Users first focus their attention at the top left, look to the right and then let their gaze wander down one level, where the movement from left to right starts again.

WordPress  Clean up F-Pattern
Heat maps from eye-tracking studies have repeatedly confirmed the F-pattern. Like here from Nielsen (2006): F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content.

You can think of it like reading a book: You notice each line from left to right before reading the line below. In fact, the principle is based on what has been read in our culture for centuries. A layout that follows this pattern will be perceived by your users as natural and convenient. They understand it intuitively.

On the Internet, the attention span of users is also particularly short. Therefore contents are scanned vertically downwards starting from the upper left edge and are not read completely (therefore also the F and no E with infinitely many lines).

So, what you're saying is:

  • The most important element belongs in the upper left corner - no matter if it is your logo, your slogan or a countdown to the end of the discount campaign.
  • Particularly relevant page elements also belong on top of the site , for example a prominent Call-to-Action (CTA).
  • In the lower part of the you site should do without text columns and instead use crisp headlines to attract the reader's attention in a targeted manner and to arouse interest when scanning.

In practice, this layout has proven itself for content-heavy sites pages, such as the start pages of blogs.

The Z-Pattern - especially important for landing pages

The assumption of the Z-pattern is that users fly over the website in a Z-shaped movement: The gaze first moves up on the site horizontal from left to right, then moves diagonally down to the left and from there again horizontally to the right.

WordPress  Clean up Z-Pattern

Since the eye is caught here at fewer points than with the F-pattern, this layout is usually used for more minimalist sites ones with less content, whose central point is the CTA. It is therefore also effective for shorter landing pages.

Incidentally, resourceful marketers often link it to the well-known AIDA principle (attention, interest, desire, action):

  • Attention: At the first focus point the attention is attracted.
  • Interest: On the second, the interest increased.
  • Desire: On the third there is an irresistible offer.
  • Action: Last but not least, the CTA follows at the right margin.

In the middle - where the view moves diagonally from point 2 to 3 - you can place large, effective images to keep your users' attention at a high level.


Q or Z: What is the point?

Even if I just told you nothing new and you already knew these principles: A critical review of your layout makes sense. Getting inspired by tried and tested layouts and reception patterns can have an impact on your conversions.

This is because your users will judge your content positively if they can consume it without too much effort. Well-known patterns minimize the effort for the user considerably. This is because they correspond to the cognitive processes that are already taking place in them anyway. Meanwhile, you direct their attention exactly where you want it: to call-to-action.

Part 2: Text and typography - without them everything is nothing

Web design consists of 95 percent typography - Oliver Reichenstein, 2006

So you can imagine that if 95 percent of your conversion rate is site unusable, it will have a massive impact on your conversion rate. For example, because the font is hard to read, the line spacing is too small or the text is simply too small.

What I want to say is: Text is important. And typography should therefore not be neglected.

Especially if your website is text-heavy, it makes sense to critically examine the typeface. Can your users even read the content that you have elaborately produced?

To this day, in addition to font size and line spacing, the question of whether fonts with or without serifs are easier to read on the screen is regularly discussed in this context.

Classically, sans serif fonts are used on the network. This is because they are still easy to read even at low screen resolutions. That may have been important in the past. Today, however, the screens, especially on mobile devices, are so high resolution that the argument of screen-friendliness is probably not valid.

The trend is towards serifs

By the way, the debate on serif fonts is also strongly fuelled by research results. In a Study by Google and IBM it turned out that the participants could read a serif font almost 8 percent faster than a sans serif font. Although this was not a statistically significant result. Nevertheless, a psychological effect plays a role in serif typefaces: Already years ago, in a older studiesthat the participants felt that they could read serif typefaces faster and more effectively.

Serif fonts are therefore easier and faster to read. And they tire the eye of the reader less. This also allows the comfortable reading of longer texts. Serifs also contribute to better line formation. On them the eye glides through the text as if on rails. In this way, serif fonts anticipate the scan-like reading mode of the online reader and make it easier to skim.

Conclusion: Serif fonts are perceived positively by the users. The web designers also notice this: In a Survey of 50 highly respected website managers - including the New York Times, the Financial Times and Zeit.de - showed that the trend is increasingly towards serif type. Over 61 percent of the media surveyed now use serif fonts.

Above is a sans serif typeface, in the middle is a variant with bold serifs, and below is the classic example of a serif typeface. The guideline for the eye quickly becomes apparent here: our brain expands the finely tapered serifs and thus creates a virtual guideline for reading.

By the way, you can see more and more often the combination of sans serif fonts for headlines and serif fonts for body text. This makes the headings more noticeable when scanning.

Besides serifs, there are other factors that influence the legibility of onesite . These include white space, i.e. the entirety of the empty space in a layout. In combination with generous white space, serif typefaces stand out even more. The focus is then clearly on your content. And the reader will experience a text-centered reception.

Part 3: The psychology of prices - even the smallest changes can have an effect

Changes in layout and text are of course quite complex to implement. It is easier to deal with the own price overview. Because with the smallest changes you can achieve enormous effects. So if you tidy WordPress up, you should definitely also analyze your price display.

From a conversion point of view, the plan - or price page is the most important site one for most website operators - a critical view and a revision make a lot of sense.

The exciting thing about it: Instead of having to adjust the prices themselves, it is worthwhile simply changing the order of the price overview. And all this only because the human brain is again searching for patterns to orient itself by.

In the middle lies the power

The first psychological principle that becomes important in this context is the aversion to the cheapest product - also called tendency towards the middle. Whether it is because you infer quality from price or because no one wants to appear stingy: the fact is that people seldom choose the cheapest price. Experiments have shown that of three price options, the middle one is chosen most frequently. Here the best price-performance ratio is probably assumed.


It's all in the order

The second psychological principle that influences the perception of prices is order. If the prices are sorted from the cheapest to the most expensive price, the entrepreneur makes on average slightly less turnover than if the highest prices are at the top of the list.

This is because the customer uses the first price he sees as a reference value. All other, lower prices are therefore perceived as a tendency to get a good deal. If, on the other hand, the lowest price comes first, all other prices appear disproportionately high in comparison.


People are also concerned about minimising losses. With a price list that starts at the lowest price, the perceived loss is obviously financial: the more expensive the offer I ultimately buy, the more money I lose compared to the lowest price. On the other hand, in a price list that starts with the highest price, the perceived loss is quality: the less I pay, the more likely I am to lose product quality compared to the most expensive product.

So if you put the highest price first, the perception of the customers changes dramatically. And you increase the probability that customers will choose more expensive products. After all, who would voluntarily do without quality 😉

So for you:

  1. Offer your customers multiple pricing options and make sure that the most profitable product is in the middle of the price table. The easiest way to do this is with an odd number of prizes.
  2. Sort your price list from highest to lowest price

Of course, these are only two of Dozens of pricing strategies. However, these two are particularly quick and easy to implement as part of a WordPress clean-up operation. See it as a starting point for further exploration of your pricing, as this topic has the potential to significantly influence your conversions.

Provided, of course, that you measures the results right.

Important: Do not forget to measure!

Now I have made some suggestions how you can give your visitors a better site experience. But whether these measures result in a higher conversion rate, you have to systematically record and evaluate. In other words: You have to capture the status quo before the desired changes are made and look at your conversions again after one to three months.

Conclusion: If spring-cleaning, then also properly

Limit yourself to cleaning up your WordPress site not to make the - undoubtedly important and very effective - technical optimizations. Instead, use the time to site critically review yours on a conceptual level. So you will surely find one or the other set screw you can turn to boost your conversions. It is important to know the status quo and to measure how the behaviour of your users changes after the optimisation measures.

And now: Happy spring cleaning!

RAIDBOXER of the first hour and Head of Support. At Bar- and WordCamps he likes to talk about PageSpeed and website performance. The best way to bribe him is with an espresso - or Bavarian pretzel.

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