Clean upWordPress : Spring cleaning with perspective

Jan Hornung Last updated 23.01.2020
9 Min.
WordPress  clean up
Last updated 23.01.2020

Digital spring cleaning is usually about making site faster, more secure and leaner. Old Plugins and Themes are deleted, the database is optimised and site is cleared out. But you should never lose sight of the big picture. Because such a spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to optimize your own site concept and to increase conversions.

Who doesn't know this: images from old blog posts, deactivated Plugins and Themes and other data garbage vegetate in the backend. In principle, this doesn't bother anyone in everyday business, but in the long run it makes your site slow and insecure.

Spring cleaning campaigns, like the one by Michelle from Hootproof, by David from fastwp or even whole tidying workshops from WordPress , so make a lot of sense. Because lean sites tends to be faster and more secure.

And such actions provide you with the perfect opportunity to deal with the basic concept and mechanisms of your site and to critically question them. And that's exactly what I'm advocating today: cleaning up WordPress is important, but you shouldn't lose sight of the big picture, your site concept!

With layout, text and price design you can increase the conversions of your sites especially fast.

Especially if your website hasn't been around for just yesterday, some sites may not have seen an update in a while or lead a rather stepmotherly existence. A spring cleaning with perspective starts exactly here and asks among other things:

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

The answer to these questions is not so easy. That's why today I'll show you three points where you can start to critically question your page concept.

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

Part 1: What reading has to do with layouting

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

A good layout allows us to grasp all relevant information at first glance - surfing on site is therefore particularly easy. A bad layout is not necessarily noticeable to us as visitors, but the site operator will notice it. For example, because no one downloads his eBook, subscribes to his newsletter or buys his product.

Good and bad layout 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 has an impact on conversions, universal reception patterns have been used for years.

Two particularly important patterns are the F and Z patterns.

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

In eye-tracking and usability studies, in which the eye movements of test subjects are tracked while reading a web page, the so-called F-pattern has been shown again and again for years. Users first focus their attention on the upper 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
Heatmaps from eye-tracking studies have been able to confirm the F-pattern time and again. Like here from Nielsen (2006): F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content.

You can think of it as reading a book: you perceive each line from left to right before reading the line below. In fact, the principle is based on how people have been reading in our culture for centuries. A layout that follows this pattern is perceived by your users as natural and comfortable. They understand it intuitively.

In addition, the attention span of users on the Internet is particularly short. Therefore, content is scanned vertically from the upper left edge downwards and not read completely (hence the F and not an E with an infinite number of strokes).

That means you:

  • The most important element belongs at the top left - whether that's your logo, your slogan, or a countdown to the end of the discount promotion.
  • Particularly relevant page elements also belong at the top of site , for example a prominent call-to-action (CTA).
  • At the bottom of site , you should avoid columns of text and instead rely on snappy headlines to specifically grab the reader's attention and pique their interest when scanning.

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

The Z pattern - especially important for landing pages

The assumption of the Z-pattern is that users skim the web page in a Z-shaped movement: The gaze first moves horizontally from left to right at the top of site , then moves diagonally to the bottom left and from there horizontally to the right again.

WordPress  clean up Z-Pattern

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

By the way, resourceful marketers often couple it with the well-known AIDA principle(attention, interest, desire, action):

  • Attention: Attention is attracted at the first focal point.
  • Interest: On the second the interest increased.
  • Desire: On the third, an irresistible offer beckons.
  • Action: Last but not least is the CTA on the right side of the page.

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

wordpress_cleanup_z_pattern_aida

F or Z: What's the point?

Even if I haven't just told you anything 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 with as little effort as possible. Known patterns minimize the effort for the users considerably. Because they correspond to the cognitive processes that are already taking place in them. And meanwhile, you direct their attention precisely where you want it: to the call-to-action.

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

Web design is 95 percent typography - Oliver Reichenstein, 2006

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

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

Especially if your website is text-heavy, it makes sense to critically question 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 web. This is because they are still legible even at low screen resolutions. That may have been important in the past. Today, however, screens, also and especially on mobile devices, are so high-resolution that the argument of screen-friendliness should be considered invalid.

The trend is towards serifs

By the way, the debate about serif fonts is also fuelled by research results. In a study by Google and IBM, it was found that participants could read a serif font almost 8 percent faster than a sans-serif font. This was not a statistically significant result. Nevertheless, a psychological effect plays a role in serif fonts: Years ago, an older series of studies showed that participants felt they could read serif fonts faster and more effectively.

Serif fonts are therefore perceived to read faster and better. And they tire the reader's eye less. As a result, they also allow longer texts to be read comfortably. Serifs also contribute to better line formation. 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 simplify skimming.

Conclusion: Serif fonts are perceived positively by users. Web designers are also noticing this: 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 fonts. Over 61 percent of the media surveyed now use serif fonts.

wordpress_clear_up_writing
Above a sans serif font, in the middle a variant with bold serifs and below the classic example of a serif font. The guiding line for the eye quickly becomes apparent here: our brain expands the finely tapered serifs, creating virtual guides for reading.

By the way, you see more and more the combination of sans serif fonts for headlines and serif fonts for body text. This makes the headlines stand out more when scanned.

Besides serifs, there are other factors that influence the readability of a site . These include white space, which is the total amount of empty space in a layout. In combination with generous white space, serif fonts stand out even more. The focus is then clearly on your content. And the reader's reception is text-centered.

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

Changes in the 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 already achieve enormous effects. When you clean up WordPress , you should definitely also analyze your price display.

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

The exciting thing about it: Instead of screwing with the prices themselves, it's worth simply changing the order of the price overview. And all this only because the human brain is once again looking for patterns to orient itself on.

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 the tendency towards the middle. Whether this is because people infer quality from price or because no one wants to appear stingy, the fact is that people rarely choose the cheapest price. Experiments showed that of three price options, the middle one is chosen most often. This is probably where the best price-performance ratio is assumed to be.

wordpress_cleanup_tendency_towards_the_centre

The order makes the difference

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

This is because the customer uses the first price they see as a reference value. So all other, lower prices tend to be perceived as a good deal. If, on the other hand, the lowest price is in first place, all other prices seem disproportionately high in comparison.

wordpress_clean_up_order

Moreover, people are concerned with minimizing losses. With a price list that starts at the lowest price, the perceived loss is obviously financial: the more expensive the offer I end up buying, the more money I lose compared to the lowest price. In contrast, with a price list that starts at the highest price, the perceived loss is quality: the less I pay, the more likely I am to make a loss in product quality compared to the most expensive product.

So if you put the highest price first, the customer's perception changes dramatically. And you increase the likelihood that customers will choose more expensive products. After all, who would want to voluntarily give up quality 😉 ...

So for you, that means:

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

Of course, these are just two of dozens of pricing strategies. However, these two are particularly quick and easy to implement as part of a WordPress cleanup. Think of it as the start of a further examination of your pricing, because this topic has the potential to significantly influence your conversions.

Assuming, of course, you measure the results correctly.

Important: Do not forget to measure!

Now I've given you some suggestions on how you can deliver a better site experience to your visitors. But whether these measures result in a higher conversion rate, you must of course systematically record and evaluate. In other words, you need to record the status quo before making the desired changes and look at your conversions again after one to three months.

Conclusion: If spring cleaning is to be done, then it should be done properly.

When cleaning up your WordPress site , don't limit yourself to making the - undoubtedly important and very effective - technical optimizations. Instead, use the time to critically review your site on a conceptual level. This way, you are sure to find one or two screws you can turn to increase your conversions. It is important to know the status quo and to measure how the behavior of your users changes after the optimization measures.

Now: Happy spring cleaning!

RAIDBOXER from the very start and our Head of Support. He loves talking about PageSpeed and website performance at BarCamps and WordCamps. The best way to bribe him is with an espresso – or a Bavarian pretzel.

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