There are two crucial factors to a successful, income-generating website: traffic and conversions. Obviously, a website that does not get any traffic can't possibly be profitable but on the other hand, all the traffic in the world is no use if the website doesn't convert visitors into buyers. Here are five things you can try on your website in order to boost it's effectiveness.
1. Clear Call to Action
It's absolutely vital to have a clear and strong call to action on your landing page. There should be only one action that the visitor is encouraged to do and it should be placed front and center. As an example, if your site's conversion goal is to get people to subscribe, place be clearly visible subscribe-button and a call to action in a conspicuous area of your landing page. In your call to action, mention at least one good reason why people should subscribe.
2. Test Positioning
For pre-sales and sales, test order-buttons above and below the fold. Often, when people need to be convinced before they are ready to buy, having an order-button too high up on the page can have a negative effect on the conversion rate. Give your visitors the option to order when they are already hungry for the product and not before they've had a chance to make up their minds.
3. Get You Visitors Clicking
Try segment in your content into several pages and test it against a single page style. Getting people to interact (even if it's just clicking on the "next page" link) can often significantly increase conversions. Other forms of interactive (read: clickable) content can have similar effects.
4. Test Different Visual styles
Test different text- and background-colours. Tweak your font and text size and test a few different order-button colours. Just keep testing and you'll often be surprised at how fairly small changes can make a big difference.
5. Subscriptions vs. Sales
Instead of sending visitors directly to the sales-page or your order page, make them sign up to your newsletter first. Sometimes, people are more likely to buy when they have had to "work" for something (submitting e-mail, confirming, waiting for next e-mail etc.). Also, having people on your list gives you a much better chance of making a sale happen, as you have more than one chance to make a pitch.
If there's one common theme among all this it must be: Test, test, test! Make sure that you have a good split-testing script in place, because that can make your life a lot easier. For a free option, you can try Google's website optimizer. Google's option doesn't work particularly well with WordPress sites, but for those you can get a split-testing plugin that also gets the job done.