How to Increase Website Conversion Rates with Derek Halpern

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If you thought my quest to increase my website conversion rate ended with the last post on conversion optimization, you don’t know me really well. I decided to get an extra pair of eyes to take a look at Traffic Generation Cafe and tell me what I was doing wrong and, hopefully, right. And not just ANY pair of eyes mind you, but someone who knows what he is talking about (most of the times) and is not afraid to give it to me straight. DEREK HALPERN. Have you seen yet? You should. It’s one of the fastest growing blogs in blogosphere packed with extremely actionable, no-fluff advice on website conversion and traffic generation.

Increase Website Conversion Rates with Derek Halpern

The video below will walk you through my conversation with Derek and will reveal some of the simplest, yet ingeneous golden nuggets he shared with me. Side note: this was my fist time trying to record a Skype conversion along with screen video. It’s not perfect, so give me a break, will you? Here are some keynotes from the video: 1.   KNOW YOUR CONVERSION GOAL Figure out what you want your readers to do and center your blog around achieving that goal. 2.   MY “WELCOME” PAGE: Redirects any first-time visitor when they land on my home page only (doesn’t affect posts or internal pages). 3.   AFFILIATE MARKETING How to improve my sales funnel? Where are the holes? How to incorporate it into my list building efforts? Additional resource: learn how to find the best affiliate marketing programs that pay to help you determine which products to choose for your site. 4.   PAID ADVERTISING Love it or hate it? Somewhere in-between? Derek doesn’t like it, but he still shares some great tips on how to improve my ad conversions. If you are still considering whether you should start accepting ads on your site, read this post first:

5.    SIDEBAR Is my sidebar on the left just for the heck of it or is there a reason behind it? Remember: always test things on your own site! Derek also thinks my sidebar is too cluttered. 6.   SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES Display all of them or focus on one? Derek thinks just one and I agree. My social network of choice – Google Plus. You should join me on Google+ here: Traffic Generation Cafe on Google Plus If you don’t know much about Google+, I suggest you catch up and use my Google Plus tutorial to learn more about the network. 7.   TRAFFIC CHANNELING Getting traffic to your post pages is great, but it doesn’t do much for your website conversion rates. We need to “channel” that traffic to pages that are built to convert visitors into subscribers. Examples of such pages on TGC:

Website Conversion Rates Marketing Takeaway

Bottom line: watch the video, learn, and IMPLEMENT. And share this post with your social media crown, would you? We don’t want to keep this wonderful info to ourselves…


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  1. Bellaisa

    Great tips from Derek; right from beginning to end. Made me think about my websites and change a few things in them. I always have too much to do after I leave your site! So many changes to do!

    Focusing on my email lists is something that has been playing around in my head a lot lately. The last few days I’ve been running into a lot of ideas for building my list – and I’m getting pretty excited about it.

    BTW, I can’t believe you lost so many twitter visitors! It seems so unfair that you can build up a following like that and then have it ripped away from you. Not cool.

  2. Full of great suggestions for all. I love this type of post because we can learn a lot from others in just quick simple tips. I am saving some points for me. Really informative post, for me.

  3. Your blog came recommended to me from my friend and mentor Larry Rivera. I really enjoyed the back and forth between you and Derek.

    Also got a bunch of great tips that I look forward to implementing on my own blog. I’ll need to go back and watch the video a couple of times. You guys covered a lot of a material in a shot period of time.
    Thanks for the post Anna and Derek

  4. Great post here! I really like the way Derek deals with things around him. What really caught my attention is your statement: “Derek doesn’t like it, but he still shares some great tips on how to improve my ad conversions.” – I’ve known some who are not open of doing other stuffs because of their beliefs or past experiences, yet he had chosen to be unbiased.

  5. This is one of those posts you don’t just read once, but have to save and work through each of the points as it relates to my own site. Thank you for the valuable advice. I’ve bookmarked it into my GTD project file and hope to go through it all within a reasonable time frame ie 2 weeks, but I suspect conversion optimization is one of those things where you’re never done.

  6. Sites with pop ups particularly the ones that cover the entire page and won’t let me continue reading, are sites I tend not to go back to (the one you have up for signing up for email is incredily annoying :)

    Also, from what I read, they turn off more readers than they turn on, so are not beneficial at all, which is why I never use them.

    BTW, Derek Halpern is spot on with a lot of things (not all :), but many)

  7. I hate posts like this, they make me realise how much more work I have to do…. AAAARGGH LOL
    Seriously though, you really hit it out of the park with this one, covering all aspects of conversion in small bite sized (and actionable) chunks.
    I expect nothing less from my local cafe though 😉

  8. I feel so old … after watching this excellent video. Is there any chance of succeeding if one is over, euh 60? Not much chance of ‘sweet-talking’ Derek into a free review, that’s for certain.

    I’m not being really serious – we oldies have other methods. We tend to take the long term view: there may be no instant return on investment … but, hey, we’ll still be around 10 years down the line.

    And my site is selling real estate!

  9. Thanks to both you and Derek for the video. I was able to immediately apply some of the things (and do a little housekeeping for links that were stale). I enjoy his posts at DIY themes on my dashboard.
    I quite understand that Social Media can take up time. I’m working hard to get effective processes with it for myself and my clients.

  10. I like Derek’s hair.

    I have ads on my blog in the sidebar, and I think the idea of selling out inventory before offering more is a great one.

    I’ve decided to keep my prices on ads relatively low and, once my spots are full, start creating a rotating schedule of ads, allowing advertisers to buy more than one rotation if they choose. I figure it helps eliminate barriers to entry. I’ve also given an ad away for free to another blogger I really want to support, since I have inventory right now. Good karma can’t hurt.

    I don’t concentrate at all on list-building, although I know all of the Social Triggers TGC type bloggers recommend it above all else. I want people to buy my book, and then I want them to buy the next one. And I want them to stay on my site, to build pageviews. Maybe list-building isn’t the best goal for a food blogger? Or maybe I’m missing something important?

    Thanks for a great video.


    • Most of your readers won’t buy anything from you the first time around, Nicole.

      They’ll need to see more and more of you and your blog, taste the information you give out, and only then decide that you are worthy of their $20.

      That’s where an email list comes in.

      It allows to capture your readers’ info and by communicating with them periodically, bring them back to your blog – over and over again, build relationships, and yes, sell stuff.

  11. @Anne – ditto what ANA says! Don’t depend on anything!

    Hi Ana!

    Here’s my 2 cents (and change):

    #2 Get rid of that annoying thing! Maybe YOU think it’s only seen by “first time” visitors…

    #5 Your sidebar is fine. I used to have just one, now I have two. I love my blog’s new look. Another blogger told me “unless you have a bunch of crap in your sidbear, don’t listen to everyone else when it comes to your sidebar.”

    Otherwise, Derek’s points are good.

    The one thing that catches my eye when I drop by your site, is “uh-oh, this blogger wants to sell me something” – and if I notice that, I’m sure others do, and maybe even back away when that “first time visitor” screen appears. Tell me, Ana, if someone hops off as soon as they see that, does that still register as a “visit” with your tracker or sitemeter? Just curious!

    Blog On!

    • I did get rid of the welcome plugin, Dave.

      Is that what you were referring to when you talked about bloggers who “want to sell you something” or was it something else.

      Again, usability is all about what your USERS like, not what we like.

      You are my user and I listened to your opinion (and looked at my stats) and made the changes needed to be made.

      Now here’s my opinion of your blog as a USER – two bars make it look too busy; too many things in both bars made me distracted; and the two AdSense blocks above fold made me feel like I am being sold to above all.

      • *chuckle*
        farewell “wlecome”!

        Ana, I was told for sooooo long that my single sidebar was “outdated” and “too busy” – so now there are two – and I’ve noticed may of the most popular blogs and newspaper sites take the 3-column approach.

        I tried an expanded look similar to the one you have here, but I wasn’t pleased with it.

        As for adsense, NOBODY was clicking on it until I added the second block. NOW I get clicks on both boxes. I can’t figure it out either!

  12. Hi Ana,

    I saw that video with you and Derek when you first uploaded and thought it oozed with goodness! I was wondering why I’d seen no promotion for it, but I get it now. :)

    I was wondering if you were concerned at all about the SEO implications of the welcome page since it has much less content. I’m not quite sure how the SE’s would handle/read such a page. Or maybe most of your SE traffic comes from internal pages so that’s not a big deal.

    Great stuff as always.

    • Thanks, Lisa!

      My welcome page is just a page on my blog; it’ll get indexed and never rank for anything, because that’s not the purpose, of course.

      Actually, I found recently that Google doesn’t need much content to rank something.

      Take a look at this: – just a lead capture page on my blog and it ranks for “free seo report”.

      • I didn’t really phrase my question well… at all. LOL

        I realize that you’re not concerned about the SEO of the welcome page itself, but what I meant is what do the SE’s see now when they visit/index your homepage? From a spider standpoint, is the welcome page the new homepage for your site or is the old page that existing visitors see? I guess I don’t know what exactly the engines are indexing now for your homepage content and does it really matter?

        Sorry for the confusion. 😉

  13. Hi Ana,

    This is one of the best posts/interviews I’ve seen in a very long time. I have so much to learn from website conversion, and I haven’t been focusing on it at all, well, I have, but only my gut feeling about what I believe works. Now, I have a much deeper understanding. And, thanks a lot for introducing me to Social Triggers too, looks like an awesome site.

  14. wow, that is some awesome advice, i bet that you are all excited to make the most out of this review. QQ, how much does derek charge for such a review?

  15. Hi Ana
    Further to my last reading of your wonderful information I bought Comment Luv, wonderful & WPSUbscribers and that really sucks and Jenni is not been very helpful. Could you tell me how you got the opt in form at the bottom to work along with the ‘contact me’ form in your sidebar and the cool social media app on the right and the awesome box you use in your blogs. I think these tools will really help my blog, which I’ve just redesigned. Giving you a well deserved plug Help would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks

    • Ana Hoffman

      Sorry to hear you are having trouble with WPSubscribers, Bruce. In my experience, Jenni has always been very helpful.

      All the opt-in boxes you see are designed through Aweber and I simply added the code where I needed them.

      Social media buttons to the right can be set up with Sharebar plugin.

      Thanks for the thumbs up in your post; tried to leave you a comment, but left “too many words in my name” field. Those kind of settings might prevent people from commenting like it did with me.

    • Hey, Bruce, not saying it can compete with Aweber, but there’s a free plugin called Newsletter Signup that let’s you put newsletter signup forms in various places. It works with CommentLuv fairly well. The box below ComLuv on my site offer an example. I know, my socks are on, too.

  16. Ana,

    As always you are giving an honest and open views.

    I’m scared because I have more “stuff” on my sidebar than you. I know this can be an issue with overwhelming my readers. But my target audience is moms and many mom blogs have even more than me. Hence, they are use to seeing a lot in sidebars.

    I have taken some out but like you I need to look more at my inpage analytics to find out what people simply don’t click on.

    I like his view on minimizing all the social networks in my sidebar. But I don’t know about his view on hating it. LOL. I like the idea of a blast.

    My brain is clicking away now. I really want to clean up my blog and may need to do it. Even if I simply do it to speed up my loading.

    Awesome Ana and Derek, thank you!

    • Ana Hoffman

      How about turning from a trend-follower into a trend-setter, Allie?

      I definitely see a few things in your sidebar that can go.

      Also, I’d love to see you make your content area more narrow – it’s easier to read that way.

      • Ana,

        Yes, I am going to CLEAN my blog. heck, I am tired of all the clutter.

        Also, I will take your advice and make my content area smaller. I left it large a long time ago but now that you mention it, I need to shrink it.

        As always, thanks so much for your input.


  17. Awesome tips! You and Dereck are great for sharing such tips with us. A friend of mine once said: adapt, adapt, adapt! I always make changes in my projects, rearrange sections, etc.

  18. The issue of exit traffic on my blog is a major issue. The visitor counts for my blog are great but these visitors leave the site by leaving one comment. I always think what is the reason that keeps these visitors away from starting the conversions. After reading your post I found your post useful to get rid of this issue. I think this will be effective. Thanks Ana!

  19. Hey Ana, I don’t find your sidebar cluttered at all.

    I wonder though, as your content is the most important part of your blog and most people read from left to right whether it would be better to have it on the right?

    It was a great video and Derek has got some nice ideas. Tanks for the opportunity to watch it. It’s always a pleasure dropping in.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Thanks for coming by, Sire.

      To answer your question about the sidebar: I DO want people to pay attention to my sidebar. I know they won’t have any trouble finding my content and that’s not really my main conversion goal for the blog – to get visitors to read my content.

      That’s why I find that my readers are more apt to look at the sidebar if it’s on the left.

      • Yep, I reckon I should have realized that. For me it’s more about the content, which is why people come to my blog in the first place. Of course there are also those who want to take advantage of my dofollow status as well as the link luv from commentluv etc 😉

        I suppose I could always move my sidebars to the left, so easy to do with my Theme but that just wouldn’t look right 😀

  20. Charles Ogwyn

    I really got a lot out of watching Derek’s review of your site. I’m a big fan of testing to see what works and was interested to hear about what you have and are testing on your site.

    From my own experience, I’ve found creating ads around affiliate products to be more profitable than using the ad space for just AdSense.

  21. Hi Ana,

    You mentioned in the video that you used a plugin for your “Welcome” page shown to first time visitors. Would you mind sharing the name of the plugin? Thanks, and great interview BTW!

  22. Adam James

    Ana, thank you so much for sharing this with us, I’ve come across Derek & Social Triggers before, but to see him go through and analyse a site, especially yours was extremely insightful.

    ..And that was just in the first 10-15 minutes that I’ve watched upto, haven’t got chance to watch the last half, but i’m going to bookmark this one for later.

  23. Anna you are doing great. i got the idea…….this is really cool. God bless you. keep rocking. and you are added on Google Circles with me… Check it out. Thanks. see you soon with new post.

  24. Ana, I’m following you on Goolge+ and practically everywhere else, and I also subscribe to your YouTube channel. I was able to see this video within minutes after you uploaded it and I must say it was a treat! I’ve seen Derek do several of these type of blog reviews and I learn something new each time. The key is to take advantage of his valuable tips and you are doing just that. Good for you.

  25. Hey Ana… Incredible video.

    This has to be the second best post on here that I’ve gotten the most out of. Derek’s an Awesome guy. All of the stuff he said I already knew as I’m sure you did too; but I had several realizations.

    Cool stuff.

    • Ohh yeah… One thing he didn’t touch on which I thought I should mention…


      He talked about funneling visitors to the pages that actually make money. Mainly the resource page and capture pages. BUT – from all of my experience the number 1 post/page type that makes the most money has got to be product reviews.

      Write lots of great reviews… find out which ones convert best and use your sidebar to funnel traffic to them. :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      I got a lot of actionable tips from him that I’ve already implemented on my blog, Jamie.

      PS You need to get a gravatar!

  26. Great post, and congrats on the video. You did awesome! I have to look at other ways to make money from my blogs (well, I say ‘other’ as though I am already making money) :-) because my adsense account was banned yesterday. I still don’t know why because I’ve never clicked on my ads or done any of that other stuff.

    I’ve appealed, but who knows what will become of it, right? I was out of my mind yesterday, but I’m learning to accept it and move on now. You’ve got some of the best traffic channelling I’ve seen, Ana!

    • Ana Hoffman

      Sorry to hear that, Anne!

      Once again, goes to show – we can’t depend on a third-party system to make us money…