Conversions are everything, whether you’re building a full-time business through your website, promoting affiliate products, or trying to gain loyal fans.

Conversions are where your visitors engage with you and have the opportunity to become customers, fans, or perhaps just a little more interested in your brand.

Being successful online requires generating conversions, however, not all conversions are sales.

Sometimes conversions are video views, clicks, email opens, email signups, or feedback.

No matter what kind of conversions you’re after, there are some things that will kill your efforts.

Some of these things aren’t obvious at first, so here’s a detailed look at 9 of the most common ways people unintentionally kill their conversions.

1. Publishing too much information

There is such a thing as too much information when it comes to website content.

You definitely want to include enough information for your visitors to understand where they are and what your website has to offer.

However, too much information can be detrimental to conversions because it’s overwhelming.

Website visitors want information quickly and without having to work hard to get that information.

If visitors have to work hard to understand what your website is about, they’ll bounce.

Visitors want to see the most important bits of information the second they land on your site.

This means your headlines need to be clear and your body text needs to be concise.

Nobody is going to read through several paragraphs of rambling words to try to figure out what’s going on.

If someone came for something specific, that information needs to be perceived immediately. The faster your visitors can get what they came for, the more likely they are to convert.

2. Poor navigation menus

Poor navigation menus

Navigation menus are part of your site’s critical infrastructure.

If there’s anything wrong with your navigation, it can hurt your conversions.

For instance, say your visitors land on the correct page, but before they convert, they start exploring your site.

After a few minutes, they decide they want to go back to the page they landed on, but they can’t find their way back.

A disorganized menu can also make it hard for you to get website conversions that would otherwise come naturally.

For example, say you have an online store with a variety of products.

Visitors that land on informational pages may want to explore your shop, but if they can’t find the link to your shop in your menu, they won’t know you have a store.

If you have an online store, make sure you put the link in your main menu.

Make it impossible for visitors to miss. If your audience is targeted, you’ll generate sales on your website from people who casually browse your site.

3. Bad stock images

Nothing kills the perceived quality of a website, and therefore kills conversions, like bad stock images. Most of the time, even decent stock images make websites look cheap, as if the creator couldn’t spend twenty bucks on a unique image. Bad stock photos are even worse.

If you’re trying to improve conversions, bad stock photos will make your site look cheap.

When people think a website is cheap, they’re less likely to take it seriously, which includes shying away from purchases and signing up for email lists.

To avoid ending up with this dilemma, only use high-quality stock photos.

While you might be able to find some good images on free websites, it’s unlikely. Go straight to the stock photo sites that charge money for using their images.

Paid stock photo sites tend to offer better quality images from professional photographers and other artists. Those free stock photo sites just don’t compare. Considering the fact that high-quality images can make your site look more trustworthy, it’s a worthwhile expense.

4. Out-of-place videos

videos achieve higher ROI

According to data published by HubSpot, 87% of marketers say videos help them achieve a higher design ROI. Although this statistic is encouraging, there is a time and a place for videos on each website. Just because videos increase ROI doesn’t mean you’ll get the same results by embedding videos on all of your web pages.

There are several reasons videos can seem out of place. The most common is inserting a video that makes page elements overlap. Overlapping elements make a web page look like a jumbled mess. If this happens, people will perceive your site as spammy and bounce.

Another problem is when a video isn’t important enough to be the main attraction, yet it’s what people see first on a page. In this case, a video will become a distraction. For example, say you have a wonderful sales page designed to get people to buy your product. A video at the top of that sales page can actually kill your conversions if the video content isn’t relevant to making the sale.

Another way videos get in the way is by presenting content that is irrelevant to the goals of that particular page. As a general rule, if a video doesn’t directly influence the conversions you’re after, it’s in the way.

5. No call-to-action (CTA)

Not having a direct and specific call-to-action is perhaps the biggest reason a webpage lacks conversions. You can’t expect all of your visitors to convert on their own. People need to be nudged, directed, and commanded to make a purchase and/or take a specific action.

If you don’t have a CTA because you’re afraid to ask for the sale, start thinking differently. Provided your sales funnel has been nurturing your leads as best as possible, directly asking for the sale can generate massive conversions when done properly.

Not sure how to ask for the sale? This detailed guide will walk you through the process with a handful of options. It’s really not that hard, but how you ask for the sale should always depend on where your visitors are coming from and what they’re looking for when they visit your site.

6. Focusing 100% on content for users

There are two main camps in the search engine optimization (SEO) world. Those who prioritize writing for humans and those who prioritize writing for search engines. Neither camp has it completely right – both are equally important and the better option is in the middle.

You probably know that writing only for search engines is a bad idea because it doesn’t make a user-friendly website. However, if you lean toward writing strictly for your users, you’re leaning too far in the opposite direction.

Writing content just for visitors sounds great, but it’s not going to get you the traffic you need to increase conversions. Content written just for visitors isn’t necessarily going to rank in the search engines, which means less traffic and therefore fewer conversions.

There are very specific things you need to do in order to optimize your webpages for search engines. If you omit these things, your traffic will suffer and therefore your conversions will sink.

Adopt a stance of creating your content for visitors and search engines in balance. However, don’t compromise where it counts most in either direction. For instance, if you feel the need to add elements to a page that make it hard to navigate, don’t. Likewise, if you feel the need to optimize your content for certain keywords that don’t blend in naturally, don’t.

When you can’t make something work, find the middle ground. For example, when you want to optimize your content for keywords that don’t fit naturally, create new content that specifically allows for the natural use of those keywords.

You’ll probably find that you’ll need to create multiple pieces of content to discuss a broad subject in order to cover all the long tail keywords naturally. That’s great because search engines love websites with plenty of content.

7. Not presenting customers with upsells

60%-70% chance of selling to an existing customer

Getting the initial sale is great, but if you’re not presenting customers with upsells, you’re losing out on more conversions. Existing customers are easier to sell than new customers, and that includes people in the process of checking out for the first time.

According to statistics, you have a 60%-70% chance of selling to an existing customer compared to the 5-20% of selling to a new prospect.

Most people avoid presenting upsells to customers for the same reason they don’t ask for the sale – they think it’s too intrusive. The truth is, the effectiveness of asking for the sale extends to upsells. There are plenty of businesses that generate extra cash from upsells and the companies that present upsells aggressively during the checkout process get more sales.

Start presenting upsells to your customers during the checkout process. If you use a content management system like Shopify, it’s easy to upsell with an app.

8. Trying to make your email signup forms too convenient

There is a fine line between creating a convenient experience for visitors and sacrificing the details that matter. For instance, you may have eliminated some of the questions on your email sign up form, thinking that will make signing up more enticing. This works to get subscribers, but there is a cost.

For example, you lose the ability to disqualify your leads and segment them systematically for future emails. If you’re working in a professional capacity or running a business that deals in large purchases, this will work against you. You don’t want your sales team to chase leads that aren’t qualified at a basic level.

Short signup forms aren’t automatically better than long signup forms. Depending on what you’re selling, you might need to ask detailed questions to know if a lead is worth pursuing.

9. Optimizing your website wrong

Optimizing your website wrong

There’s an interesting statistic floating around that says 63% of marketers optimize their website based on their intuition rather than proven optimization methods. For instance, rather than split testing their pages to find out which content is helping and/or hurting conversions, they make changes based on what feels or looks good.

Having a great-looking website is fantastic, but it’s not enough to guarantee conversions. Without real data to back your decisions, you’ll never know which page elements are hurting or helping your conversions. You might even change the page elements that support conversions without knowing.

There is only one way to get the data you need to improve your conversions and that is through split testing. For the most part, this will involve split testing your homepage and your PPC ad landing pages at the very least.

Do you need help with conversions? We can help!

Are you struggling to improve your conversions? There’s more to conversions than you might think, and it all begins with your website’s design.

Whether you’re in ecommerce, running a blog, or selling professional services, your website design directly influences your conversions. If you don’t have a beautiful website, you’ll struggle to compete in your industry. That’s where we can help. If you know your site could use a change, contact us today and we’ll help you get the beautiful site you need to start boosting your conversions.

Timothy Carter
Chief Revenue Officer

Timothy Carter is the Chief Revenue Officer. Tim leads all revenue-generation activities for website design and web development activities. He has helped to scale sales teams with the right mix of hustle and finesse. Based in Seattle, Washington, Tim enjoys spending time in Hawaii with family and playing disc golf.

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