5 Mistakes That Kill Website Conversions

web-sales-funnelYour website sucks.

Ok, maybe it doesn't totally suck, but from a conversion standpoint it does.

Most business owners dream of a website that drives sales, either on their website or in their stores.  Unfortunately the majority of business owners are left with a website that acts as more of an online brochure than a sales machine.

Why is that?

The first tragic mistake business owners make is thinking of their website as an afterthought.  They'll spend 150k building out their new storefront and then try and cheap out by either building a website themselves or finding the cheapest web developer they can find to do the job.

Pat yourself on the back, you saved a thousand bucks on your website and lost the 100+K in sales your website could have given you if you did it right the first time.

You have to spend some time and money in order to get a properly working website.  You also need to either hire a copywriter or find someone who's a great writer to help you craft your message.  Bad copy is unconvincing, uninspiring and sometimes just plain silly.  And it won't convert.

When it comes to turning visitors into leads, you have to give people a clear path to conversion.  You also have to reassure them along the way that they're making the right decision.  That decision may be filling out a contact form, leaving their email address or calling you.

If you want to turn your brochure website into one that converts, you first have to understand the elements needed to get people to take action on your website.  Below are 5 common conversion killers that I see all the time on business websites I work on.

When you're done, take a look at your own site and where you can start to make conversion improvements.

Missing Value Proposition

When people land on your website, the first thing they should see is your value proposition.  What is that exactly?  It's your reason that the person on your website should choose you over a competitor.  The mortgage website below has some good calls to action, a “Get This Rate” button and a contact form right at the top of the site.  What's missing is the value proposition that reassures a visitor that it's ok to take the next step.  You need to deliver that perceived value the minute they land on your website, or you'll most likely lose them, probably to a competitor.


Learn more about value propositions here

Lacks Clarity

All I can say is, WTF?  What would you say is the one action this gate and fence website wants its visitors to take?  This is a pointless homepage.  It looks terrible, reads terrible and has no point except to make people cross-eyed trying to figure out what to do next.  Before you spend a dime on your website, be very clear what action you want people to take when they are there.  Once you've determined that, you can know design every aspect of your website with that in mind.  Start with the end goal first and then work backwards when it comes to building your website.  Remember, you need to give you visitors a clear path to conversion.


Learn more about message clarity here.

Copy Is Terrible

In case you can't read it. “Mississauga real estate agents Darlene & Wayne Foster apply one of the most advanced home selling systems in the Mississauga area real estate market. Selling residential, condominium, multi family and investment property. Searching for Mississauga MLS® listings, relocation services and a referral service for relocation are also a value added for the buyer or seller moving in or out of the Mississauga area real estate market.”

This real estate website copy started out as some sort of value proposition and then took a left turn into some seriously bad SEO keyword stuffing.  Makes no sense, inspires no one to take action and just looks foolish.  This is what happens when you let a “marketing company” take control of your brand.  The most important thing on a page are the words on it.  It's the words that sell.  Invest in good words.

Bad real-estate-copy

Learn more about effective website copywriting here

Use Of Image Sliders

Image sliders, they're all the rave in website design and everyone loves them.  Only problem?  Terrible when it comes to conversion.  Study after study shows people don't click on them, they can't remember the rotating messages sliding in front of them, and they take up the valuable, “above the fold” part of your website where you should be putting your best value propositions.  This pool website looks great, but has 5 rotating images, all with different offers.  Sounds like a great idea to cram as much as you can into a single space by using a slider, but you're better off using static images and great copy to deliver your most important messages.


Learn more about why image sliders are bad for conversions

Lacks Credibility

Great, somebody has made it to your website and is interested.  They want to know more, so they look for signs of credibility and trust.  They go to your About Us page, because that's where people go when they want to learn more about you and your business.  And this is what they get…

“……are a carefully selected group of people who have a distinct passion for craftsmanship and integrity. These experienced builders will use a variety of textures, colours and styles to create the aquatic environment of your dreams….”

A carefully selected group of people?  If you read the rest, it basically doesn't say anything about the company, just a lot of superficial fluff.  Good pool website that lacks credibility and trust signals.  Your About Us page, Contact Us page, Testimonial page are all prime opportunities to build on the credibility of your value proposition.  These are all supporting pages that will help you seal the deal when it comes to a visitor contemplating whether or not to reach out to you.  Unfortunately, most business owners (and web designers) think of them as filler pages and create filler content that does nothing to help with conversions.  Look for opportunities to increase you “Web Cred” by examining and refining the supporting pages on your website.


Learn more about building your credibility here

In Summary….

If you want your website to become a sales workhorse for you, you'll have to spend some time and money.  Don't cheap out and expect miracles.  Clarity in your messaging and design trumps any kind of fancy stuff.  The words on the page are the #1 factor in getting people to take action.  People should know right away the value you can give them.  If you want people to take action, you have to ask them and make it easy for them.  Know what you want your website to do for you and design it that way.

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CEO at 3Bug Media
Gary Shouldis is the founder of 3Bug Media, a web marketing company that helps businesses create 360 Marketing Strategies to dominate their market. His blog is read by over 20 thousand small business owners a month and has been featured in the N.Y. Times Small Business, Business Insider and Yahoo Small Business.
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