5 Website Mistakes Costing You Conversions

5 Website Mistakes Costing You Conversions

When was the last time you looked at your website and asked yourself, “Why am I not turning enough visitors into customers?”

Or, “Why do I have an email list if my opt in rates are so low?”

And, my personal favorite, “Why do I keep creating all this content if no one ever seems to read it?”

If you never ask yourself these questions then, 1) You’re already a conversion rock star and have an extremely well optimized site or 2) You’re in denial and would much rather keep your head in the sand.

For everyone else, the problems you’re facing can be addressed in large part by avoiding the following mistakes.

1) No Clear Value Proposition

Not sure what a value proposition or unique selling proposition is? You’re not alone. Most website home pages, in particular, don’t have one. If they do, generally it leaves much to be desired.

A good value proposition tells your visitor immediately what is unique and desirable about your business or offering. It’s to the point while still saying everything it needs to. Plus, it makes sure to acknowledge who you aim to target.

Clear value proposition

Unbounce provides an example of a well written value proposition on its home page. The main headline tells the visitor exactly what to expect from it’s solution, why it’s unique and desirable and who will benefit from it.

Why is a spot on value proposition so important to conversions?

Because, without a headline (and usually subhead) that clearly and succinctly tells visitors where they are and why they need to stay, the vast majority of people have no interest in figuring it out on their own.

If you remember nothing else, etch this into your memory banks – People are lazy. Don’t make them work on your website.

2) Too Many Competing Calls To Action

You want people to sign up for your newsletter, read your new blog post, purchase one of your services. It’s understandable. Your website has to do some heavy lifting and persuade people to go where you want them to.

The problem is that when you’re asking people to do too many things at one time on the same page with no clear hierarchy of importance, nothing will get done.

Competing calls to action

This is an extreme example of when website pages go bad. There are moving graphics, contrasting colors, zero white space and almost no way to decide what to possibly click on.

Give thought to what each page of your site needs to achieve. If the main goal of your services page is to have someone sign up for a free chat to find out more about what you have to offer, don’t make your email opt in three times larger and the first thing seen.

The call to action you want taken should be the star of the page.

3) Not user friendly

This seems like a no brainer but look at enough websites and you’ll quickly realize how counter intuitive so many of them are.

A website like a supermarket should be easy to navigate. You’ve got preconceived notions of how these two things work. Shopping for eggs in the market means walking over to the dairy section. If the eggs aren’t there, you’ll be annoyed. And, if you find out they now live next to the cans of pinto beans, you’ll probably be even more annoyed and a little grossed out.

The same holds true for websites. There are no awards for being cryptic or clever. Navigation tabs should say exactly what they represent. Using the word “Contact” for the page where people can find out how to email or call you may sound boring but no one should get confused about its purpose.

4) Forget To Tell People What You Want Them To Do

It’s all well and good to give your visitors a laundry list of reasons why they should buy your product or hire you but if you don’t tell them how to go about doing it, none of that really matters.

Give your visitors a clear and compelling call to action. Let them know exactly what they are going to get or where they’re going to be taken when they click that button and fill in that form.


Lulu.com, a self publishing website, gives its visitors little direction with it’s “Get your gift on” button. There’s no verbiage explaining what the gift is or what happens when the button is clicked.

This creates confusion. Confusion creates friction. In most cases, friction on a website is not a good thing. It has a tendency to bring down click rates. At it’s worse, friction can turn people away.


Harvest does a better job explaining the upside of its call to action. Clicking on the button leads to a free trial.

Reduced friction = more conversions

5) Lacking Reasons To Believe

The last mistake many website owners make is not giving their visitors reasons to have confidence in their products or services. Explaining the benefits and listing features is only the first step.

You want to reduce any anxiety associated with buying from you by creating trust.

How? The best ways are by adding customer testimonials relevant to each service or product, security payment icons and guarantees.

Give your visitors every opportunity to understand how you or your product/service works and what you’ll do to back it up.

Now it’s your turn. What’s been one of the most effective ways you’ve been able to increase conversions on your website?

  • Maggie Patterson

    Great post Jen. Super practical and easy for even a newbie to grasp!

  • After many months of work, this past August I “launched” a new brand/website that I designed which focuses on my new direction of wedding photography. Now that it’s been up for a few months, it’s time that I go through to determine what’s working and what isn’t so that I can make improvements to increase conversions. I’ve reviewed the analytics and see what pages get the most action as well as those that I wish had more traffic so it’s had me thinking about what I can change to make those pages more prominent or change/remove them entirely.

    Now that my site is ranking well and I’m receiving consistent inquiries I have learned what information could be more useful based on the questions people have. Sorry so lengthy but this post got my mind racing with ideas and tweaks. Thank you for the tips!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Muhammad Saad Khan

    This is an amazing post to learn. As a content marketing adviser, i think all these points are valid and mostly businesses lack of these terms. We need to mark the FIRST to give value to a website visitor making him/her learn that what problems we can solve for what they are looking for. Then HOW can we solve it. and the Why we are different from the competition. or How easy to use our product is.

    You build a business to solve a problem or to fill a gap in the market.

    Show them.
    You have the solution to their problem.
    You have the value they deserve.
    You have the Trust they need.

    That’s it >>> You make a sale.

  • So glad it was helpful. You’re doing all the right things. Check your analytics. See what’s working and what’s not. Then, start testing things out. Websites are constantly evolving creatures. You’ve always got to be tweaking.

  • Thanks for the feedback. So glad it was helpful. Yes, we need to focus on solving problems and creating value. Without doing that, people will leave. You’ve got a limited chance to wow people and draw them in. Stop making the easy to fix mistakes at least.

  • Thanks, Maggie!

  • Great tips.. I think I want to buy a car from Ling Cars though!! lol

  • I’m lacking in testimonials. Simple. Thank you!

  • maxwell ivey

    hello; recently i started working with a friend i met through his blog. his name is ashley faulkes of mad lemmings. as he has helped to make the site easier to navigate i have had better responses to my email newsletters which always send people to the website. He also clarified my message and put the important parts of the site where they would be seen first. we still have more work to do. but you are right you have to make things easy because most visitors don’t have the time or the energy to guess. keep up the great posts, max

  • Felipe González Espelta

    100% pure quality info in my opinion. It’s a hard job to do without high knowledge, but people like you allows us to do it by ourselves (more or less..) 🙂 Thank you!

  • Shana

    Thanks for these tips! I’ve had a blog for close to a year now that I’d like to turn into a small web based business. I will keep these tips in mind when redesigning my site.

  • Too funny!

  • You’re welcome. Definitely get those on your site. Let me know if you need help.

  • Glad this was helpful. Keep tweaking and working on your website. It’s always a work in progress. Your business evolves and so should your website.

  • Thank you so much for the kind words.

  • Jen, great post across the board.
    I’d say a lot of conversion best practices is about balance: offering
    enough to encourage a click-through, but not too much your value
    proposition is unbelievable; asking enough that the lead is truly
    valuable, but asking little enough that they don’t bounce, etc. For me,
    this is the basis of A/B Testing – a CTA that stands out but isn’t
    unappealing, an image that grabs the eye but isn’t over-the-top, an
    entry-form that has enough fields for valuable lead segmentation, but
    not too many that people don’t think it’s worth it. It’s a dance!

  • Danielle

    Great post, Jen! The more I learn about social media and PR, the more I consider the follower engagement I’m likely to receive after posting on any of my accounts. Blogging is one of the platforms I’m least comfortable with, partially because I’ve yet to come up with a simple format for creating engaging posts. I love how your tips are simple yet get results. I’m guilty of forgetting to tell readers what their next action should be, but I’m going to work on that.

  • Ann Smarty

    I especially like the first two, no real direction and too many directions.

  • Is it surprising that a car / sales website was used as the example of what not to do? When looking for a car last year, I ran into a number of sites just like the one in the post – Way too many competing calls to action. Thanks for the info.