7 Reasons Your Site Doesn’t Convert

It’s frustrating. As a proud small business owner, you put a lot of time into your site and perfecting its content. You’ve segmented your customers and have created targeted landing pages to attract them but, for some reason, they’re not converting. What are you to do? It’s time to tweak and troubleshoot your landing pages for ultimate success!

Below are seven reasons your landing pages may not be converting for you and how you can help turn it around.

1. Too Many Distractions

One mistake folks often make crafting landing pages is to throw everything they have related to a topic on one page. The hope is that if you list everything, something will catch a user’s eye. However, that’s not actually what happens. What happens is you muddy up their conversion path by either overwhelming them into taking no action at all or encouraging them to take an action that doesn’t put them on the correct conversion path.

Instead, limit the number of distractions and products you place on a page. Be confident that if customers find one thing they’re interested in, they’ll look around for the rest of what you have to offer. You don’t have to throw it at them all at once.

2. Important Content Is Hidden

One of the basic tenents of journalism says that if you want something to get read, you have to put it “above the fold” (that is, in the top half of the paper’s front page). The same thing goes for content marketing. Make sure the most important bits of your content, the ones that are meant to drive customers to do something, are in a place where users will actually see them without having to page down. There’s no point in having exceptional content if you’re just going to hide it in the basement. Put it front and center to help it do its job.

3. You Need Stronger Calls to Action . . .

. . .or maybe you just need a call to action, period! The call to action you place on your landing page is often what either compels (or doesn’t compel) someone to do something. If your pages aren’t converting, then it might be a sign that you need to tighten up your calls to action. To get better at persuasive copywriting, do some reading over at sources like Men With Pens, Copyblogger or Problogger. Any of these blogs can help you learn to how to speak to your customers in a way that encourages them to take action.

4. You Need Stronger Direction

You know the conversion path you’re trying to set for customers.  Can they identify it? Are you making it seamless or are you allowing them to veer off course because things aren’t clearly laid out? If you’re not sure of how well you’re pointing people in the right direction, take a look at your analytics.  If you find that lots of people are abandoning the process at the same spot, it may show you that something odd is going on in a certain part of the conversion process.  Maybe you can tighten up your writing, maybe you need to remove a distraction link or maybe it’s something else.  Either way, you want the flow of your page to be clear to those reading it.

5. You’re Sending Them Away

Another reason people may not be converting is because you’re accidentally sending them off the desired conversion path. Do you have a link back to your home page in the same place you’re encouraging someone to “check out”? Do you mention your other product pages from the landing page of another? Do you link to a funny YouTube video for comic relief? If you do, you’re giving people an excuse not to buy from you. Don’t put extraneous links on pages that are meant to funnel people into a shopping cart and get them to make a purchase. People will do anything not to buy. If you give them an option to get out, they’ll take it.

6. You Scare Them With Too Much Text

I don’t know about you, but when I land on a page that has 6,000 words and barely any white space, I hit my back button. It doesn’t matter how interested I was in the product or how engaging the copy might be; it’s too intimidating to tackle. If you want people to convert, make sure your pages are lightweight, scannable and easy to process. If you’re overloading them, you may end up scaring them away.

7. They Don’t Trust You

A final reason customers may not feel comfortable purchasing from your site is that they don’t trust you. That could be the result of a number of things. For example:

  • You don’t have an About Us page. Or, you have one but it doesn’t feel “real.”
  • You don’t list any contact information like a real street address, phone number, social networking profiles, etc.
  • Your site doesn’t look professional.
  • Your content is filled with typos, grammatical errors or is too informal.
  • Your content isn’t engaging or doesn’t show that you’re committed to your customers.
  • You can’t be found on social media.

If any of this sounds familiar, then I’d encourage you to go into your site and amplify these trust factors, as they’re often the deciding factor for customers looking to purchase from an SMB.

The point of your landing pages is to attract customers and get them on a specific conversion path. If this isn’t happen, you need to start testing/tweaking to find out exactly what’s setting users off course and how you can rectify it. What landing page problems have you experienced? How have you combated them?


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

15 Reactions
  1. Great list Lisa. With #7, the trust thing, once you get the customer to the checkout area, make sure (like triple check) that the page is fully secure in all browsers and does not cause any security warnings, popups, messages, etc…

    It’s a shame when great sites take a customer to a secure checkout page only to scare them off because of simple security errors. The customer must feel comfortable and secure from start to finish.

  2. Thanks, Lisa.

    Great pointers, as usual.

    Thanks for the reminder about a link taking folks off the page you wantr them to do something on.

    The Franchise King

  3. Thanks Lisa

    Good advice and helpful…planning to evaluate our site based on your tips

    perhaps you could evaluate our site as well? 🙂


    Bill Bubenicek

  4. “You don’t optimize landing pages, you optimize a thought process” – Flint McGlaughlin – MECLabs

    Think of how you would talk to this person if you were selling them face to face. What would you say first (headline)? What would you say to follow up on that first comment and reinforce it (sub-head)? What are the primary benefits your product/service provides (short bulleted list)? What do you want them to do (CTA)?

    Remember these are people, not anonymous “users” or “prospects”. Help them out.

  5. Great post as usual Lisa. I loved point number 6 the best, too much text. It’s best to remember that a picture tells a thousand words.

  6. Hi Lisa,

    Great post, with some really helpful resources. Thanks.

  7. Hi Lisa,

    Great post and one of the challenges I faced initially with my landing page was during the opt in process. The mistake I made was making the download available upon entering your name and email.

    Unfortuntately, a good percentage of people were not opening the email to confirm the opt in because they already got the download and didn’t need to confirm. Since then I changed the opt in page to require them to confirm the opt in first before the download link was provided. An easy fix that eliminated unverified subscribers.

    All the best,

    Marco 🙂

  8. Hi Lisa,

    Great points especially # 7 since trust is so important. One thing I would add also is a Testimonials page. It has helped us a lot when potential customers can see what others have to say.

    Also having a website up for awhile really helps. Our website has been up a little over 5 years.

    Great post,

  9. Great article about improving conversions. Things I would like to add:

    #1 – good point on this one. I’ve dealt with so many clients who want to cram their entire website into the homepage. A good rule of thumb is to focus on what you want to use as a conversion hook and use that hook to sway them onto other conversion products. A good tool to consider using is Google Web Optimizer. It allows you to create measurable experiments between different layouts and determine which combination of layout, calls to action, colors, content, and so on, drive the higher conversion. You should definitely give it a try.

    #2 – When adding the focal points to the top of the page, keep in mind the z-pattern of adding calls to action. If you break your layout that is above the scroll into four quadrants, the z-pattern approach tells us that the first place your customer will look is the first quadrant (upper left) and the fourth quadrant (lower right). So consider using this to your benefit and try to place your visually striking calls to action there.

    Some other factors that could also be hurting conversions is dead end pages. You want to make sure that every page has a call to action or have links that will take your customer to another page to convert.

    Creating a sense of urgency could also help with improving conversion. Having content or graphics that instill a sense of urgency can potentially make your customer be inclined to not miss out on such a great offer.

    That’s all I can add for now. Overall, great article. Good work!

  10. Great info here. Building on #6 (too much text), there can also a problem where the text is “mis-focused”. By mis-focused, I mean focused more on features and functions of your product/service, and not tied to the “pain” that makes the visitor interested in the first place. Simple bullet points reinforcing the reasons for the visitor to take action, and tied to your solution have worked well for us.


  11. I agree with all your points Lisa. I’m sure you could have written many more.

    I’d just like to chip in with a point about the checkout process. Too many sites I’ve seen make it difficult or time consuming to actually place an online order.

    I worked with a client recently whose site had 3 steps to placing an order. The analytics on their site showed that a lot of visitors were going through the first two steps but the complicated final step was acting as a barrier to conversions.

  12. Hi Lisa,

    We really loved your advice and think it is particularly of interest for our many BaseKit business owners looking to achieve financial returns from their investment into their online presence.

    Thanks again!