Perhaps you’ve been wondering ‘Why isn’t my website converting?‘ despite your marketing efforts, all the traffic you are driving to your site, or the hours of work you have put into creating your beautiful ecommerce shop.
A website conversion happens when someone completes a pre-determined and desired action on your website, like buying a product, signing up for your discount offer, or sharing a product or blog post to social media. For anyone who has an online shop, the most critical metric is sales conversions.
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to why a website is not effectively converting to sales, which I will cover in this article. But before I dive in, it is important for you to step into your customers shoes for a moment and understand they typically have two goals in mind when they land on your site:
- to research something, or
- to purchase something.
With this in mind, I’ve outlined below the top 10 reasons your website is preventing sales conversions, so you can audit your site and start making improvements today.
1. Website loads too slowly
Have you checked your site speed lately? Slow loading websites are one of the BIG reasons people bounce out of your site without taking an action.
You can quickly check your site speed in your Google Analytics account under ‘Behaviour, Site Speed‘. There will also be a site speed average in the summary information at the top. and you can dig further to see a breakdown of your site speed loading times across difference browsers and devices. Basically, if your site is taking longer than 3 or 4 seconds to load you need to get this addressed ASAP!
You can install a plugin to cache your site, check you are on the fastest possibly plan with your web hosting provider. Make sure all your images are optimised. You may also need to get a web developer involved if there are other more complex issues involved.
Also remember, mobile data speeds are slower than fast Wi Fi internet speeds, so take notice of the site load times on mobile devices because the majority of your traffic is probably coming from a mobile phone.
2. You’re focused on a pretty site, not goals
A pretty website with the latest bells and whistles can look nice visually, but if it doesn’t help your visitors research or make a purchase, then it’s not serving your business or your customer properly.
An eCommerce site needs to be designed with very specific considerations in mind and based on what is working NOW, not the past. A classic example of this is having a slider carousel on the homepage which was a popular feature 5- 8 years ago, but unfortunately, the current data shows these to be ineffective.
A slider might look pretty but they are not popular with users. Slider carousels also slow down the loading of the homepage considerably! A single hero banner image with a clear value proposition and call to action is all you need.
To compete in the competitive and noisy digital landscape, you need to be laser-focused on discovering and aligning your website to the goals of your consumers. If you don’t they’ll find someone else who will. Following the latest design trends won’t get you very far. Following your customers’ goals will.
3. You’re not clear about your value proposition
What value can you promise to deliver to your web visitor? Is that clearly stated on your website homepage and above the fold? Too many ecommerce shops deliver muddled, unclear value propositions or don’t include one at all.
Do you know what the biggest pains or frustrations your target visitors are experiencing? How does your product solutions help them? If you’re not crystal clear on this, you’re missing an opportunity to gain a new customer.
4. You’re giving users TOO many choices
Sometimes less is more. Every page on your website should have a single clear goal. Another reason your website might not be converting is that there are simply too many choices on your site pages.
Here’s a good example of giving your visitors far too many choices. Tell me… What is the goal of this page?
What’s worse is that once you hover over one of these menus, the overload gets even more out of control.
Another misconception is believing you need hundred’s or even thousands of products for your web visitors to choose from, erroneously thinking they will buy more from you. Unfortunately, this can work against you when you give users too many choices.
When a person becomes overwhelmed with too many choices they can experience ‘Analysis Paralysis’ and they can’t make a decision. Your job as the store owner is to curate your collections and keep them tightly aligned to your brand message, unique value proposition and the problems you are solving for your ideal customer.
For example, with my online homewares and furniture shop if I were to offer thousands of furniture, lighting and home decor items for every interior decor style out there, then I am trying to cater to everyone with a house. Rather than honing in on the desires and needs of my ideal customer, who may be more specifically in love with the minimalist decor styles of Scandinavian and Mid Century Modern.
Even though I might have access to thousands of products across hundreds of suppliers, my job is to sift through their offerings and select items that my ideal customers love and want for their homes. My job is to create a curated collection across all my product categories that would allow my customer to confidently purchase any item, knowing it will go with anything they buy from my business. Make sense?
This applies to ANY product range or industry sector. If you are selling health related products, don’t sell everything under the sun… niche your product offerings down to your area of speciality. Perhaps your focus is on fitness and weight loss, or maybe your focus is eco friendly, vegan and cruelty free products, or perhaps you are solving gut health issues for your customers.
Create a Focal Point For Each Page
If you want users to convert, you must have a focal point on all your pages which should be a Call to Action (CTA) that entices users to do just that. On a product page the ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Add to Cart’ button needs to be prominent, in a contrasting colour that attracts the eye and as close to your product title and price as possible.
PLEASE do not make this mistake… adding detailed product descriptions in the ‘short description’ area which will push the Add to Cart button down the page! A short description means exactly that, short. Keep it to no more than 2 or 3 lines, it should only contain information to tell a user the main features of the product.
For example, if the product was a cushion list the cushion dimensions, material it’s made from and does it include a cushion inner. Leave the longer description and product benefits for the ‘long description’ area underneath.
5. You’re sending customers off track – or annoying them!
If your navigation or pathways are unclear or confusing, your visitors will abandon your site. Easy to grasp website architecture, effective site search, and clear copy will make a big difference to your visitors.
One particularly common example of this are homepage pop-ups. You know the ones… you land on the site and a pop up immediately covers the page asking you to hand over your email in return for a discount. This annoys most people because they haven’t even had a chance to see what you sell yet. Additionally, Google consider these types of pop ups as ‘invasive’ and will rank your website down considerably (there goes your SEO efforts!)
And while marketers love them, research continues to show that visitors hate these types of pop ups. Why make your guests’ first impression of your business an annoying one? There is a place for pop ups and fly out forms but they must be done correctly and should never show on your site when a visitor first arrives.
6. Customer’s can’t find what they’re looking for
Often when you are working on your website day in and day out, you lose the ability to see it with fresh eyes from the perspective of your customer. You might know where everything is, but does your customer? Maybe they can’t find what they are looking for quickly enough, or your product descriptions are not answering the questions they have.
Do they not understand your product? Do they want to see more details? Do you have enough images to showcase the product properly? Unlike a physical store where a person can pick up the item, see, touch or smell it (if relevant) your words and images have to paint the picture. Do you have a returns policy?
Make sure you address the primary concerns clearly and directly. You can get a sense of these concerns a number of ways including:
- Using online chat
- Reading customer reviews
- Listening on your social media accounts
- Conducting polls or customer surveys
- Running user tests
Answer their questions in your website copy, your product descriptions, your FAQs, shipping and returns policy, T&Cs and throughout your site.
7. Is the checkout process difficult?
Every so often, it is a good idea to purchase something from your shop to experience the cart to checkout process yourself. Is everything working correctly? Does shipping calculate properly? Do the payment gateways open correctly? Are you asking the customer to go through too many steps to checkout?
Having express payment options such as Paypal Express or Apple Pay can increase conversion rates because the customer doesn’t need to fill in all their details at the checkout. Also, double check this on both desktop and mobile devices.
8. They don’t know, like or trust you (yet)
It is important you can prove that you’re trustworthy. If your visitors have never heard of you before, how are you going to earn their trust? You can use a variety of tactics to increase trust, things like social proofing by including reviews, testimonials, relevant PR mentions, having a solid and active social media presence and more.
Most of all, if you’re selling something online, it’s especially important to make sure you can demonstrate the security and trustworthiness of your website for financial transactions by having an SSL Certificate installed.
9. You’re guessing, not measuring
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. The two most frequent problems in that regard are that you either aren’t tracking your website activity at all, or you’re simply not reviewing your results.
Many business owners know they should be measuring, but have no idea what to look for, or how to use the data in their marketing evaluations. Start with your goals for site conversions. What is your main marketing objective as a business and what counts as a win? Is it increasing brand awareness, is it website traffic and sales, is it email list building etc. Now work backwards and identify other key metrics and tactics that will help you reach that objective.
From there, you can work on improving those numbers, regularly checking the data in your Google Analytics or Facebook Analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t, so you can adjust and fine-tune your efforts.
10. No remarketing in place
If you have ticked off all the above and you’ve got the right product offerings for your target market then consider these final things. Have you got a marketing plan in place to bring in lots of traffic consistently to your site? Whether it is organic or paid traffic, do you have enough of it?
Check your google analytics statistics for the last 30 days in the ‘Audience, Overview’ section. You want at least 5000 visitors each month, with a 1% – 3% conversion goal (industry standard). Under the ‘Acquisitions’ tab, check where your traffic is coming from to make sure you are putting your marketing efforts in the right place.
Importantly, do you have a ‘re-marketing ad’ running to follow them up? You might be doing well on the traffic driver strategy and have a ton of quality traffic coming into your site, but if you don’t capture these cold leads and follow them up with a remarketing ad, they will forget your business very quickly. You can easily set one of these up yourself with your Facebook Ads Manager (you will need a business manager account to do this).
These 10 reasons aren’t exhaustive. They are really just a starting point to help you grow your site conversions. But many small changes like this can make a huge difference to your website conversion rate. If you take the time to improve in each of these key areas, you’ll be well on your way to getting more conversions and growing your business.