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Six reasons why your traffic is increasing but not converting (and ways to fix it)

By Alexandra Gavril - April 17, 2015

So you’ve launched your business online and opened the doors to customers on the web. You’ve optimised your website for search engines so your audience can find you easier online when they search for keywords related to your business. You’ve also set up AdWords and invested money into ad campaigns on Google to attract more visitors to your site.

So why is your site doing such a great job at attracting heaps of visitors but a terrible job at converting them into paying customers?

Well, getting traffic is not so difficult, but getting that traffic to convert is a different story. And by “convert” I don’t necessarily mean sales. Conversion refers to getting your visitors to take a specific action on your site, whether that’s buying a product, filling out a contact form, downloading a white paper or subscribing to your newsletter.

If your visitors aren’t taking any of these actions, you need to stop and see if your site might be suffering from one of the six major symptoms below. If it is, don’t fret, we’ll also show you how to get those issues fixed in order to boost conversion rates.

Top six conversion killers

Attracting visitors to your site and then chasing them away is bad news. But here’s the good news: you can fix it. Following are the six most common conversion killers we’ve come across time and again, and ways to fix them.

1. No call to action

This is one of the most common mistakes that website owners make and it’s what usually stands between them and success. In most cases this happens because site owners expect their visitors to figure out where to go and what to do next. They assume visitors will know that they’re supposed to go to the Contact Us page to fill out a form or to a specific product page to learn more about how it works. Big mistake!

If a visitor lands on your homepage or any other landing page and you’re making them look for instructions on what to do next, don’t be surprised if they leave.

How to fix it

Here are a few tips to ensure your call to action (CTA) converts:

Have a call to action. This may seem obvious but since 70% of small business websites don’t have a CTA, it’s definitely worth mentioning. A CTA is the most effective tactic to convert your website traffic into paying customers. So make sure you spend some time creating a killer call to action.

Place it above the fold. Don’t force visitors to scroll down the page to find your CTA. Instead of that large fancy image at the top that most often distracts visitors from taking action, put your CTA at the top where visitors can see it.

Be specific. Your visitors are busy and don’t have time to think about what you want them to do. So spell it out for them. Don’t be cute or mysterious. If you want them to fill out a form, tell them in your CTA. If you want them to sign up for a free trial, include that in your call to action copy.

Make it big enough so people can’t miss it. If you do have a call to action but no one can see it, you may as well have no call to action at all. So, make sure you have a loud, proud CTA pointing visitors to the next step.

A/B test. Testing your calls to action can be of great help when your visitors aren’t converting. With A/B testing you get to test different CTAs and see which one does a better job at getting people to click. If you want to give it a try, read our guide on getting started with A/B testing and then check out these ideas on what to test.

Here’s a good example from injurylawyers4u.com:


The call to action is at the top of the page, it’s clear and big enough so visitors can see it the second they land on the page.

Want to dig deeper? Watch our Swift Six video to learn how to create the strongest possible call to action.

2. Too much noise

This one’s dangerous. If your homepage or a campaign-specific landing page is crowded, messy and confusing your visitors will leave in seconds without hesitation. Add auto-play audio and video to that combo and other design mistakes and you’re guaranteed to chase away visitors and never again get them back.

How to fix it

Keep the noise level down. Make your homepage or landing page simple, clean and welcoming. Only include the necessary graphic elements and copy to get your message across and to point visitors in the direction you want them to go next.

Make your copy easy to scan. Add a headline, subheadings and bullet points to make it easy for your visitors to digest the information on your page. Also, make sure to cut your copy down until you’re only left with the essentials that can get your message across.

Provide a good user experience. Make sure their journey on your site towards the goal you want them to complete is as smooth as possible. Here are some extra tips for improving your site content and overall user experience.

3. Keyword disconnect

Here’s the thing: your visitors often arrive on your site from other websites. Chances are that search engines and pay-per-click campaigns are your top sources of traffic. So when there’s a disconnect between the term used by a visitor to discover your content and what they actually find on your page, you’re bound to lose.

Sure, you can use a catchy keyword or phrase to trick them into clicking your ad and getting them to visit your page, but when they can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll leave and you’ll have spent money for nothing.

How to fix it

Simple: you need to deliver what visitors came to find. The page visitors land on should reassure them that they’ve come to the right place. It needs to be relevant to the terms they searched for.

So make sure that whatever campaigns you’re running, whether PPC, Facebook or Twitter ads, the keywords you use are relevant to the content that’s actually on the page you’re sending visitors to. For example, an ad relating to wedding planning should be shown to people searching for “wedding planning” and lead to a page offering wedding planning services.

Learn more about a user’s journey from search to purchase and check out our guides on how to get started with advertising on Google, Twitter and Facebook:

4. No trust signals

Unless you’re a big brand like Amazon, people won’t automatically trust you the second they visit your site. Before they’re willing to believe what you say and hand over their contact details and hard-earned cash to you, they’ll scan your site to see if they can actually trust you.

They’ll look for signs that indicate that you know your stuff, that you’re reliable, that you’re willing to help, that you won’t rip them off and disappear. So if you want to be successful at turning visitors into paying customers, it’s paramount that you make them feel comfortable enough to make a purchase. If there’s no sign that you can be trusted, they’ll leave your site.

How to fix it 

Your website needs to prove you’re a credible problem solver. The only way to do that is by adding trust elements to your site that create an experience in which your visitors are willing to take a chance on you; an experience in which you diminish their fears and concerns while avoiding to raise their expectations so much that you’ll seem unreliable.

Watch our Swift Six video where Nick talks about the six elements every website needs to have to gain the trust of potential customers. These include: contact details, a map, testimonials and more.

Testimonials from customers play a huge role in building trust online and reassuring prospects that they’ll enjoy doing business with you. Find out why customer reviews matters and how to use them to grow your business. And if you already have testimonials, check out this guide to combining web design and customers reviews to help overcome customer objections.

5. A product that’s difficult to visualise

If you’re selling a complex product that’s difficult to understand or if visitors are having trouble imagining how it works, how they can use it or how it can help them solve a problem, don’t expect them to get all excited about reading a technical manual. They won’t.

If all you’re showing them is a screenshot or, worse, a stock image with businessmen in suits smiling, then you shouldn’t be surprised if they don’t buy your product on the spot. If you’re selling software, electronics or even fitness equipment, use video to show people how your product works and how it would look in their kitchen or on them at the gym.

How to fix it

Videos boost people’s understanding of what you are offering by 74%. In addition, users who watch product videos are 64-85% more likely to buy a product or a service. These are stats you can’t afford to ignore.

So, if you want to help visitors get a better understanding of your product, what better way to show them how it looks and how it works than with video? Check out our blog post on six areas on your site where video can increase conversions and learn how to make the most of video to increase conversions.

6. No proof that you’re willing to help

If everything on your site says “We have the product you’re looking for. It’s the best. Now click here and buy it”, that’s likely to push people away. It’s pushy and doesn’t say anything about how the product can help solve their problem or about your willingness to give them the information they need to ensure they’re making the right decision purchasing that product from you.

Did you know that about 96% of visitors that come to your site are not ready to buy? Most are in the research phase where they’re gathering information and advice, comparing products as well as companies to see which one provides the best value. So if all you’re offering is a product, they’ll go to a competitor that’s willing to help with informative content.

How to fix it

Educate and empower your prospects by offering useful content for free in multiple forms such as blog posts, videos, webinars, podcasts, guides, white papers, FAQs and more. This is smart marketing as it can help showcase your expertise, build trust and show your willingness to help first, and sell second.

Never blogged before? Go through our guide to blogging for business to learn how to get started. If you don’t feel like you have enough to say to create your own blog, then check out these six traffic-boosting alternatives to blogging.

Your quick checklist

If you’re not having any luck converting visitors into paying customers, do yourself a favour and review the checklist below to ensure that your site has zero conversion killers:

  1. Include a strong, clear, visible, proud call to action to point visitors to the next step.
  2. A/B test your calls to action to see which one gets more visitors to click.
  3. Keep the noise level down by making your homepage and all landing pages simple, clean with no unnecessary distractions.
  4. Make your landing pages relevant to the keywords users are searching for.
  5. Include trust signals to reassure prospects you’re honest and reliable.
  6. Use video to show how your product works.
  7. Provide them with the information they need to make an educated decision.

Got ‘em? Awesome. Now get to work fixing your site so that no more visitors will have a reason to leave.

Your turn now. Have any other advice on how to convert more visitors into paying customers? Use the comments section below to share the tips and tricks that have worked for you.