July 26th 2021

Making improvements to your conversion rate is something digital marketers and site owners should be thinking about, but it can be hard to know where to start. Often, investigations in to conversion rate are triggered by sudden decreases in performance, and you need to get to the root of the cause.

Whilst conversion rate will change depending on the seasons, events and even the weather, there are some common issues on sites that will affect your conversion rate. Here we offer our top 5 most common issues we see with underperforming sites and what you can do to uncover your own problems.

1 – Landing Pages

Landing pages are always a good starting point when it comes to start optimising your conversion rate. They offer a great canvas to change traditional site layout and copy sentiment to see how it affects users.

However, the most common issue with landing pages is that the same pages are used for all campaigns. When users click an ad for the first time vs the third time, they are in a very different stage. If you send users to an information page, this might educate them very well in why they would want your product, but consider that same user arriving again, not seeing how to purchase and then moving on.

Landing pages should be specific to the campaign AND the user stage. Don’t miss out on users responding well to great quality ads!

2 – Express Checkouts

Online checkouts are always a place that you can look at to squeeze more out of your overall conversion rate. You might have made massive improvements throughout your site, but if users cannot give you their money easily at the end, you are wasting your good work!

A common issue at the checkout stage is the lack of express checkouts, or express checkouts placed in the wrong place. If you don’t already, consider adding express payment options to your checkout. These include Apple/Android Pay, PayPal, Chrome Express Checkout or alternative payment options such as Klarna. All of these solutions can help speed up the checkout for the user by:

  • Using a saved address for the user, meaning they don’t have to enter their address.
  • Using saved payment details for the user, meaning they don’t have to go and find their card to pay.

If you already accept these payment options, consider adding CTAs to use them in the basket itself, or at least on the basket page before the traditional checkout page. You don’t want users to have to click through forms and forms only to then find they could have used a quick payment option all along.

This is all about reducing friction in the checkout and using express checkouts can see a benefit regardless of the product being purchased.

3 – Links between pages

This sounds like a simple one, make sure pages have links to them so users can find them. But take it a step further than that, consider which page a user should go to next. Often pages containing rich informational content about the benefits of a product have no clear path to find out how to buy the product. Your content on your site does the hard work of persuading a user to buy, so make sure that it is easy for them to move from the consideration stage to the purchase stage by adding relevant links.

This also works the other way, don’t be too hasty to send users right to the shop. It may be that users need to know a little more about your products before they are ready to buy. If you sell multiple products that do a similar thing, comparison pages can be a great way to help them in their decision making. Often, these types of pages are hard to find, so add links to comparison pages on any page containing a featured product.

Links between pages are all about helping users on their journey, don’t make them work harder to find the next page you want them to go to.

4 – Site Errors

Site errors are going to affect your conversion rate negatively wherever they are. Links that go to 404 pages, content not loading properly or even buttons that don’t take you anywhere all prevent a smooth user journey and may stop users from getting to the end goal.

Check your site for these errors by crawling the site for 404 pages. Follow the key user journeys yourself and check      that everything loads correctly on different browsers and different operating systems. You might find that everything is not working as you had intended, and simple fixes can get your conversion rate up right away.

5 – Speed

This is the biggest issue for sites with poor conversion rate. Whilst UI design, user experience and user journeys are all vital to optimising your conversion rate, but if you have a slow site it is much harder to see the benefit. Google estimates that for every second your site takes to load you are losing 20% of your conversion rate.

Test your key pages using speed testing tools and see how long they take to load. If it is over 5 seconds, you should focus attention here. If you are suffering from a slow site, some quick wins are:

  • Image formats – are they served in modern web formats?
  • Image sizing – are you serving users with image files that are larger than they need to be?
  • Third party scripts – If you have scripts from other providers, delay these until the end of page load. It means you can get the content in front of the user more quickly without waiting on something else.
  • Unused CSS and Javascript – if you use a lot of libraries for your front end, such as bootstrap, or you haven’t reviewed your frontend code for a while you most likely have a lot of unused styles and scripts that must still be processed.

Making improvements to your speed will see a benefit for any page you are providing, as you give the user what they want when they want it.

Take Aways

Take a look at your site and use this list to start making improvements right away. Think about who is using your site, what stage they are in and what content you are putting in front of them.