Why your Site Isn't Scoring Conversions (And What to Do About It)

This guest post was written by Whitney Carroll McKinnon from Cardinal Copy.

When you’re putting your heart and soul into your website and aren’t getting the sales to back it up, it can feel like your efforts are the proverbial tree falling in the empty forest.

Luckily, that doesn’t mean it’s time to pack it up and quit your hustle. Knowing what factors can stop people from buying your products or services can be the difference between financial success and a heartbreak.

Here’s a look at some of the potential issues your site could be having, and what you can do to fix it.

You’re Not Getting Any Traffic

Imagine your website as a brick-and-mortar storefront.

Would your business be struggling because nobody is walking through the door? Or because the people who are shopping at your establishment don’t end up buying anything?

Luckily, this is even easier to figure out online than in person. There are a ton of high-quality data tracking tools available that won’t break the bank, the first and foremost being Google Analytics.

If you’re already using this little godsend, great. If not, make a note right now. Do it before you do anything else for your business. It’s that important.

Google Analytics is linked to a little piece of JavaScript in a website. It doesn’t affect your interface in any way, but it does send a neat little package of data to Google servers with a snapshot of information about your site visitors. You’ll learn pertinent info like where your users are located, which pages they visited, and how long they spent there. At a very basic level, you now have a reliable way to keep an eye on your traffic numbers.

You’ll need to let some time pass before you’re able to see trends and patterns in the numbers, but eventually you’ll be able to figure out whether your flagging sales are due to a lack of traffic or something else.

If traffic is indeed the issue, all is not lost! There’s plenty that you can do to boost your numbers without compromising the integrity of your site (I’m looking at you, pre-purchased social media followers).

If your marketing budget allows it, now is a great time to up your advertising game. Paid search (AdWords on Google) and social media targeting make sure your content is highly visible without wasting your hard-earned cash on people who are unlikely to be interested in your stuff. This is a great way to make sure you’re reaching legitimate potential customers.

If you can’t afford to finance a paid campaign at the moment, you’re not doomed – you just have to get creative! Your content marketing game will have to be strong enough to pull the weight, which means lots of SEO and keyword research for you and your team. Long-tail keywords, in particular, will be key in drawing in the traffic you need. Spend some time playing with a good keyword planner to see what stands out.

Given the fact that 75 percent of users don’t scroll past the first page of search results, it’s absolutely vital to score a high ranking if organic traffic is your goal.

Your Site Isn’t User-Friendly

It doesn’t matter how great your product or service is if your website isn’t appealing or easy to use. People will be clicking out of your site before they even have time to be wowed by what you have to offer.

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that a mobile-responsive web design is no longer optional. More people are accessing the internet on a mobile device than a desktop. If your website isn’t translating smoothly to a mobile interface, you’re potentially alienating over half of your potential users.

Another issue could be a lack of visual appeal. If your website looks like it was designed by a middle schooler in 1998, how can you expect to be taken seriously in a business setting by prospective customers?

Bright colors (especially yellow) rarely work in a professional looking website. Steer clear of clashy color combos and drastic contrasts that can be almost painful to look at. And though graphics and visual content can be a great tool for catching user attention, too much can cause visual clutter and slow down your site functionality.

Being conscious of how your site looks on the front end and not overloading it with broadband suckers like flash can go a long way in making sure your customers don’t run for the hills upon finding your site.

You’re Not Leading Your Customers Down the Sales Funnel

The AIDA concept breaks down the marketing process into four distinct parts:

Sales funnel (AIDA)

Awareness (or Attention)

Think of the last infomercial you saw.

Chances are, it followed a fairly predictable path of presenting the product.

“Are you sick and tired of your (cat/clothes/kitchen knife) (eating your plants/smelling weird/slicing your fingers off)?”

In the classic AIDA model of advertising, this is the first stage – getting the consumer’s attention.

This is why the beginning of infomercials tend to be a little jarring in order to draw your eyes to the screen. You can translate this to your website by making sure your meta entries are on point for search engine results. Research shows that the domain name and keywords placed at the beginning of the description are most likely to catch the eye.

Once your potential customer has made it to your site, using headers that grab the reader’s attention while immediately conveying what service or product your business provides can go a long way in keeping them there.


To ace the Interest stage of the AIDA model, you’ll need to focus entirely on the needs of your target customers. Give your web visitors a reason to stay on your site by letting them know that you understand their problems and are positioned to offer a viable solution. This should be a smooth transition between grabbing your potential customer’s attention and convincing them that they need what you have to offer.

In this phase in particular (though it remains true for all four stages), it’s vital to use language that comes across as natural and not salesy. This should be a jargon-free zone. Avoid words with negative connotations like “cost” or “cheap.” “Problems” should be “challenges,” and “customers” should be “clients.”

Stay away from rhetoric that could be interpreted as wishy-washy, and always use language that exudes confidence in your product. If your potential customer feels like you need their business in order to establish your own value, they’ll already have one foot out the door.


During the Desire phase, your reader must take the step from liking your product to needing your product. In our infomercial example, this is often done by displaying multiple ways the product could be used to make your life easier. If it’s an advertisement for a knife set, this is the part where you see blades effortlessly slicing through various foods and household objects.

Bringing your content from “that’s cool” to “this needs to be in my life” is largely a matter of creating an emotional connection, which can be tricky if your reader has yet to experience your service or product for themselves. Featuring testimonials from past customers is a great way to channel the emotional experiences created by your product and show firsthand how you can provide value.

Once you’ve convinced your reader that you are equipped and prepared to help with their problems, you’re ready to guide them into the final stage of the funnel.


This is the part of the infomercial where they really reel you in.

After establishing the value of the product and how it can solve challenges for its users, they go in for the kill by slashing the price down (often multiple times) and throwing in additional offers. If the viewer was on the fence about making the purchase, they have even better reason to pick up the phone and place the order. In marketing terms, this is the Call To Action (CTA).

You can do this on your website but in a more subtle way. Adding CTAs to your web copy or content whenever it’s relevant can go a long way in guiding your customer through the process of closing the sale. A well-placed CTA will let your customer know what’s expected of them and can show them exactly what needs to be done next to meet their goals.

The specifics of your CTA will depend on what you’re offering, but the basic concept remains the same regardless of your end goal. You’ll need to implement buttons on your website that directly links to what you want your customer to do.

Want them to like your post on social media? Add a Facebook or Twitter button encouraging them to do so. Want them to give you their email in exchange for your lead magnet? Add a button on your landing page with a direct instruction (“Download Your Free E-Book Here!”).

landing page CTA

Make sure your button is easy to find, with contrasting colors and clear copy. Don’t assume that if your customer wants your product enough, they’ll figure it out on their own. The web is full of distractions and competitors, and you’ll need to keep your reader’s attention to close the sale.


There’s no universal reason why your site isn’t getting conversions, but knowing some of the likely culprits can go a long way in helping you achieve your sales goals.

Whitney headshot

Whitney Carroll McKinnon

Whitney (@WhitneyMck529) is a freelance writer for hire with specialization in digital and content marketing. When not writing, she can be found at home with her fiance and two young daughters, channeling her stress into cooking, cross stitching, and sociopolitical activism. To contact Whitney or inquire about her services, please visit her website at Cardinal Copy.

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