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Why Doesn’t Increased Site Traffic Always Mean More Conversions?

Your traffic has doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled! But why aren’t the new visitors filling out contact forms, downloading demos or purchasing products?

Below are some of the most common culprits, and what you can do to change your fate in each circumstance.

Reading Time:9 mins June 11, 2014

So you’ve been perusing your site’s analytics, and a routine checkup reveals something surprising.

Your traffic has doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled! What a fantastic turn of events! All that hard work and money invested into SEO, content marketing and site development is finally paying off.

But wait… why aren’t those new visitors filling out contact forms, downloading demos or purchasing products? You’d think all of this traffic would amount to some form of worthwhile sales activity, but you can hear the tumbleweeds rustling across vacant form fields and shopping carts.

Freak coincidences can’t explain a conversion failure like this, and there are an endless number of reasons behind the disconcerting phenomenon. Below are some of the most common culprits, and what you can do to change your fate in each circumstance.

You’re being too sheepish

Guess what? Fear and modesty are not parts of the successful business’s vocabulary. When you build a website and promote content, you need to be bold and you need to sell yourself confidently.


Image from Kai Morgener, licensed under CC Attribution Share-Alike 2.0 Generic (changes made)

It’s your responsibility to leave a trail of breadcrumbs for compelled visitors. The next steps to conversion need to be made simple and apparent if you’re going to suck people in.

If you’re lacking calls-to-action on your site, then you’re obviously doing yourself a huge disservice. Put those suckers EVERYWHERE: your homepage, service/product pages, blog posts, contact forms. Everywhere. This doesn’t mean you should you be shoving blatantly salesy commands in your visitors’ faces at every turn – skillful execution of convincing copy is the lifeblood of effective calls-to-action.

Word your calls-to-action to zero in on your target audience’s harshest concerns and deepest desires. Suck them in with undeniably alluring statements and catch them while they’re hot. Place CTAs strategically and in spots where they’ll catch the eyes of potential leads.

To track the results of your CTA placement and see whether they’re doing their job, it’s important to always be testing. Google Analytics is your best friend in this respect, and you should be using it to grab before-and-after pictures of any given page’s performance as you change them up.

These are some of the most proactive steps you can take to solve the conversion debacle, so make them a top priority.

Your Site Is Ugly

Looks can go a long way, my friends – especially when it comes to retaining first-time visitors. When 48% of people cite a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business (according to Ironpaper), you have to respect appearances.

Step away from your preconceived notions of the site and take a long, hard look. It doesn’t matter how much work you put into it, and it certainly doesn’t matter whether or not you’re sentimentally attached to the theme. Time to get real, because if your site looks outdated or half-baked, you’re going to lose your audience quicker than you can say “responsive redesign”. Take a tip or two from some site design elements that influence user behavior, and you may be a lot better off.

If you want to know what’s on your visitors’ minds, one of the best ways to gauge their reactions is by offering a site design survey. Keep it brief and place it in a spot that stands out, or even engineer a pop-up survey that tastefully inquires about your guests’ opinions.

Your Site Is Dysfunctional

Fork in all the traffic you can: it’s not going to do a thing if your site is broken.


Image fromDoctor Rose, licensed under CC Attribution-No Derivs 2.0 Generic

Sometimes screw-ups are incredibly conspicuous, and other times they’re harder to spot. Just a few common issues to double-check before you overlook the possibility of human error:

  • Do your links work?
  • Does your navigation work and is anything missing?
  • Are there spelling or grammar errors in your content that may confuse visitors?
  • Do embedded images and videos show up and play?
  • Do forms function properly and allow users to submit?
  • Do “thank you” pages show up following important actions?

Monthly “site scans” are a good habit to get yourself into, and they’ll help you avoid big blunders from slipping through the cracks. For businesses on a shoestring budget or those doing DIY development, take a peek at an even more expansive checklist that covers many common website functions that can go awry.

Get your site cleaned up, because it could do wonders for your conversion rates if you’re having big issues.

Your Content Didn’t Satisfy

Perhaps the promise you made with a headline wasn’t met, or the banner ad that drew abundant traffic didn’t line up with the following offer. And your guests grew disappointed, so they bounced off your site.


Image from Brandon Grasley, licensed under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic

If the content isn’t anything to write home about, then don’t kid yourself: people aren’t going to stick around. Us humans are bombarded with information on a minute-to-minute basis, and we’ve become quite adept at weeding out and disregarding that which is unworthy of our attention.

Some of the most fundamental page metrics in Google Analytics can reveal what’s going on; look into bounce rates, average session durations and pages per session for the most immediate insight on whether your users like what they see. Note the pages with the longest session durations and lowest bounce rates, and use these findings to draw conclusions on what your guests are enjoying the most about certain content.

And while there’s no one way to make your content stick out, by diagnosing your audience’s interests you’ll be better able to catalyze valuable conversions in the future.

Just make sure you’re taking this next part into account simultaneously…

The Visitors You’re Getting Aren’t Qualified

The problem may not necessarily lie in your own lack of quality. Your site, infographic or blog post may be a stellar hit with certain crowds.

But those crowds aren’t necessarily the same ones that are compatible with what you’re trying to sell (otherwise known as your buyer personas). They’re not, in other words, qualified leads. And they don’t want anything to do with giving you their information.

Employ a combination of analytics scraping and social listening to discover the individuals behind your traffic spike. If they’re not the ones you were hoping for, don’t sweat it. But recognize what should be done differently next time to attract your target market instead.

If you’re starting to realize that some of these issues are plaguing your conversion rate, don’t get too down in the dumps just yet. Despite all that’s holding you back, don’t forget the good stuff that comes with increased visibility.

Why You Shouldn’t Worry

I know your traffic spike doesn’t necessarily spell sales success right now, and that’s unfortunate. But take note, entrepreneurs and executives: it’s not all bad!

Despite your lack of instantaneous return on investment, you ought to take a step back. The long-term benefits of a flood of site visitors are advantageous and often overlooked.

Perhaps the folks who navigated weren’t eligible customers, and maybe they weren’t the least bit interested in what you were selling. But they came to your site, they saw your brand name, and some of them probably shared or talked about what they viewed with their friends.

Once people are recognizing your brand’s name and logo and associating them with content they enjoyed, you’ve established genuine credibility and subsequent trust. This, in itself, is a huge step in the right direction for any business, and can help seal deals down the road.

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