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Is your bounce rate high? Does your website fail to convert many visitors into paying clients and customers? Here are ten reasons why that could be happening and how to fix it. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Affiliate links are marked with an asterisk (*).

It lacks a compelling call to action.

What is the #1 thing you want someone to do when they visit your website?

  • Book a free consult

  • Sign up for your email list

  • Contact you through a form

  • Purchase a course or product

Visitors won’t know what you want them to do unless you tell them. And how you tell them matters. You want your calls to action to communicate urgency, excitement, and value. Here are a few examples:

  • Grab a Free Copy of (Your Freebie Here)

  • Download Your Freebie Now

  • Grab It Before It’s Gone!

  • Get In Touch Today!

  • Yes, Sign Me Up!

It’s also important to place your calls to action where people will actually see them. Always include a prominent call to action on your homepage above the fold. And don’t stop at just one! You can include multiple calls to action on every page of your website. 

It doesn’t speak to your ideal client.

Let’s say you own a company that makes bespoke leather journals. What comes to mind? Warm, earthy tones. Elegant serif fonts. A sense of timelessness and refinement. A cold, corporate feel or a website decked out in bright colors is going to confuse and drive away potential customers.

The language you use in your copy also sends a clear signal about what sort of client you want to attract. Using slang and a bubbly tone might be a great fit for an energetic life coach but not so great if you’re the bespoke journal maker in the example above. 

Who is your ideal client? Are they older or younger? Masculine or feminine? Laid back or on the go? Wealthy or budget-conscious? What do they value? What do they like? Answering these questions will help you tailor your branding, website, photography, and copy to that perfect person who will value the work you do.

Your navigation is a hot mess.

Decision fatigue is an epidemic. We live in a world with endless options and it’s making people anxious.

What does this have to do with your navigation?

The more links you have in your primary navigation, the less likely it is that visitors will click on any of them. This leads me to the golden rule of primary navigation. (Okay, so I made this one up, but I promise your website will perform better if you follow it.)

Limit the number of links in your primary navigation to no more than five. 

Limiting the number of links will reduce decision fatigue and make visitors more likely to explore your website. Here are the pages I recommend you include in your primary navigation:

  • About

  • Services

  • Blog (if you have one)

  • Shop (if you have one)

  • Contact

Depending on what you do, you may want to add a portfolio, testimonials, or course sales page in place of a shop. 

Your photos look amateur or incohesive.

Photos can make or break a website. Your photos communicate one of two things:

  1. This website is professional and trustworthy.

  2. This website is unprofessional and untrustworthy.

There’s not much middle ground.

The easiest way to get professional-looking photos is to hire a professional photographer. Unfortunately, not everyone has the budget to hire one. And that’s okay! There are tons of stock photo websites that offer beautiful photos for free or affordable prices.

If you decide to use stock photos, make sure you choose photos that go together to create a unified aesthetic. One great way to do that is to use photos by the same photographer. 

Alternatively, you can edit photos to give them a similar color palette. The Sparhawk Poetry Journal website in my portfolio uses 100% free stock photos from a number of photographers on Unsplash but they all go together. Part of that is down to careful selection but Photoshop* also had a little something to do with it. 

Your page speed is maddeningly slow.

The impact of page speed on conversions cannot be understated. Research has shown that even a one second delay (which, let’s face it, most of us have) reduces page views by 11% and decreases customer satisfaction by 16%. Yikes! Here are some other statistics that will scare the pants off of you:

  • 53% of visitors will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

  • 52% of visitors say that a fast load time is important to their site loyalty.

  • 75% of users will never return to a website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load.

  • A slow website is the #1 reason 51% of US customers will abandon a shopping cart.

  • Google penalizes slow-loading websites in the SERPs.

Not sure if your website is running slow? Run a speed test!

Here are some ways you can give your Squarespace website a speed boost:

  1. Resize large images and compress them using TinyJPG before you upload.

  2. Keep the number of scripts down. Fewer plugins = faster page speed.

  3. The more fonts you use, the slower your page will load, so keep that number down too. You can prevent unnecessary font files from loading on your Squarespace website by using Cheers Studios’ Font Optimizer.

  4. Enable AMP on blog posts. This will help them load faster on mobile devices. To enable AMP, go to Settings > Blogging.

  5. Enable HSTS to force browsers to load the secure version of your website. This not only protects your website but can also speed up loading time. To enable HSTS, go to Settings > Advanced > SSL.

It’s not very mobile-friendly.

This is the age of mobile and last year 58% of people browsing on the Internet were doing so on a mobile device. Google severely penalizes sites that are not mobile-friendly. If your website isn’t mobile-responsive, you’re losing a lot of revenue. 

Fortunately, all Squarespace websites are mobile-responsive. But just because your site meets the standards for mobile-responsiveness, doesn’t mean it looks great on any phone or tablet. Sometimes adjustments need to be made to correct minor design and usability issues on mobile. For instruction on how to do that, read my guide: How to Customize Squarespace on Mobile Screens.

Your SEO needs a lot of work.

It’s going to be hard for people to find you and buy from you if you’re not showing up in search engine results. I’ll have guides on how to do keyword research and optimize your Squarespace website for search engines coming soon.

Blogging is a great way to increase your search engine ranking and grow your traffic organically. Read my post on how to boost your blog post SEO for more details.

Your design is outdated or visually offensive.

If your website looks like it belongs in the Wayback Machine, you’re in trouble. An outdated website can be the kiss of death for an online business. Not only will customers not appreciate the aesthetic, outdated websites call into question the security of customer’s data when they make a purchase or submit their information. 

Also, steer clear of designs that are too busy, contain light text on a dark background, or bright/neon colors that are offensive to the eyes. All of these things will turn away visitors and distract those who do stick around from your message.

Your website copy lacks clarity.

When it comes to selling your product or service, the copy you write is just as important as your website design. And if you’re not crystal clear on what you’re trying to communicate, you’ll end up losing sales. 

A great way to assess your copy is to ask for direct feedback. Business Facebook groups are a great place to find people who can help you with this. 

If you need help writing clear and compelling copy, read my guide: How to Write Powerful Website Copy that Converts

Your layout has no strategy.

When someone comes to your website, they’ve just started a journey. The purpose of your website is to lead the customer on that journey from discovery to purchase without losing them along the way. 

I’ll use my own services page as a good example. Each section is designed to nudge the visitor along until they’re ready to book a free consult. Here’s what the progression looks like:

Brief introduction highlights the main benefit of hiring me to design your website. 

Pain points and how my work can help alleviate them. 

Testimonial from a client to add credibility to my claims.

Details and pricing of my Essentials Squarespace design package.

Examples from my portfolio visually entice potential clients.

Outline of my design process to appeal to people who want more details before they book. 

Logos of industry listings and memberships highlight my credibility as a designer. 

Details about my design philosophy to weed out any visitors who are not my ideal clients. 

Links direct people who still need more information to my FAQs, full portfolio, and free consultation booking page.

There are four major calls to action at intervals down the page. See how this progression draws people in and then moves them closer and closer to the point where they’re ready to book a call?

If I placed the pain points I’m trying to address at the bottom of the page, someone who isn’t sure they even need a new website might not read any further. First, I draw them in. Then, I give them the details. 

Layouts should be thought out from both a marketing and design perspective. Use white space, break up text into columns if need be, and make sure everything is visually appealing. 

If your website has any of these ten flaws, it’s not going to be as effective as it could be. Fix them, and you’ll be well on your way to higher conversion rates.