It is important to note that when I say conversion, I am not necessarily talking about sales. Conversion means getting your visitors to take a specific form of action on your blog.. When you are new to blogging and making money online, you hear the same advice – Traffic = $$$. You should take that advice, stomp on it and laugh in its face. Getting traffic is easy, but getting the traffic to convert is a different story – blogging and building email lists isn’t easy. At all.
If your blog readers are not opting in to your list, sharing your stuff or linking back to your stuff, you need to stop and see if your blog is suffering from one of the 25 major symptoms mentioned below.
1. Poor site design
Did you know that the design of your blog plays a major part in the whole conversion process? In fact, chances are high that it could be the main reason why you are struggling to make any headway as an internet entrepreneur. Too many people have poorly designed blogs which confuses their visitors on what action they should take. Lucky for you, you don’t have to worry about spending thousands of dollars fixing this; however, you will have to part with some money.
You have two theme options that will take care of this problem – Generate by Studiopress or Thesis from DIY. Check them out to see which one best meets your requirements (there are tons of themes that will make your site look professional so definitely do you research.)
Just look at that old eBay design from 2000. It’s 2013, if your website still looks like a Y2K disaster its probably time for a redesign. If you’re interested in looking up old website designs you can use this website archive.org.
2. Your traffic isn’t targeted enough
“A jack of all trades is a master of none.” I am sure we all know of this cliché, however as common as it may be; there is a lot of truth in it. Too many people start blogs without building it around a specific niche market. They seem to talk about everything from sports, to music, to entertainment and to politics. They blog about what is on their mind and although this is okay (if you are a famous celebrity), they fail to address the core issues their visitors may have. The answer is simple. Find a niche market, offer them value by giving them solutions to their problems, rinse and repeat the process and watch as you steadily build an army of die hard fanatics.
There is nothing worse than inconsistency in your blogging endeavors. It not only confuses your readers but it also shows a lack of seriousness and professionalism on your part. If you only blog only when you feel like it, chances are you will get the same sporadic effect on your traffic and conversions. If you are truly serious about blogging, you need to come up with a content calendar and stick to it. This way, it is easier to build a relationship with your visitors and also monitor key stats on your site.
Marketingland.com has a good blog post that shows you how to develop a content calendar.
4. You’re hard selling
It’s tough when you first start out, you don’t have a clue about sales funnels, landing pages, SEO and call to actions. You basically did what you heard most people preached – set up a blog, drive traffic and wait for the $$$ to start coming your way. You can’t coerce people into buying from you. To get people to take any type action on your site, you first have to get them to know, like and trust you.
The same is true for your blogging efforts. Your readers are people who are looking for answers to their problems. You need to focus on giving them these answers only. Do this and do it well, and you can be sure of getting higher conversion rate on your blog.
5. No strong call to actions
A call to action is simply an appeal to your reader to take some form of action on your site – it could be to sign up on the mailing list or buy something. The main problem here is not the lack of call to actions, but rather the use of weak personal commands. Remember, you are the authority, and you need to act like one. Your readers want to be directed on what to do and if you fail to do this, you are not only losing their relationship, but you are also leaving a lot of money on the table. For example, a button that offers something for free will work as a good CTA.
Use strong commands as well as button and images in all your call to actions. SmashingMagazine.com has a blog post with a lot of great examples of how to improve your call to actions.
6. Lack of connection with your readers
It is important to make your readers feel that you understand what they are going through. Thus, it is important to always share your own personal story. Think about this, if you were going to climb Mt.Everest would you get your information from a professor who has never seen the mountain let alone climbed it or an experienced hiker who has scaled its highest peak? The same goes for blogging. You can only offer that which you have. In fact, this is the main reason why many bloggers fail to convert even the little traffic they get.
Too many bloggers are preaching the dream, but they are living the nightmare! They are as phony as a $3 bill. And if you think your readers can’t see through it all, you are wrong! They will leave you faster than the speed of light. So connect with your readers, let them know that you can be trusted to solve their problems. Be genuine. Never claim to be who you are not.
7. Limit your solutions
Whatever niche you might be blogging on, you need to limit your solutions to three of the best products or services that are offered in that niche. Being specific and clear on the 3 best ways to solve a problem increases your chances of converting your traffic immensely whilst also giving credibility to the information you present. In short, it makes you look good to consistently talk about the key solutions to your visitors’ problems than offer a host of irrelevant solutions.
8. Lack of seriousness
If you treat your blog like a hobby, guess what, it will pay like a hobby. Just because the internet offers you the lifestyle to work how you want does not mean you should ignore the principles of success. Look at the top bloggers in your niche or on the net for that matter and see how they treat their blogs. You can be certain that when you are busy posting irrelevant content on your blog like your new pair of Adidas shoes or your weekend out and about, they are busy creating content that will help their readers. Treat your blog like a king and it will perform (on all quarters) like a king.
Let’s keep it real – we all like Batman. Just saying.
9. No opt in forms
If you fail to place any opt in forms on your site that allow you to collect the names and emails of your visitors, your site will likely become part of the 97% of blogs that crash and burn within the first three months of going live. Of course, to have an opt in, you must give away something free which will be of value to your readers. Names and emails are important for your future marketing efforts as they help to ‘warm’ your prospects into customers. The two best autoresponders for this service are Aweber and MailChimp.
Here is a good example of an opt in form from Quicksprout.
The key elements to any opt in form are:
1) Headline – you need to catch the attention of the visitor.
2) Value proposition - use bullet points to explain why someone should opt in.
3) Call to action – actually tell them to sign up (usually in the form of a button).
10. Your site is not mobile friendly
According to The International Telecommunications Union, at the end of 2011, there were 6 billion mobile subscribers in the world! In America alone, there are 321 million mobile subscriptions. Of these subscriptions, 21% are smartphones. So what does this have to do with traffic and conversion? Simple, the world and the way people carry on with their daily lives is changing.
Today, a good number of people access the internet not on traditional PC’s as was the case a few years ago, but on their phones, tablets and other hand held devices. If your site is not mobile friendly, you are losing out big time on reaching potential customers. The solution to this is to pick the right theme. Alternatively, you can hire the services of a professional designer if you want. The two themes mentioned above however, are designed to help your visitors get the most out of mobile browsing.
11. Lack of valuable content
Nothing will convert your traffic like posting killer content on your site. This content also has to be as visual as possible. Use images, videos and if possible, infographics (you can browse all the web’s best infographics on Visual.ly). It is not uncommon to hear top bloggers brag how one piece of content still brings them tons of traffic months after going live. These bloggers follow a proven formula for creating powerful content and make sure their content is just what the reader is looking for. Create something that can be used as a resource and can potentially rank on the first page of Google SERPs.
12. Lack of interaction with readers
If you allow comments on your blog – which is common practice, make sure you respond to them or at least make an effort to single out the most important and useful comment and highlight them. The major reason for this is because people like to feel appreciated and an acknowledgement of their comment is just what can tip the balance in your favor. It could cause them to become some of your most loyal supporters.
That said, comments also build confidence amongst new visitors on your blog. When a new visitor sees that your content generates a lot of positive reactions from readers, they are bound to think of you as a credible source of information on your subject. It is important to note however, this step can only be useful if step 11 is implemented.
13. Limited social presence
Were you the one who was never invited to the hottest parties – even when you thought you were a really cool guy/gal? Well, believe it or not, the same thing happens online except, this time it is on a much bigger scale. The reason why some top bloggers are able to get a large number of retweets and likes is because they are part of a select group – the chosen few – a tribe you can say. Thus they are able to generate a lot of social media buzz because they have people in their tribes who have other people in their tribes who like their stuff.
The question then is, how do you become part of such a tribe? Well, there is an awesome platform that allows you to connect with other bloggers in your niche and create groups (tribes) that will allow you to connect your blogs rss feed with members in your tribe and whenever you publish a new post the post is seen by them where they can further share it across numerous social networks. This platform is called Triberr. Check it out; it could be what helps to get you the exposure you need.
14. Use of cheap fake traffic
This is one of the many exceptions where buying your way out of a problem is very dangerous. If you think that you can simply buy highly targeted traffic for your offers, you are absolutely wrong! To buy really quality traffic – I mean highly targeted traffic; you must be prepared to spend a lot. Without a doubt, there are a few companies who offer cheap traffic, however I would recommend you to stay away from them. Most of this traffic is delivered by bots or web spammers – these visitors are not worth anything.
15. Slow website loading time
This KISSmetrics infographic explains how page load time affect conversions. Key takeaway – a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
People hate being kept waiting and if your site takes a long time to load, they will likely leave before they even hear what you have say. Of course, this is bad for conversions, but also for your SEO purposes as it shows the search engines that your site lacks valuable content which will ultimately dent your rankings. Most of the time, slow loading times are a result of large image/videos files. There are a couple of plugins and widgets you can use to fix this problem but ultimately, it is worth having fix the problem for you.
16. Information overload
It is important to remember that most of the visitors to your site are looking for the simplest solutions to their problems. In fact, research shows that most people skim over content rather than actually reading it. Therefore, it is your duty to make sure that you avoid “confusing” your readers. Rather than overwhelm your readers with unnecessary information, simplify the whole process. Make it easy and fast for them to find what they are looking for. This approach is bound to guarantee more sales and sign ups.
17. You don’t offer free stuff
This has to be one of the most effective marketing strategies ever created. Why? It’s simple, People love free stuff. Free stuff will get people to your site or blog, however, what will keep them there is your content. Take a look at all the top bloggers you know. Don’t they offer free stuff? However, what they offer is not only free, but also valuable to their audience. If you over-deliver in this regard, you can expect to see an increased number of your readers beginning to trust and like you. Ramit Sethi does a good job of this on his blog IWillTeachYouToBeRich
18. Lack of reader retention
This is one of the biggest reasons why you are suffering as an internet entrepreneur. If you offer your readers no real reason to come back to your blog, they most definitely won’t consider ever coming back. Remember, it takes only a few seconds to impress your visitor so make sure you give them reason to want to come back to your site. Most of the factors mentioned above play a major role so make sure your content and design is killer.
19. External links do not open in a new window
This has got to be one of the most overlooked aspects of blogging. In fact, it is so common; a few top bloggers still make it. You should always make sure your links open up in a new window. Once your reader leaves your site, chances of them coming back are very slim especially if the site you link out to has better content than yours. Once they leave your site, they are gone for good so always make sure your links open up in new windows.In WordPress, make sure to check this box when you add a link.
20. No search boxes
Have you ever been on a site or blog and couldn’t find the information you needed because it didn’t have any search box? Remember how frustrating that was? You probably vowed never to return right? It is important to include a search box on your site to make sure your readers don’t walk away from feeling frustrated from not getting what they want. This could be the difference between building trust and losing potential customers.
21. You do not use excerpts for your blog posts
Chances are high that most people who land on your blog through a specific link will not read what initially sent them there. That is why it is important to always make sure your home page blog posts appear as excerpts rather than 2 or 3 long posts. Excerpts in this context mean using a few opening lines of your blog post and having your reader choose whether they are interested in reading the whole post. Remember most people do not like scrolling through long posts and they could easily get exhausted and leave. Make sure this is taken care of.
22. You lack a captivating about page
The about page is the second most visited page in a blog after the home page so a lot of effort should be taken to make it really captivating . We talked about the power of sharing your own story, well; this would be the perfect place to do it – Neil Patel does a great job of this on his about page.. Most people are interested in knowing who you are, what you like to do and why. So don’t disappoint them with your boring educational background and employment history. Give them a side of your story that will raise a lot of interest. This could determine if they become life long fans. However, make sure everything you say is true. People hate fakes and sooner or later you will be exposed if you aren’t keeping it real.
23. Your content is not readable
This has happened to me on a number of occasions where some of the sites that I have landed on are literally hard to read – the font is wrong, the background color and the color of the text don’t compliment each other. The paragraphs are long and the language used is very sophisticated. All these put together make for a recipe for disaster. If your visitors can’t read what you write, how do you expect to convert them? Make sure your content is readable and never assume that your audience is as smart as you are so avoid the big words. Write like an 8th grader.
24. You have a poorly designed error page
What happens when one of the pages your reader is looking for suddenly disappears? Well, most of the time, they land on an ugly looking error page that is quickly closed. If you hope to keep conversions high, it is important to have a custom designed error page that will help your reader to stay on your site. Some features that you could put in this page include: a nice design or a funny remark, different links to related posts and a search box to help them look up what brought them to your site initially. Don’t let them wander off without giving them an alternative.
Wufoo has a well designed 404 page with links to other useful pages on the site to reduce the percentage of the user from bouncing.
Here is a cool link to some creative error 404 pages from Hongkiat.com.
25. Lack of belief in yourself
What happens if you got steps 1 through to 24 on point and are still having a problem converting your traffic? It could be that you lack the conviction in what you are doing. Success is a choice and most of the time people fail to make this choice because they feel they don’t deserve to be successful. You have got to believe in yourself, your product and your service if you are going to be successful. Believe in what you are doing and go out and do it and you will be amazed at the speed success will follow.
There you have it, the major reasons why your traffic isn’t converting. What do you think, is this true or just a load of trash? I would love to hear what you have to say.