What to do when your website is not converting

When you have people visiting your website but they’re not buying, booking an appointment or doing whatever else you might want to do you have a website conversion problem.

Rather than focusing on getting more people to visit your website, you need to look at why they’re not taking the action you’d like them to take and what you can do about it. Once you’ve “fixed” the conversion, you can then focus on driving more visitors to your website.

Business owners usually focus efforts on driving more traffic to their website but it can be more fruitful to improve conversion (and then you can drive more traffic)

It’s a bit like a leaky bucket – you need to plug the leaks (or some of them) before pouring more water in.

how to improve website conversion

Why don’t people buy when they visit a website

Broadly there are 3 reasons why people don’t buy when they visit a website:

1. They’re the “wrong” kind of visitors

Not all website visitors are equal.

Some are never or unlikely to buy what you are offering. There are a number of reasons for this.

They may not be buyers because of the price and/or what you offer. Some will just be looking for free information. Others won’t have any need for your services – they’re just being nosey! Or maybe they’re competitors looking at what you’re up to, or other businesses looking to sell something to you.

If this is the case, you need to either change your marketing to attract the “right” people to your website or change your offer to fit the people you are attracting.

2. It’s not the right time for them

Sometimes you have an urgent need to solve a problem. If you’ve a child that isn’t sleeping for example, and it is affecting you and your health, that’s a problem you want fixing as soon as you can. Or if you need to buy a birthday present for someone – you need it before their birthday.

But sometimes there isn’t the urgency. I’ve been talking about getting a new sofa for about 3 years… Or maybe you deliberately start to research ahead of the time you want to buy.

Some people will buy a product or service as soon as they see it and know it is the right thing for them. Others need time to think (or more persuasion). And it may be that your visitors are those.

You can sometimes persuade people to buy (or make an appointment) earlier than they otherwise would do. Otherwise you want them to stay in contact with you so that you are top of mind when they do decide to buy.

Website conversion

3. They’re not persuaded by what you offer

It may be that what you offer is exactly what they need and they would buy it now, but they’re just not persuaded.

Maybe they don’t understand that you can help them. That you’re the right person to help them.

Maybe they think you’re expensive but actually if they understood the offer better they would see it is worth it.

Maybe there is a different objection.

So they leave without buying.

What can you do?

There are a few things you can do, depending upon the reason they’re leaving without taking action. Of course it helps if you have an idea why they’re leaving without buying (but sometimes you don’t know and therefore need to try several ideas to “fix” the problem)

1. Do some detective work first

If you know why they’re leaving then you have a better idea of how to fix the problem.

Analytics (eg Google Analytics or another similar analytics) can provide you with a wealth of data to help. In the blog post How to Know if your Website is Working for you I talk about the metrics you should track.

The first thing to look at is where your visitors are coming from. This will help you understand how “warm” or “cold” visitors are and whether there is anything you can do before they visit your website to increase the probability they’ll take action.

Most people don’t stumble across a business and immediately purchase/take action. They need to see your business a few times first to get comfortable and build that “know, like, trust factor”.

Are they coming from ads? If so, are your ads giving the right message to attract the right people? One that will be amplified on your website? You might want to look at your ads copy (and images) together with the copy on your website to make sure there is a seemless transition. Tweaking the ads might give a lower click through rate but a higher conversion rate. Click through rates aren’t everything…

You should also look at which pages they’re visiting and which pages they’re leaving your website. Are they getting beyond the home page? Are they viewing your services page and then leaving? If so, it may be they’re not persuaded by what you offer.

Use data for website conversion

2. Take a look at your website layout

Website layout has a massive impact on website conversion.

Your website should guide potential clients through exactly what they need to know to work with you or buy from you, without the distraction of unnecessary information. No-one has the time or the energy to wade through masses of information to find what they’re looking for. They’ll leave without taking action.

Your homepage should guide them to the “right” place for them to find the information they need. We’ve a homepage guide you can download for free if you need help – you can find that here

Are you using “Calls to Action” to guide visitors and encourage them to take the action you want them to take? If you want them to make an appointment you need to make it obvious and easy for them to do that.

3. Consider your website copy

Is your website copy (ie the words on your website) compelling enough for potential clients to realise you understand the issue they have and can provide the solution? That you’re the best business to provide the solution?

Almost all businesses can improve their website copy. Sometimes it is just small tweaks that are needed to take something that doesn’t work into something that’s magnetic. Sometimes a bigger re-write is needed to improve website conversion.

Website copy is quite different to the kind of writing we were taught at school…

3. Do they have the information they need?

A bugbear of mine is websites which don’t give you any indication of pricing.

Many people will come across something online and think they might be interested, but they don’t have any prices listed. So they leave the website without getting in contact to find out the cost. Because that takes effort and they know the business will want to get into a dialogue about what they’re after to give a price, which takes time and more effort plus the potentially embarrassing decline when we’re miles apart on price. I know I’ll rarely contact a business to find out the price and I’m not alone in this.

They might wonder whether you work with “people like them”. Testimonials, case studies and images are very good to show the kind of people you help.

Or maybe there is some other key piece of information they need to know before I know whether this might work for me (like where they’re based if it is in person services).

It’s worth asking for someone else to take a look at your website and see if there is any key information missing.

4. Do you have the right services for the people you are attracting?

If there is a mismatch between the people you’re attracting and your services, it is worth looking at the services you offer.

Maybe you offer one to one services but the people who are visiting your website (with the problem you’re looking to solve) actually want to work with a group – either for cost or community reasons. Maybe they want to be online and you offer in person services, or vice versa.

You can try offering different services (solving the same problem) and see if that has an impact.


“Fixing” conversion issues is one of the best things you can do to get more clients from your website. But, unlike a leaky bucket, it can be difficult to know where the holes are that you need to plug.

Analytics tools like Google can give clues.

It might be that you’re attracting the “wrong” kind of website visitor – one that is never going to buy, in which case you need to change your marketing to attract people who might become clients, or change your offer to appeal to the people you are attracting.

It might be that they don’t think they’re ready to buy. Can you change your layout, give more information and make you copy more compelling so they decide to take action now? Or at least help them stay in touch by signing up to your emails or social media.

It might be that they’re not persuaded. Probably the biggest reason. Your layout and copy will need to be rethought or tweaked at least, making sure that they can easily find all the information they need to make the “right” decision.