3 Reasons Your Site Isn’t Generating Sales

Seeing plenty of traffic through your site but not getting any sales or enquiries?

You’re one of the many thousands of businesses struggling to generate revenue through their websites. Whether you’re an online retailer waiting for customers to ‘add to basket’ or a B2B service provider checking your inbox for that elusive enquiry, a lack of leads through your site can be disheartening – especially after you’ve put all that effort into getting it set up in the first place.

Fear not, though – there are typically just a few simple reasons that a website won’t convert into paying customers – and although they’ll take some work to fix, identifying them shouldn’t be too difficult.

e commerce

Today, we’re taking you through some of the key reasons your website may be failing to generate revenue. Whether you’re selling pink handbags or management consultancy services online, the detective work remains the same.

You’re attracting the wrong traffic

The problem:

Organic traffic makes up the majority of traffic on the web – that’s users finding sites because they’ve searched for them and landed on them organically. Google will attempt to match the content of your site (your website’s text, images and features) with the query of the searcher. While there are a number of factors that can cause you to rank for certain topics, keywords continue to play a large part in search performance. Google’s crawlers simply scan your site – looking for keywords in an attempt to attribute relevancy, and ranking your website in response to matching search queries. From phrases in blog posts to an image’s alt text, it all counts.

While Google usually does a pretty good job of this, there are exceptions – and if your site isn’t being correctly matched with search results, you’ll get traffic but your visitors won’t convert into customers.

While you might think the copy on your homepage, service pages or blog posts is perfect for attracting the attention of potential customers, you need to remain open to the fact that you may have simply missed the mark. But don’t worry – with a little bit of research, it’s easy to find out where you’ve gone wrong.

The example:

Let’s say you own a small hotel in Lancaster and you’ve just invested in a shiny new website. Your website is all about accommodation in Lancaster and you’ve focussed all of your website’s content on this topic – operating on the understanding that terms surrounding ‘accommodation Lancaster’ are likely to be relevant keywords.

You can see in Google Analytics that you’re getting plenty of traffic, much of which is organic, meaning people are finding your website in search results. However, you’re not getting any hotel bookings from your website.

Open a private or incognito window and search ‘accommodation Lancaster’. This will give you a ‘clean’ search – free from the influence of your location or previous search history. You’ll quickly see that the majority of search results surround student accommodation and not hotels! The disconnect here soon becomes apparent.

Google search screenshot

Although the term ‘accommodation Lancaster’ might conjure up hotels for you, it’s apparent that the majority of searchers interpret this as an enquiry aimed at finding university accommodation. This highlights the incredible importance of conducting thorough keyword research before creating new content for a site.

In this case, users are finding your website for all the wrong reasons and quickly navigating back to search results (or ‘bouncing’) to click on a different result which better resolves their query. You can confirm this by taking a look at figures like ‘bounce rate’ or ‘time on page’ in Google Analytics. A high bounce rate essentially indicates a high exit rate, meaning users quickly scarper once they’ve laid eyes on your site. Time on page is also a good indicator of how well your website addresses a given search query – as a user navigating away within a second or two of arriving usually means they haven’t found what they were looking for.

The fix:

If you already have a list of keywords that you’re targeting in your content, this is a great place to start. Simply Google them one by one in a private window, making notes of what you find in each search result. In the example above, you should be seeing relevant pages and competitors advertising hotels, B&Bs and other short-stay accommodation in the area.

If you find that many of your keywords are returning irrelevant results, you need to take a look at rewriting your site’s content in order to realign it with relevant searchers. When you’re working on your fresh batch of keyword research, make sure you’re checking each keyword for relevancy before including it in your content.

Top tip: Before you get too caught up in fixing your sales funnel, it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got the correct tracking set up – enabling you to measure conversions or sales through your site accurately. Click here to find out how to set up goals in Google Analytics – it’s a quick fix that will save you hours when it comes to measuring results.

You’re offering a poor user experience

The problem:

The World Wide Web is a competitive space, and vying for attention online can be even more difficult than face-to-face sales. If you’re in a particularly competitive market, you can’t afford to become complacent when it comes to your website – especially if you don’t have a well-known brand name to ride on.

If a user lands on your site and it’s hard to navigate, out of date or even just plain ugly, you can bet your bottom dollar they will hop straight back to Google and find something a little more appealing.

Whether it’s an online shopper about to enter their credit card details or a potential client looking for your expertise, first impressions count. If you’re expecting someone to trust you with their bank details or their business, your site should reflect this. Broken pages, bad design and dated sites look ‘dodgy’ and do nothing for your industry rep.

The example:

Let’s say someone is searching for textbooks online and finds Amazon.com in their search results – except Amazon have gotten lazy and neglected to update their website design since its launch. This is what Amazon.com, one of the internet’s biggest retailers, looked like in 1994.

Okay, while our example is a little extreme, you get the point. Would you put your card details into that website today? Would you trust them as a quality book retailer? Or would you be heading to waterstones.com in a heartbeat?

Top tip: Don’t forget that user experience can impact your rankings, too – so a site that keeps the customer in mind is more likely to perform well in search and attract more, relevant organic traffic. It’s a win, win!

While a poor user experience is a little more difficult to diagnose – as different users have different tolerance levels – there are some telltale signs. By looking at key metrics such as ‘pages per session’, ‘bounce rate’ and ‘time on page’ in Google Analytics, you should be able to identify whether people are engaging with your site. If bounce rate is high and everything else is rock bottom, you’ve got a problem. People are landing on your site, making a snap decision that there’s something about it that’s not for them and running for the door.

The fix:

If you’ve identified a shameful site as the cause of your sales drought, you’ll need to cast a critical eye over its design – something which can be particularly challenging if it’s your pride and joy. It’s often a good idea to take a look at competitors’ sites for inspiration. Don’t limit yourself to businesses of your size, either – if you aim for the middle, that’s exactly where you’ll end up. Take a look at your industry leaders – so if you’re selling handmade jumpers online, fashion high-rollers ASOS and Etsy could provide a nice starting point.

If you struggle with picking holes in your own work, asking a developer for an impartial opinion could be a great way to gain some perspective. An artform known as ‘conversion rate optimisation’ in the SEO sphere could be exactly what your website needs – carefully funnelling visitors towards the shopping basket or ‘contact us’ page.

Your site is hiding its goodies

The problem:

Being overly modest can be a major conversion killer. It’s one thing saying you don’t want to appear too ‘salesy’ on your site but, when a prospective customer can’t even figure out what you’re selling, it’s time to reassess your strategy!

While having plenty of in-depth information on your site isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the best performing sites often lead with a clear and concise value proposition. If your offering is lost amongst reams of text, you’ll quickly lose the visitor’s attention as they navigate elsewhere.

The example:

The illustration below highlights just some of the common homepage designs adopted by businesses across the web. While variety is the spice of life, there are some designs which prove more effective than others.

Website design samples

Take the typical e-commerce layout in the top-middle. The product range is clearly visible above the fold in the page, with buttons beneath for the user to click and, presumably, find out more or buy each product. A picture is worth a thousand words and this webmaster has wisely opted for images of each product rather than long-winded explanations for this particular page – making it easy for the visitor to identify what they’re being offered and make their move.

On the flip side, let’s look at the page on the bottom left. This landing page is essentially an image surrounded by prose, without any clear navigation options – meaning the reader will need to invest time in finding out exactly what the page is about. And although the image may allude to what’s on offer, it’s probably not the best format for a conversion page – leaving the visitor bored and frustrated.

The fix:

If you’re confident in your product or service, your site is the place to shout about it. Take a look at your site’s top landing pages in Google Analytics, ordering them by most traffic to least. Cast a critical eye over your most important pages, paying particular attention to your homepage and service pages. Here, you should be highlighting the benefits of your offering and encouraging the reader to find out more or make a purchase.

Don’t be afraid to keep your sales pages short and snappy, ensuring that all the main points are sitting above the ‘fold’ in the page – meaning the user won’t have to scroll down to make any decisions. You could even include ‘buy now’ or ‘find out more’ buttons at the top of each product or service page – making it as easy as possible for the user to navigate to the next step in the sales funnel. It’s fine to include more detail on these pages – just make sure it’s playing second fiddle to those all-important sales!

There you have it – 3 common sales issues we hear about everyday, as well as our top tips and advice when it comes to getting back on track. If you’re unfortunate enough to be suffering from one (or a combination) of these 3 deadly sales sins, now is the time to take action. Reworking a site doesn’t happen overnight, and even an overhaul of your optimisation strategy can take time to register with Google, so what are you waiting for? Take charge of your site today and watch the customers come rolling in!

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