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Six Reasons Why Your Website Isn't Converting Well

Nov 24, 2007
Having been an affiliate marketer for around four years now I can tell you that there are things that I've learned in the last six months that aren't applicable to things that I was doing over a year and a half ago. A year and a half ago it was possible to run a Google AdWords campaign without having to worry about annoyances such as quality score, yet today it seems that I spend more time planning my PPC campaign than I do actually creating the websites and tailoring them for the offers I'm planning on promoting.

What a drag.

I've also learned a lot about how viewers actually see my website, where they go when they're on it, and what they're doing at any given time. I've installed expensive tracking software that logs everything, from where their mouse pointer spends the most time to where they click and how many times they do it. It's a fabulously interesting process that really opens up a lot about human psychology.

As you can imagine, it's given me tons of insight as to how a site will convert and why. If your site isn't converting there are many things that you can do to determine why and how you can make it happen. Take these suggestions, for example:

1. Your copy isn't effective - Your sales copy (and subsequent site copy) is going to be the most important part of your website. Design aside (and even then, copy trumps design), if your copy sounds like it was written by a four year old I certainly wouldn't be expecting quality results.

Sit down and really think about your copy, how it flows, and the direction that you want it to take your readers. If you find that you can't create good copy you may want to consider using a professional copy writer or quality article creation service. Check internet marketing forums (such as WickedFire or DigitalPoint) for some guidance.

2. The design is flunky - I know I just ranted about how the design isn't important, but that's in the context of what I was saying. Of course design is important- if your site looks like its 10 years old how are you going to expect any conversions? People want to visit a site that is attractive, looks modern, and most important, gives the impression that it is updated regularly. Don't make the mistake of using an old, washed up design.

3. Your ads are too obvious - No one wants to visit a site where the ads are peppered all over the place. It gives the impression that the site is wanting nothing more than to make a quick buck, and while that is probably your objective, having it appear that way to the visitor will kill its profitability. I've learned that a few well-placed ads, combined with some creative copy, will absolutely destroy a site that is littered with ads.

4. You don't cloak your affiliate links - While there's nothing wrong with affiliate links (and as an affiliate I actually look for affiliate links when I am looking to buy something as I know that affiliate links are the most direct way of finding that product) many people still see the elongated affiliate links as scammy or undesirable and, as a result, don't click them.

Do yourself (and your conversion ratio) a favor and cloak your affiliate links. This will keep conversions up and accomplish the same purpose, not to mention the fact that they look more legitimate to the average user.

5. Your website isn't about the ad - This could also be phrased as "the ads aren't targeted to your website". If your website is about cars, why would you place a dating affiliate offer on there? Placing something related to the industry, such as auto loans or insurance quotes, will pull in higher conversions as it is related to the content of the site.

6. There's no sense of purpose - Keep in mind that your visitors are looking to accomplish something when they go to your website. If you haven't taken the time to ensure that the site actually has some kind of purpose you shouldn't be surprised when your viewers don't bother taking the time to decipher what the heck it means.

Remember, affiliate marketing is more about common sense and intuition than fancy marketing tricks and fancy coding. Always ask yourself what the person who visits your site is going to gain. If you can't figure out what that may be, perhaps you should change the scope of your website.
About the Author
Cameron Martel is an affiliate manager for OurFreeStuff.net and CanadianSponsors.com, as well as a full-time affiliate and copywriter. Cameron has been affiliate marketing for four years now and has built up a network of over 150 successful websites. You can get in contact with Cameron via AIM (cmartelcdnspnsrs).
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