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7 Basic Website Elements That Kill Your Conversions

Updated on September 25, 2023
Posted on November 2, 2020 by Matt Stewart

These seven basic website elements kill your conversions. [vintage photo] Lady, worried, extends an arm holding a stick of dynamite.

Your website is the online face of your company. It’s where people learn about your business, ask questions, and most importantly, make purchases. At least, that’s the dream.


Your website design should increase your sales, but that’s not always the case. Some website elements drive people away instead of guiding them down the sales funnel. If you want your website to increase sales, avoid these conversion-killing website elements at all costs!



1. Not Enough Information

If your site doesn’t explain what your business does at the top of the homepage, you’ve done something wrong.

Users go to your website to learn, so give them the information they’re looking for.

Not providing enough information is a common web design mistake that’s seen all over the internet. Brands want their websites to look pretty, so they add pictures and videos and sliders and forms. While that might make the site look great, it lacks substance.

If a visitor goes to your site and can’t figure out what your company does within the first five seconds of your visit, they’re liable to leave. That’s why it’s crucial to have a good value proposition sitting front and center the second someone visits your homepage.

A value proposition is a short phrase (fewer than ten words) that sums up what your company does. For example, Netflix’s value proposition is “Unlimited movies, TV, shows, and more.” You know exactly what they do instantly, and if that’s what you’re looking for, you keep moving down the funnel and one step closer to a conversion. A good value proposition can boost conversion rates by up to 90%!

The idea of not having enough information works deeper within your website too. If potential customers want to purchase one of your products or services but can’t find any information to see if it’s right for them, their next stop will be a competitor who offers more information. Don’t leave your website visitors hanging with bad web design. Give them the information they want.


2. Too Much Information

Information overload results in high bounce rates. [vintage photo] Overwhelmed lady at a messy desk covered with rolls of paper cascading to the floor.

Be careful, however, because there's also such a thing as too much information.

Internet users want fast information. They don’t want to work for it by reading line after line of unbroken text. After a while, it just feels like rambling. When you’re stuck in a conversation with a rambler, isn’t leaving the conversation the only thing you can think about?

Give visitors the right information quickly and in an easy-to-digest format.

The faster that visitors can get in and find information, the quicker they’ll hit the checkout and turn into conversions.


3. No Breaks in the Text

Massive walls of text are just about the scariest thing on the internet. Nobody came to your website to read a novel. If they see a giant screen of nothing but text, they’re going to find somewhere else to make a purchase.

Break up long-form text with other website elements to interrupt the monotony:

  • Frequent headings and subheadings
  • Bulleted and numbered lists
  • Pictures, graphics, and videos
  • White space

Of course, everything in moderation. If you add too much content and clutter, it’ll have the same effect on visitors as if you just left the wall of text. Keep everything on your website nice and clean with plenty of white space to give your visitors’ eyes a break.


4. Difficult or Complicated Navigation Menus

Hopefully your site navigation doesn't require a torch and map. [vintage photo] Lady, looking lost, holds up a large lantern.

Ease of navigation is an essential part of a good user experience (UX). If people struggle to find their way around your website, they’re going to get frustrated and leave. Studies have shown that 88% of users won’t return to a website after a single bad experience.

Designing the ideal navigation bar means staying true to several UX principles:

  • Simple
  • Brief
  • Consistent
  • Obvious
  • Helpful

Don’t drive potential customers away with frustrating website navigation. The easier it is for visitors to find their way around your site, the faster they’ll convert into sales.


5. Boring Stock Images and Graphics

Stock images are cheap, easy-to-find, and they look good. Unfortunately, customers can spot them a mile away.

Stock images make your website look like every other site. There’s no creativity or authenticity behind them. If there’s nothing to make your business stand out, why would anyone choose you over a competitor? It can also hurt your business’s credibility, showing that you don’t put in the effort.

By using custom images over stock images, some companies have seen a whopping 161% increase in conversions!

Custom images look “real.” People can connect with them (and your brand) better than stock images. 

That being said, stock images do have their place. They’re perfectly fine in blog posts and less important pages of your website. But on your homepage and in any calls-to-action, custom images and graphics are the way to go.


Bored? You probably found a site with no interesting visuals. [vintage photo] Lady, cheek on fist, reads a book on her belly.

6. Massive, High-Resolution Images and Videos

Beautiful high-resolution images that stretch across your entire page look incredible and do wonders to catch visitors’ attention. How could they possibly kill conversions? Because people, especially internet users, are impatient.

Massive images and videos take a long time to load. Almost half of all internet users expect a page to load within two seconds, and 40% will leave a site if it hits the three-second mark. For every additional second of loading delay, you’ll lose 7% of your conversions.

The key to page speed is to limit the data-hungry content on your page. That means smaller images and fewer videos. Massive pictures might look good, but there won’t be anyone left to see them by the time they finish loading.


7. Unclear Call-to-Action (CTA)

What’s the goal of your website? It’s not just a pretty picture for visitors to look at. It’s designed to lead customers through the buyer’s journey and eventually turn them into conversions. The key word is “lead.”

Buyers aren’t going to go through the journey on their own. If you don’t show them where to go, they’ll never get there. That’s where a call-to-action (CTA) comes in. A CTA guides visitors to the next step of the process. Without one, your visitors won’t know where to go next and leave the site before making a purchase. 

But just having a CTA isn’t enough. It needs to be well-written, eye-catching, and persuasive. An unclear CTA is like using a candle to navigate a forest. You’re going to get lost. You want to create a great call-to-action that captures your visitors’ attention and directs them to the next step of the process. 



Ditch Common Website Element Mistakes and Make a Website that Converts

When designing a website, make sure it’s focused on optimizing the user experience. The easier and faster users can find the information they need, the more sales you’ll see. Any website elements that hinder that goal will kill your conversions.


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