You’ve spent lots of time and money building what you believe is a
great website. You’ve got products or services to sell. You’ve got some
traffic. Now all you need is customers.

There’s only one problem: you’re not converting that traffic into customers at nearly the rate you thought you would.

Few people selling online are skilled and fortunate enough to convert traffic into customers right off the bat. Earning sales and producing high conversions usually takes a lot of hard work.

In most cases, boosting conversions is just as much about avoiding mistakes as it is about implementing new things. In my experience, these are the 5 most common mistakes that are responsible for poor conversions:

  • Poor copy. Nothing will turn a potential customer away quicker than confusion. To prevent this, you want to focus on making sure that your copy is well-written and understandable. You especially want to ensure that copy related to product and service descriptions, pricing and terms is crystal clear.
  • Missing details. Your copy doesn’t only need to be clear, you need to provide the right copy to earn a sale. Are there common questions a prospective customer might have before making a purchasing decision? Provide some FAQs. Are you selling something that might have a unique return policy? Make sure the prospective customer doesn’t have to dig through the fine print to read about it.
  • Confidence-killers. A lot of consumers are still weary of spending money online. That means that confidence and trust are often the biggest barriers to completing a sale. To boost the confidence of prospective customers, be sure you’re doing everything possible to reassure them that their transaction is secure and that they can trust you. At the very least, this means using a secure (SSL) server to process payments. In some cases, highlighting your participation in programs like the Better Business Bureau and TRUSTe can also have a positive effect.
  • No contact information. There are plenty of reasons a potential customer might want to reach you. Not making your contact information, including email adresses and phone numbers, readily available can easily cost you a sale.
  • Poor usability. The obvious: consumers won’t buy from you if you making buying difficult. And poor usability is a great way to make things difficult. This is where analytics data can be especially useful. If lots of potential customers are cutting out at the same page on your website, you may want to explore whether the form and/or functionality of the page is to blame.
  • Pricing gaps. If a potential customer thinks that you’re selling a product for $50 but learns that the actual cost is, say, $75 once he gets to the payment page, you shouldn’t be surprised to find that they’ll put the wallet down and go somewhere else. To ensure this doesn’t happen, be as transparent about pricing as possible and try to make sure that the difference between the price the customer first sees and the price he sees at payment time is what would normally be expected factoring in any additional costs such as shipping and taxes.

Have some usual suspects of your own? I’d be interested in hearing them so leave any that you think belong on this list in the comments.

Photo credit: atomicjeep via Flickr.