This was going to be a single helpful guide to answer one of the most common questions we hear of “why is no one ordering from my website?” and then some solutions to the flip side of that question “How do I get more sales on my website?”
However it ended up being such a long article that we’ve split this into 2 sections.
This is the first part addressing why people don’t buy products from a website, and the second part (here) gives you some ways that you can increase your websites sales.
Remember though that the reasons may vary depending on your products, niche, industry, website copy, pricing, and a hundred other things (we’re only scratching the surface of possibilities here in a as general a way as possible to help as many website owners as possible).
If you’d like some help and specific advice then please feel free to contact us – we’re here to help you.
Why am I not getting sales on my website?
There are a multitude of reasons why a website might perform poorly in terms of converting visitors into customers, and as mentioned previously each case is different, and each is probably due to a variety of issues.
The usual (very old school) sales advice you’ll get will be things like “sell benefits, not features,” “use influence to drive value,” “sell yourself before the product,” “build interest and desire with features and benefits,” etc – what does that stuff even mean?
It’s 3rd rate nonsense from a 4th rate sales training course that’s decades out of date, if it ever worked online to begin with!
Here are some very real problems that will stop people from buying from a website (we’ll explore each in more depth later):
- Your website design is the problem
- Your website copy is the problem
- Your website doesn’t explain how your product or service can help the visitor
- Your product or service doesn’t solve the problem of the visitor
- The pricing / options are not clear
Lets go through these one by one.
1) Your website design is the problem
This is one of the most common issues that we see over and over again, and it’s something that business and website owners seem to find very hard to identify.
The issue is that as website platforms like WordPress have become more advanced, it’s become easier and easier to create complex looking “pretty” websites that look “professional,” and the web designers need less and less skill to create them.
In essence what happens is a client goes to a “web designer” wanting a website.
The “web designer” looks for an off the shelf design that they think looks “professional” and fits the industry of the client.
These websites have pre-defined areas for images, sliding galleries, twitter feeds, blocks of content, icons, etc.
The “web designer” simply installs it and then jams any old content into all of the areas and presto-magico you have a “professional” looking website to promote your business.
But what does “professional looking” mean?
The problem is that there has been no thought go into the visitor experience, most importantly of all what the visitor wants or needs, the sole emphasis is on building a website that the client will think “looks good” as though that will also impress the visitor and convince them to buy.
If you can be impartial, go and take a long hard look at your website and try and see it through the eyes of your ideal customer.
Think about what they want or need, and how your website presents the solution to their problems to them. Look at each element on your home page, the big slider, the wording, the twitter feed, etc, and ask yourself…
…what is the purpose of this slider – why is it there, how does it help the visitor, and is it likely to make them want to contact me or buy from me?
Why is there a twitter feed there – is the visitor interested in my tweets, do my tweets solve their problems, is it actually there for a specific, definable reason?
If I removed that twitter feed, would it result in a drop in business? If the answer is no – then why is it there?
Every item, every word, every image on your website should be there for a reason – not for decoration, not to stoke your ego, not to “look professional” – if it does not directly lead to an increase in visitor satisfaction and sales, then it should not be there, it is meaningless fluff that is causing harm rather than delivering any kind of benefit to you or the visitor.
This is why a lot of websites fail, they miss the entire point of the website being there in the first place – it is not there for you to tell the visitor all about you and your philosophies or qualifications or to impress them with how “professional” you look, it is there for the visitor, so you can explain to them exactly how you will solve their problems for them.
In order to do that you need to understand who your customers are, what their problems are, how those problems affect them, why they want those problems solved, and then build the site to address your customer’s needs.
You fit yourself and your website around them, not expect them to fit themselves around your ego and “professional, pretty looking” website. This is the basics of Conversion Rate Optimisation, and it’s really, REALLY important (even more important than SEO!)
2) Your website copy is the problem
Getting your message across in writing is a real skill and it’s one that most people really struggle with. If you get it wrong, you’ll sell nothing, if you get it right it can literally make you Millions.
This is why copywriters can charge Thousands of Pounds for writing a single sales page.
The vast majority of website owners haven’t got the first clue about writing copy that will encourage sales, and this is why the vast majority of websites fail utterly to generate the sales that they should.
We’ll look at this in more depth with a specific example in part 2, but to give you a couple of really quick and easy things to think about that will clarify this thought for you…
…As indicated in the first point above, most website designers simply look at what other websites look like, find a design that “looks about right” and then build a site based on looks and perception than thinking about how they can generate sales.
Amazingly this copycat kind of approach has resulted in websites today that are still presenting themselves in the same way the original sites were 30 years ago.
Back when the internet was first taking off there was no business being conducted online, there wasn’t even a payment processor available.
The only people who were creating websites were people like – well us – web geeks!
The only reason our websites existed was to show off our “design skills” and since the website had no real reason to exist the usual first thing you saw was “Welcome To My Website.”
This is known as the “above the fold” content. It comes from the newspaper industry where you see newspapers folded up and in those plastic boxes on petrol station forecourts, etc.
The headline – the important message – is above the literal fold in the paper.
That headline has to get your attention, so you pick it up and buy it. That’s why newspaper headlines are scandalous, scary, salacious, attention grabbing – if they can’t get your attention in a second you won’t buy it.
They never say, “Welcome to The Daily Mail”. They Say, “Shock Horror Scandalous Thing That You Need to Read RIGHT NOW!”
On a website the “above the fold” content is what you can see immediately on the page, before you have to scroll.
The reality is that many people (i.e. the vast majority) who land on a website will not bother to scroll down if they don’t see what they are looking for right away, and for this reason you HAVE to get your main message “above the fold”.
But website owners just don’t understand this lesson.
Let’s say you’ve been for a night out and you come home, you walk into your house and there’s water pouring through the kitchen ceiling.
You whip out your phone and do a search for “emergency plumbers in Keighley” (or Skipton, Leeds, wherever) and Google gives you a list of emergency plumbers.
You select one of the results and can clearly see the results tell you that you’re going to ABC Plumbers in Keighley.
The web page opens, and you are presented with:
Welcome to ABC Plumbers.
At ABC plumbers we have 20 years of experience of blah, blah, blah, we have these qualifications, we think this, we believe that our philosophy is X, Y, Z, yada, yada, yada.
If the visitor has to read about you, you, then you some more, then try and find the right thing to click to find if you can fix their problem, how much chance do you think you have of them becoming a customer?
Or will they simply leave and go to the next result? I’ll tell you; they won’t spend 5 minutes reading all about you to try and find out if you can fix their problem.
If they landed on that web page and they saw:
Burst Water Pipe or Other Plumbing Emergency?
We’re available 24/7, we’ll be there in 30 minutes and have you fixed in a jiffy. No call out fee, call now.
They won’t need to click anywhere else on your site or do any more reading, they’ll be calling you right there and then.
This is a very blatant example and it’s not always so obvious how you can get your point across, but the lesson is the same, you need to tell your potential client how you will fix their problem, if you cannot do that then they will not become your client.
On top of this is one of the other major issues with most websites, which is that the business feels like they have to talk like some kind of robotic corporate automaton.
I can’t quite work out why this is, I think it partly comes down again to the “sounding professional” mantra, that if I don’t talk like a corporation talking at some other business entity then I won’t be taken seriously.
But there is no such entity as a corporation or business, the words are being read by a person, a human being who is employed by a business or corporate structure, and the decision will be made by a person who feels a human connection that resonates with them.
So, you need to write your words as though you are talking to a person in the real world.
The corporate brochure way of speaking is so utterly boring and meaningless, it’s full of buzz words and nonsense phrases that sound good but mean nothing, they convey no meaning or value, it is “bullshit bingo” – if I can jam in enough buzz words, I’ll sound like a high value executive!
No, you will sound like a cross between a fool and the most boring person on earth and on top of that you’ll sell nothing at all.
You can find these kinds of meaningless words on many websites, here are a few – see if you can even guess what industry they belong to:
“Our adaptability, skill, and experience are proven by our past results. We are ideally suited to handle any project.”
“Our completed projects stand as proof of the quality of our work; the fact that most of our clients retain enduring relationships with us is further proof that not only our work is excellent, but also that our concern for our clients is of paramount importance.”
These are meaningless platitudes that are meant to sound good, but that actually say nothing.
In fact, they are (as highlighted in the first point above) the generic text of an “off the shelf” website design, and these words appear on a number of websites across different industries in different countries.
The “web designer” couldn’t even be bothered to change the words to reflect the company the website represents.
So, Google aside and how they view dozens of websites all saying the same generic, meaningless things about themselves – how is this meaningless nonsense supposed to help your visitors decide to pay you money when you’re actually – saying nothing at all about how you will fix their problems?
If you’re following this path of “a website is a website” and as long as you have a website the sales should follow, but you’re not even considering the needs of your customers or putting in any effort, then what do you expect?
It’s kind of like saying a car is a car – why should I pay you £100K for this car when I can buy that car for £50? Well, the first is a brand new Bentley and that’s a great deal, the other is a 20 year old rust bucket with 500K miles on the clock and the engine needs replacing.
You get what you pay for, it’s as simple as that. Cheap is cheap for a reason.
There’s even more to this, but this has already gone on too long I’ll touch upon it in the 2nd part with a famous real world example of really putting in the effort to explain what you do.
3) Your website doesn’t explain how your product or service can help the visitor
This might seem like a stupid comment, I mean you have your website you tell people what you do, you tell them what the product or service is, you tell them all about you.
Do you explain in great detail how you and your product or service will solve the visitor’s problem?
Do you even fully understand what their problems or needs are?
This really comes down to basic selling, and I’m not talking about the “gift of the gab”, or other notions people have about what selling is.
You need to understand what causes them problems, pain, or costs, and then work out how you can fix it. Then instead of you trying to sell them a set of screwdrivers they don’t really want, they are trying to buy a solution that only you can provide.
Selling online is very different to selling offline – but in some ways it’s also very much the same! As contradictory as that sounds we can totally justify exactly what we just said, if you want to know more just call us, and Yes, we do online and offline sales training as well.
If you can’t get this right, you’ll sell nothing. At all. Online or in person. Call us.
Check out part 2 for a real example of how powerful this is.
4) Your product or service doesn’t solve the problem of the visitor
This really comes down to 2 things: first your product doesn’t solve the problem; a bit like on Dragons Den where people have come up with a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist (or a problem that people don’t even realise that they have).
Alternatively, the people visiting your website are not the right fit for the product or service you offer. Sometimes there are lots of website visits, but no one is buying the products.
This could be down to how you obtain those visitors, through paid ads (like Google Ads) where the criteria to get the visitors is not selective enough, or maybe from social media personal relationships when it’s a more business appropriate offering, or vice versa.
It’s hard to say without looking at your site, so get in touch – often the issues are patently obvious to someone not emotionally invested in your business, whereas you could look at it all day long and never see the wood for the trees.
5) The pricing / options are not clear
This is another common issue that you probably won’t recognise when you view your website from the perspective of being the business owner.
To you, you may well understand your industry, business, service, products, your combinations of offerings and you know your own business and pricing inside out.
But it might be confusing to people not used to dealing with you or your industry.
As an extreme example it reminds me of that episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares USA where there was a guy called Sebastian who had a menu with 20 sauces and toppings that you could pick to go with 20 mains, and then 20 sides.
Giving you a confusing array of 8,000 different combinations all at different prices!
On the face of it, it might seem great, more choice for the customer, but the logistics of carrying that out, and the confusion about what you’re getting turned it into a disaster.
People want things to be as easy and simple as possible, the more complicated and more of a headache you create, the more they will avoid it.
You may well understand how your pricing works, what the options mean, etc, etc, but if it is not crystal clear to someone brand new, who has never worked with you before, and they have to sit there scratching their heads or trying to work out what this means or that means then they will probably just leave.
Keep things as simple as possible, don’t make things more complex than they need to be, and get opinions from people who are not your friends and family.
They will always tell you everything is great because they don’t want to hurt your feelings, but your feelings will be hurt a lot more (and your finances) if you get bad advice that costs you your business.
So, to answer your question of:
Why am I getting clicks but no sales?
It’s probably a combination of factors that relate to either not getting the right people to your website, or your website not presenting your offers effectively, or your website copy not being efficient at selling what you do and how you can fix your visitors problems, or your pricing not being clear.
These are the main reasons, but there could be many more depending on your industry and product or service, feel free to call us for a no obligation chat to see what a fresh pair of eyes can see.
Another question we get asked is:
Why is no one buying from my Shopify store
Often people tell us they have a Shopify store and they get plenty of clicks but no sales.
Well, it’s the same reasons as above usually.
Strangely people who use Shopify seem to be really geared up to signing up for all kinds of Shopify advertising platforms, social media marketing deals and similar things.
It’s almost like they think that there’s just some magic button that they haven’t found yet, but if they could just find it and press it then all of their problems would be solved.
Life and online sales just really don’t work this way, they really don’t, and so before you go looking for magic money button software please stop and think and take a long hard look at your website and layout, etc and try to imagine you are your ideal client arriving for the first time ever on your website – and try and imagine how you’d react.
We’ll continue this exploration in part 2, with some real world examples that you can really get your teeth into!
SEO Experts are based on the West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire border we work with businesses in Bradford, Leeds, Keighley, Skipton, Harrogate, Ilkley, Halifax, and Huddersfield, as well as nationwide.