poor converting website

If you’re like most business owners, you probably lose sleep at night pondering the possibilities of scaling your business and revenue online. For better or worse, the internet has opened doors for small businesses in ways that traditional marketing and advertising never could.

Its no secret that growing your business online encompasses many different things, almost too many for the average business owner to keep up with. SEO, PPC, social media activity, website quality, and market competition are just some of the major factors.

Unfortunately most business owners are time-strapped and don’t have an in-house marketing person to help, so they typically only have time to focus on just one of those things. Often times, that one thing is their business website, and for good reason.

When websites became available to the everyday business person back in the early 90’s, they quickly gained steam as the “magical gateway” to riches online, and whether right or wrong, people were buying into the hype by the tens of thousands.

I remember back to that time, people who barely knew how to write code were selling absolutely very basic (and dare I say ugly) HTML websites for upwards of $20-30k! And business owners were buying them left and right! It was the new shiny object that every business owner just had to have in order to survive.

At least that’s how it was positioned and sold to business owners.

Fast forward 20+ years, and great websites are still in high demand, however the game has changed in a major way online. In the 90s, search engines were extremely basic in form and functionality, and social media & ad platforms didn’t even exist yet.

If you simply had a website, even an ugly one, you had a competitive advantage over other business owners.

But things have changed…drastically.

With the barrier to entry and cost of development much lower now, everyone has a website these days, and thus, having a good website doesn’t bring the same advantages that it once did.

Social media “noise”, and never ending search engine changes have made it considerably more challenging to grow your business online and reap the benefits of having a great website.

If you’re in a competitive industry, it’s even harder.

Fact: a website can’t do all the heavy lifting by itself

With that in mind, and I don’t know who needs to hear this, but having a great website alone isn’t going to do much for you in this day and age. In fact, it might not do anything for you, and we’ll talk about why that is in a second.

Yet still to this day, (and I say this nicely) there are millions of business owners who are still thinking like it’s the mid 90s, who have very naive & unrealistic expectations of their website and the role it plays in their business.

There is still this belief among so many business owners that “if I build it, they will come”, and sadly, that’s just not how it works. A website can’t do all the heavy lifting by itself.

In fact, a website (especially for local businesses) is virtually the same as a brick-and-mortar location in that, it has a certain location “boundary”. This is because of how Google uses the location of the searcher to return certain search results, which we’ll talk about in a second.

With that in mind, just like putting a building in the middle of town doesn’t guarantee a certain amount of foot-traffic and sales, standing up a good website doesn’t guarantees a certain amount of traffic or leads.

And here’s why…

5 Reasons Why Your Website Might Not Be Delivering ROI

1.) You’re in a super competitive industry

If you’re in a highly competitive or locally-congested industry, there are two main obstacles in your way that can severely limit your traffic and lead volume:

  1. there are so many competitors that there simply isn’t enough search volume to go around
  2. your competitors have older domains and/or more authoritative brands than you, and you have little to no chance to outrank them

Insurance agencies, plumbers, pizza/ice cream shops and restaurants are just a few examples of local businesses who face these challenges because of how saturated their market is.

Lets say there are 100 searches per month for “best pizza near me”. Now lets say there are 12 pizza shops in a local market, say at 5-10 mile radius. When you search for that, Google is going to use your location to show you the most locally relevant pizza shops.

The challenge is, there will be 12 of them, if not more, that show up in the result.

So the searcher has some choices to make, and the reality is, they may never make it to your website because they chose a pizza shop that’s closest to their location. The more competition in your market, the fewer clicks and conversions you’re going to get, that’s just the simple fact of the matter.

There are only a few spots at the top of Google results. Even if your website is meticulously optimized, it’s still very hard to consistently outrank 10+ local competitors.

Now, if you were only one of three pizza shops in town, worst case scenario, you’re going to get 33.33% of the traffic share (100 searches per month example), and could potentially add 33 new customers that month, in addition to your current customers.

That is the great thing about search, but also the bad thing. Because Google is going to show so many other competitors, it can make a real impact on your ability to generate traffic and leads online.

We always tell our clients, the more competitive your industry and local markets are, the more you need to do online. You can’t just rely on SEO and a website. We’ll be doing a “part two” to this article soon that will cover many different ways to generate local buzz, and build better brand awareness.

2.) You’re not advertising and/or promoting your website enough (or at all)

At the end of day, your website is another tool in your business toolbox. It needs to be picked up and used as such. Too many people fire up a website and expect it to reach out and grab business off the internet, and that’s simply not how it works.

Yes, a good, well built website can help people find you online. Did you catch the two important words? “Find you”. What a lot of people conveniently forget is, people need to actually search for what you’re selling, before they ever find your website.

Websites do not find searchers. Searchers find websites.

A lot of people seem to forget that, and that is the biggest part of the equation that you simply cannot control. You cannot make people search for what you sell, but yet that is the single largest factor in capturing website traffic.

Unless you are proactively using your website as a tool, you’re always going to be at the mercy of search volume you can’t control, and other local competitors, and the hard truth is, you likely won’t get enough search traffic to create the consistent stream of leads you desire.

If your traffic and/or lead volume is low, check to see how many people are actually searching each month for the products/services you are selling in your area. If the volume is low, your website is never going to out-perform low search volume, so look for other ways to leverage your site, like creating and sharing useful content to social media platforms, running contests, creating videos, and more.

Remember, don’t ask what your website can do for you, ask what you can do for your website.

3.) Your website has technical and/or structural design issues

I could name hundreds of different technical pieces of the website quality puzzle. There are so many different things to check for and check off your optimization list, it’s mind boggling. The problem is, the average business owner isn’t aware of 99% of them, and thus, there are millions of websites on the web that have many different issues, from minor to major.

For the sake of time and your attention span, I’m not going to go through every single one of them, but I’ll list several of the more obvious ones below.

Page Speed

Page speed has always been a thing, but over the past 5 year or so, it’s really become an overly hyped up thing, and has even created an entire economy of sorts within the digital marketing ecosystem.

From caching & optimization plugins to hosting providers and page speed services, there is no shortage of people trying to sell you stuff that could make your website faster. It is in fact true that a faster website can reduce your bounce rate which can lead to more conversions, so it’s not something you want to ignore.

There are several things that can really have a major negative impact on site speed:

  • Cheap shared hosting (don’t skimp on your hosting trust me)
  • Too many images, and too many images that are not optimized/compressed
  • Too many embedded resources (videos, calendars, forms, popups, etc.)
  • Pages that are too long with too many different elements (DOM issues)
  • Too many installed scripts (tracking, analytics, 3rd party services, etc.)

There are many more than this, and if you really want to freak yourself out, you can run your site through a page speed test like Google’s own Page Speed Insights tool.

Just understand that tools like this are simulators and do not represent real-world browsing conditions, so don’t fall to the ground when you see that you don’t have a perfect score. Take the results you see with a grain of salt as they are simulated based on Google Chrome data (field data) and man-made scoring metrics (lab data).

There are actually a lot of sites that get bad Page Speed scores that are still physically fast in the real world.

Robots.txt optimization/issues

The robots.txt file is a file that lives at the root of your website that controls how search engines crawl your site. It allows you to fine tune the way search engines crawl content on your site, and is pretty important to get right.

Time and time again, we’ve seen websites where the entire site was set to no-index, basically telling Google, “don’t crawl and save the content on my site to the internet”. This is obviously a big deal and can make your website completely invisible to Google and other search engines.

If you have analytics properly configured and installed on your site, and haven’t seen any traffic over the last 30-60 days, you very likely have an indexation problem where Google may not be able to see and store your site, and the robots.txt file is the first place you’d want to check.

Mobile responsiveness issues

If you weren’t aware, roughly 65% of all traffic on the web comes from mobile devices. Yet there are still millions of websites that are completely unoptimized for mobile. It goes without saying that when over half of all traffic comes from mobile, having an old-school site, or a site that isn’t optimized for mobile is a major problem.

Make sure your most important pages are built properly for mobile. Important content should be above the fold (especially forms and other calls-to-action), and you should hide other content that isn’t important from loading at the mobile level.

Call-to-Action (CTA) issues

It should seem pretty obvious that if you want a visitor to take a certain action on your site, that you should have a button, form other other CTA prompting them to do just that. Yet there are a ton of sites that get this wrong.

Sites with too much text, too many images, but no clear CTA. Or worse, sites where literally every element on the page looks like a CTA, so the visitor doesn’t understand what to do because everything looks like a CTA.

If your website isn’t just informational and you are selling products or services, make it very easy and obvious for a visitor to get to those important pages.

Put CTAs strategically throughout your site, like in the header, footer, sidebar, and internal pages/posts.

Don’t make everything look like a CTA. Make sure your main CTA stands out from everything else!

If your lead volume is down, you should definitely re-evaluate your main value proposition and CTAs.

Form length issues

The number of questions you put in your contact/estimate/quote forms matter….a lot.

If you have more than 7-10 questions in your main visitor-facing form, especially if you’re asking for personal information like DOB, age, gender, etc., your form completion rate, and thus conversion rate, will plummet very quickly.

Make sure to keep your forms short, and ask for very easy information at first.

You can always send the visitor/prospect to a longer form after you’ve gathered their basic information. Don’t try to ask for too much. Remember, cold traffic/visitors are complete strangers, and should be treated that way.

Just like you wouldn’t want to divulge too much info to a stranger, neither do your website visitors.

4.) Google is siphoning your traffic with “zero-click” searches

This is a massive deal that isn’t getting any better. Ugh.

A lot of people don’t realize this, but the fact is, Google doesn’t want users leaving their platform — like ever. The longer someone stays within a Google “property”, the higher the likelihood is that they will click an ad, which is Googles’ primary means of revenue generation.

Because of this, Google has changed its algorithm significantly over the past several years to provide more relevant answers within the search query itself. This gives the user what they’re looking for much faster, and often times, gives them no reason to click through to a website to find their answer.

This is what’s called a “zero-click” search, and this has become a major issue for many websites because the user doesn’t have a reason to click to a site, and thus, that is significant lost traffic for millions of websites on the internet.

It’s been estimated that over half of Google searches end without a click. That is MAJOR!

You can’t convert a visitor into a lead or customer if they don’t have a reason to visit your website to begin with (because Google is providing the answer for you).

There used to be a point in time where if you wanted to see what the weather would be one day, you had to visit a weather website to get that information. Google is now giving you the weather in the search result.

Try it now for yourself… go to Google and type in “weather in [city name]”, and see what happens. You won’t have to leave Google.

This is also the case for other types of searches like restaurant menus, directions to a location, services, products, pricing, and much more.

Zero-click searches are single handedly one of the biggest reasons why websites are losing traffic and/or lead volume. When you also consider how much web traffic is actually generated by bots, and not real humans, you can understand why quality website traffic and lead volume can suffer so much.

5.) Your Google Business Profile is weak (or doesn’t exist)

When someone searches for a local business or service, the first thing they’ll see in the search results are ads. The second thing they’ll see is what’s called the “map pack” which are the first three, and most locally relevant businesses correlated to what they person searched for.

Those map pack results are almost exclusively driven by your Google Business Profile (GBP). For those not familiar, the GBP is Googles’ free business listing platform. It allows businesses to create a free profile (a.k.a. “citation”) with all of their relevant business contact information, services, products, etc..

Google then uses that information (mostly the physical location of the business) to show that business in certain local search results.

The GBP is another one of those Google “properties” that I just talked about that siphons traffic away from websites. It can give searchers most, if not all of the information they need without having to visit that business’s website.

For all intents and purposes, the GBP is basically a website in and of itself, that can actually compete against your own website. Good times right? Gotta love Big G!

Ironically, while the GBP can take traffic away from sites, it can, and normally is actually one of the biggest sources of website traffic, particularly from local searches.

If your GBP is weak or doesn’t exist, your website won’t get the overflow traffic from your profile, and your lead volume might decrease, especially if you’re a local or service based business.

Make sure you have the proper business category and sub-categories, and all of your services dialed in. And obviously, make sure you have all the correct business contact information, especially the correct website URL in your profile, so if someone wants to visit your site, they’re taken to the right place. You’d be surprised how many people get that wrong.


The knee-jerk reaction for most people when their lead volume is down is to blame their website and/or webmaster.

While those two things could very well be part of the problem, business owners need to take a broader view of the situation, because there are so many factors that go into traffic & lead generation, and there are definitely more than five reasons a website could be losing traffic and leads.

If you don’t have a good webmaster, marketer, or website developer, feel free to book a call with us! We’ve been in the digital marketing space for what feels like forever, and have seen and done it all. We offer many different services from hosting, speed optimization, web development, and full-service digital marketing management, so give us a shout!