If your conversion rates leave something to be desired, go line up the following suspects to ID your website conversion killers!

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Mobile Overlays

I never thought I would add overlays to a list of conversion killers, but this is one of the most overlooked conversion killers. Numerous case studies have shown the power of overlays and despite all the flak overlays get from the community, they work.

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In this study by WhichTestWon, they found that overlays (when used properly) generate positive impact for marketers.

In order to get around the annoyance factor, it’s crucial that you test the best way to trigger overlays via advanced segmentation. It’s pretty embarrassing to trigger a "Welcome" message to a customer who visits your site weekly.

Since overlays have become a major marketing asset, many companies stick an overlay on their site without doing any mobile experience management. If you use overlays as a demand generation solution, do yourself a huge favor and check if it is appearing for mobile visitors. If it is triggered on mobile, stop it immediately!

CTA Confusion

The CTA (call-to-action) is arguably the most important part of any page. The CTA must stand out, be assertive, and be concise. Most web pages have multiple CTAs and that’s fine in most cases. However, you need to set a visual hierarchy that highlights your primary CTA.

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Here is one of the many copy and CTA tests run by Michael Aagard, look at how a single word can impact conversions. For additional examples of CTA tests, check out this article.

Different visual tricks that make will make your primary CTA stand out include a larger size, a button color that stands out from your standard theme, and "Get…" copy, e.g., "Get Your Free eBook." Make sure to verify what works best via A/B testing!

Vague Headlines

Writing copy is hard, and the closer we are to our product or service, the more difficult it becomes. If a visitor can’t figure out what to do on that page within five seconds, you’re hosed.

Never get too cutesy with your headlines. Start with clarity, and then add the marketing dazzle. When adding that extra dazzle, I suggest using advanced segmentation to generate a unique headline for each segment with web personalization.

Animated Sliders

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This slider has 4 massive images with varying CTAs. It is set to a timer and even changes if you select a particular slider using the slide selector.

It’s no secret that the website optimization community hates auto-rotating sliders. I’ve seen dozens of tests that involved an auto-rotating slider, and the sliders lost every time. If you have a slider on your site, please rethink your strategy. I could write an entire post about why sliders are so crummy, but I’ll limit myself to two reasons:

  1. Any motion will interrupt the visitor’s experience decimating the visitor conversion rate. Visitors already have tons of distractions outside of your site so don’t add any more!

  2. A slider will negatively impact site load time. Increasing site speed is one of the best bounce prevention methods. Most sliders are created using JavaScript, which loads synchronously, i.e., other aspects of your page are on hold until the several very large images in your slider finish loading.

Stock Photos

Photography is one of the most persuasive elements on your page. The photo will immediately draw the eye and set the bar for your visitor’s experience.

The image selection process is tough, do you splurge on in-house photography or do you use stock photography? Most companies go for the latter due to budgetary constraints. Unfortunately adding a stock photo on your site could hurt your credibility.

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We’ve all seen this stock image before, and it is still being added to sites "as is." This image will be recognized, and it will cheapen your marketing message. For a more thorough analysis of stock photos, I recommend reading this article.

Now that you’ve seen these major conversion killers, go back to your site and make sure these aren’t hurting conversions on your site.


Named one of the top 25 most influential CRO professionals, Justin Rondeau has spent his entire career working on optimization campaigns and has helped train some of the leading optimization teams at Fortune 500 companies. Rondeau has run hundreds of tests for both B2B and e-commerce brands and has analyzed 3,000+ split tests across virtually every industry.