4 Biggest Website Design & Conversion Faux Pas in Internet Marketing

By Chad H. Pollitt
Internet Marketing Manager
Internet Marketing Expert
Digital Hill Multimedia, Inc.
Chad Pollitt

Website Design & Conversion Mistakes

During my Internet Marketing career I’ve been fortunate enough to work with and be exposed to many different companies, agencies, designers and internet marketing professionals.  Some of which are considered international leaders in the internet marketing community while others talk a mean game, but fall very short on results.  Each and every person has their own idea of what makes a successful website.  This experience has allowed me to test and verify dozens of concepts and ideas on the best way to design a website that converts as many people as possible.

What I’ve found isn’t rocket science.  It can be summed up in one word – Simplicity.  Less truly is more.  Unfortunately, most web development companies want to sell you a big bloated website with lots of pages, functionality and links because they can charge more for it.  Even if it’s a detriment to your website conversion performance.  The below concepts are so obvious it baffles me when internet marketing professionals ignore them. 

People go to the web for two reasons only: 

To be entertained or to solve a problem -> QUICKLY.


1.  Establishing the number one goal of the website and making it the biggest eye catching callout on the homepage. 

If your core competency is plumbing then there should be a big fat “Schedule Your Plumbing Appointment Today” callout, or something to that effect, and not a small text link that is buried in a list of a bunch of minor services you provide.  This callout should present a phone number and contain a link to a contact page or an actual form on the callout to capture email addresses.  Why is email capture so important?  What other “tangible” asset can a non-ecommerce website provide a plumber?  Email addresses have a monetary value and by having a visitor’s email address you keep them in your sales funnel until they opt out.

2.  In less than a second it should be completely obvious what the website is for. 

Whether this is done graphically, with large text or both, it is critical that a website visitor knows exactly what they can expect from a website within .6 seconds.  Also, don’t use industry jargon to communicate this message.  Remember, your visitors have a problem and they’ve gone to your site for a solution.  If they understood your jargon they wouldn’t be on your site.  This message should be displayed above the fold.  Flash can be used, but correctly and sparingly.

3.  Don’t try to make your website everything to everybody and stick to your core competencies. 

This will frustrate your visitors because they’ll easily get lost in all of the navigation you present them with.  You only have four seconds to get someone to click on a link.  Most website’s function like sales funnels, but if that funnel has 50 different entry points on the home page you’ll cause the visitor to have to sort through them.  Drop down navigation is notorious for this.  Remember, people are on your site for entertainment or to solve a problem.  Most companies are in the business of solving problems so solve them quickly without making your visitors hover over 10 drop down menus to figure out where they need to go.

4.  Offer and test UVPs and/or Moral Bribes. 

If you have a non-ecommerce website and don’t have a unique value proposition or moral bribe than you are basically crossing your fingers and hoping the phone rings.  What if that person never goes back to your site?  If you would have collected their email address with a UVP or moral bribe you could continue to market to that person whether they go back to your website or not.  If someone is on your website because they have a problem than offer them something of unique value to help them solve their problem in exchange for an email address.  Never expect the classic, “sign up for my newsletter” to significantly grow your email database in internet marketing.