What Barriers Prevent Engagement and Conversion?

The process of getting more visitors to engage with your website’s content or convert during a visit to your website is often thought of in terms of all the stuff you should add: What new buttons could help get people to click? What new features could get people to engage? Would more people engage if I added pictures or videos? To get people to read this article, should I add more text to it? And on the questions go of all the things you could possibly add that could, potentially, improve engagement or conversion rates.

But…

As an alternative, what could you remove? Where do you have too much text or too many images? Where do have features that get in people’s way of using your website?

The more stuff you have crammed into your design and text, the greater your chances that all that stuff will look cluttered and be rather confusing for a visitor. The more confusing and more cluttered it looks, the greater barrier it presents to visitors. Visitors who do engage or convert have to push through this barrier. For instance, they have to work harder to pay attention to the text instead of the brightly-colored animated GIFs you’ve added to the page. Or, visitors have to stop reading through your text in order to turn off the auto-play video. Or, there is just so much text that visitors aren’t sure where to begin to get the answer to the question they are facing.

Of course, many visitors will simply leave your website instead of trying to push through these barriers. Your website simply contains too many barriers and presents too great a challenge. By removing some of that stuff, and keeping only the absolute essentials, you reduce the barriers may actually see a greater increase in conversions or engagement.

How do you know what is or isn’t essential? You can make some assumptions based on what you see people clicking on or scrolling to—heatmaps are a great source of this information. But, split tests can also be a helpful way of determining this too—run one version of your page crammed full of all the stuff compared to another version of your page with some of that stuff removed, then see which performs best.

Simpler, barrier-free websites are often better at driving more engagements and conversions. If you need help finding your website’s barriers, please consider ordering a copy of my book or requesting a free strategy session with me.