Bugger…. If you’re here then something bad has happened. But not necessarily something that is hard to fix. If your website is still getting the same amount of traffic but your conversion rates have bottomed out throw out the thoughts of buyer behaviour, seasonality and new competitors and go through these basics first.
1. Broken Links, 404’s
This is so obvious but it has to be here because it has made so many marketing managers look like idiots. Check the actual urls to see if they are live.
2. Tracking Codes
It might seem obvious but is your tracking working properly? A good way to check this is to use ‘Tag Assistant by Google’ Chrome extension and work through your conversion funnel checking each step yourself.
3. IT Problems
Are you just not receiving conversions? Get your team to check their spam folders and run a sendmail test on your web servers. Ring your own phone numbers and mystery shop your own call centers. Make sure you do this from a number of devices and use a variety of email addresses.
Check your webmaster tools notices for malware warnings but still check the site yourself and do it from multiple regions in multiple browsers – some hacks actually use user agent referrers to only present malware to visitors from search engines (or even only AdWords) or only mobile devices making them not as immediately noticeable to site owners, so enter your site via search engines and click on your own ads and browse your own site for a few minutes and do this from a number of devices and browsers.
5. SSL certificates
It is very common for business owners to forget to renew their SSL certificate and while you might not notice yourself some of your users can have a warning appear in their browser that says ‘unsafe site ahead’ which obviously will put them off converting.
6. Ad Copy Changes or Disapprovals
If you are running multiple ads in your PPC campaigns the advertising networks can actually decide a particular ad is more profitable for them than another and stop serving your high converting ad all together. Check any ad that has had a drop in traffic in the date range that you are seeing a drop in conversions.
7. Organic Landing Page
I have avoided listing causes which might cause a drop in traffic AND conversion rate but it can be common for Google to change which page of your website is serving for a particular keyword in your organic rankings. For instance if you have a blog post you have written on the same topic as a commercial page that somehow gained a lot of popularity you might find your info page serving in organic listings instead of your commercial, converting page.
8. Design, Form or Copy Changes
Audit your website change history and pay particular attention to any headlines, banners or form field changes that may have taken place. Presuming you are looking at a drastic conversion rate drop then these really are the only elements that could cause it. One of the most common is the sales team deciding they need to add an obscure required field to a conversion form without investigating the impact that this might have.
9. Campaign Parameter Change
Presuming roughly equal traffic the key things to check first are campaign settings. Key things to look for are your geographic settings, traffic sources and device. Did someone update the Australia setting to Austria? It has happened. Was a key search campaign turned off? Or did a bid adjustment suddenly use all your budget on mobile?.
10. Get a second opinion
One thing I have learnt from employing and meeting so many online marketers is the only thing they love more than talking about themselves is proving their expertise on a problem like this. Get a professional to look over the problem, or get a few professional to do it.
Can we assist?
If you are struggling with a sudden conversion rate drop please let us know, we would be more than happy to see how we could assist you.
Do you have any other tips to add? Let me know in the comments below!