How to Build a Website that Doesn't Convert

by Daniel Kosir May 5th, 2014 

anti-conversion-web-page

Are you annoyed with all the traffic coming into your website? I get it. You don't want traffic during your commute, so why would you want it on your website? Lucky for you, there's a foolproof way to make those pesky visitors click the Back button on their browser with haste.

Set the world record for highest bounce rate! Come ridiculously close to a conversion rate that's in the negatives! Average time spent on your web pages? Get those babies down to under a second!

Here's how to build the most atrociously awful website that guarantees little to no conversions. By putting these into action, you'll spend less time dealing with meaningful metrics and qualified leads ­- freeing up your schedule so you can binge watch Netflix.

1. Your Navigation Menu Should Be More Confusing Than 'The Tree Of Life'

Terrence Malick made this mind-bending mess, and he is heralded as an auteur. You too can reach this status (albeit for websites instead of movies). How? By making your navigation so frustratingly confusing that people are immediately turned off and decide to go elsewhere: just as so many people walked out of the movie theatre to get their money back for The Tree of Life.

Make sure that you don't have any real site hierarchy. Bury important pages way down in the menu, list your blog under services, get rid of any logical linking structures – in other words, make sure your website is insanely difficult to navigate. People don't want to put in the time to sleuth around, so your visitors will be sure to go to a different website to find what they're looking for, guaranteed.

2. You Should Be Purposely Vague

If you want people to stay on your website, you should clearly state what it is you do. But, if you want people to leave, you should do the opposite. If a visitor can come to your homepage and understand your purpose without a million questions popping into their head, you're doing it wrong. Utter, complete confusion is what you're aiming for. I like empty phrases and jargon-filled copy, because it's especially meaningless and annoying. For example: "Company X provides results-oriented business solutions that will help promote synergy and increase organizational efficiency." Nailed it.

3. Your Site Speed Should Make Dial-up Seem Fast

Nobody likes to wait for pages to load. So give them what they don't want! Unbelievably slow page loading times. How? Use tons of images with huge file sizes, maximize JavaScript files, and make sure to keep unused CSS on your pages. Just make sure that the number of bytes a visitor has to download to view the page is obnoxiously large. The slower it is, the better.

4. Your Ctas Should Be Boring, Irrelevant, Or Even Non-existent

Do you have clear, compelling calls-to-action? Get rid of those and replace them with the most boring, irrelevant CTAs you can dream up. If you sell software, provide a button that offers a coupon for air duct cleaning: be as useless and unhelpful as you can. And make sure the CTAs don't stand out from the background of your page. Better yet, why not get rid of them altogether? Offer the fewest number of conversion points you possibly can, and leave your visitors with the choice of being stranded on a single page, or bouncing off.

There are plenty of ways to make a website that doesn't convert; the above are just a few methods. Here are some other awesomely terrible conversion de-optimization tips:

  • Have an FAQ page that only says "Q: What is Love?…A: Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more" over and over.
  • Use as much text and as few images as possible. Make it denser than War and Peace.
  • Add a neon splash page a la 1995.

    It's easy to make your site absolutely terrible – the possibilities are virtually endless. What are you waiting for? Get cracking and stop converting!

  • Daniel Kosir

    Daniel is a Content Writer at Search Engine People. He is always experimenting with new formats and looking for creative ways to produce, optimize and promote content. He previously wrote for CanadaOne Magazine and helped create and implement online marketing strategies at Mongrel Media.

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