Avoid costly website leakage mistakes that are easy to fix

A few years ago, we had a client that hired us to improve the landing page conversion rate for one of their leadership coaching programs.

Their landing page had a great offer, the copywriting was great.  The design looked ok, and they offered FREE Tony Robbins training!

HOWEVER, their conversions were about 25% down on their expectations, despite all their efforts…

It was costing them money.

They had invested a lot in building their program; they knew they had a great offer and they were also investing in pay-per-click advertising to put their program in front of well-chosen prospects.

Fortunately, they had good analytics installed, so we used them to maximum advantage.

Here’s what the numbers revealed:

Their analytics showed us that they had decent traffic however, people were visiting a range of other pages on their website because the visitors had questions:

• they wanted to know more about the people who were offering the training.
• they wanted to know more about the content of the training.
• they wanted to know about their privacy policy and their trading terms.

There were visitors clicking on the logo at the top of the page that took them to the home page, to see what else they did – they never came back to the offer page!

There were visitors who went off to read their blog and never came back.

There were visitors exploring the social links in the footer and never came back.

There were visitors clicking through to privacy and terms pages and never came back.

There watched the video, clicked on the YouTube logo, and never came back.

Overall, to get the answers to specific questions, those visitors were clicking links that took them to other pages and out to social sites AND THEY DIDN’T COME BACK!

Their cool-looking, the well-written landing page was leaking like a sieve!

So we fixed it by turning it into a mini-site and plugged all the leaks by using almost all of the techniques below…

The key message is: Don’t send traffic AWAY from your landing page

In our experience, one surprisingly common reason your visitors aren’t taking action is that your web page or website is sending them away.

We’ve analyzed A LOT of client websites and landing pages.  

We’ve seen the different ways that visitors who were interested in a product or service end up clicking on links that take them away from that page or website. 

When does it happen?

Most commonly, it happens when your visitor is trying to find more information about your offer, then they get distracted, usually by a distraction that you created.

The farther away you take your users from your desired action step, the less likely they are to take action. And it’s a real problem that most business owners don’t realize they have.

We call these ‘leakage points’.

Leakage points are areas of your website or landing page that send viewers away from your desired outcome, call-to-action (CTA) button, or another action step.

Essentially, the main problem caused by leakage points is that your conversion rate goes down. 

Here are some ways to emphasize your action steps and eliminate leakage points:

1. Create a mini-site instead of a single landing page

For our client above that had the conversion issue, we redesigned  those three pages to become a ‘mini-site.’ Here’s a short video of how the mini-site works:

Essentially, the mini-site looks the same as the landing page. The difference is that when a user clicks on a link that would usually send them away from the landing page, instead we send them to a page that has the same CTA as the landing page, at the top and the bottom of each page. 

For the “Privacy Policy” link, for instance, a pop-up appears where the whole privacy policy can be viewed.  When the visitor has seen what they want, they close it – and they’re still on your landing page with your desired next step in front of them.

2. Remove all links to external websites

I see a lot of websites that have social media icons above their top navigation. When pressed they take you off to those platforms. 

Insta footer pop up

If you use videos on your website, be sure to have a paid account with your video hosting platform to prevent people from clicking on the platform’s logo that will leak off to their website. I see a lot of people making that mistake when they embed YouTube videos on their websites. 

3. Remove internal website links

If you’re sending traffic to a page on your website, from ads, social that page should only have one CTA (Call To Action). I know it’s tempting to show your visitors everything that your business offers however, it’s super important to keep the focus on the single reason that you sent them there. 

Home page button

Your home page should be designed to position you as a trusted authority, showcase what you do, back up your claims with social proof, then essentially provide a clear pathway to solving their problems.    segment your visitors or show them

Fix your leaks and you will improve your conversions!

First level troubleshooting

Some simple problems to check for are:

  • Incorrect links. These are more errors instead of bad design, but they’re leakage points all the same. (And they’re surprisingly common.)
    If your users are clicking on your CTA, but your CTA sends them to the wrong place, that’s a leak in your funnel.
  • The browser and device display. Is your website displaying correctly across different browsers and devices? If it isn’t, then your users might not be seeing your website correctly. In effect, they may be paying attention to the wrong links.
  • Too many distractions. Is your landing page cluttered with too much information? Each webpage has to have a clear direction for the user to take. Otherwise, they end up distracted and not following your intended path.

Spotting your website’s leakage points

Leakage points differ per website, as they depend on each website’s design. That’s why, apart from the basic troubleshooting list above, there’s no definitive list of leakage points to avoid.

There are, fortunately, different ways to spot your website’s leakage points. Gathering actionable data is essential in any conversion optimization strategy.

Conduct Usability Testing

Usability tests are where you watch how your visitors interact with your website. They can be done just by getting a group of users in a room and watching what they do.  You can also do usability tests remotely with software tools that record every move your visitor makes on their screen.

(We have a whole blog post on usability testing coming soon).

The beauty of usability testing is that you see exactly what goes wrong. 

Perhaps your users can’t easily see your CTA because it blends into your color scheme?  Maybe they don’t understand your website copy? Or are they getting distracted by your blog or links to other pages on your website? 

Don’t wonder – test and see…

Use Heatmaps

Heatmaps show you which areas of a web page get the most clicks. 

If your users aren’t clicking on your CTAs, what are they clicking on? 

Heatmaps answer that question and show you which photos, videos, links, or buttons get the most attention.

From this information, you can investigate why these areas are more compelling than the ones you WANT your visitors to be clicking on.

What you can do about leakage points

Eliminate leakage points by removing all distractions that don’t lead to the action that you what people to take.

Use your copy and your design to make sure that your preferred action seems like the best or only action to take on your webpage.



Key Takeaways

Leakage points send away your web visitors from your desired action step, often because of confusing design or a technical issue. 

Test your website for leakage – don’t just assume it’s optimized.  Use heat maps, video recordings of your visitors, split testing, and usability testing to find out what’s really going on.

Avoid leakage points by designing around your CTA, minimizing distractions, and potentially utilizing mini-sites.

If you’re using Pay-Per-Click advertising, or if you’ve invested heavily in copy, then don’t let hidden leakage rob you of conversions.

We are a conversion-focused design agency that can help identify leakage points on your site, so feel free to get a free website review here.

Leave a comment below with any more tips on how to remove leakage points from websites.


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