Are you writing dead end conversion pages?

Does your content send your readers on the road to nowhere?

I wrote this post in 2011 and realized it needed updating. I hope you enjoy the revised version! – Heather To paraphrase the Talking Heads – is your content sending your readers on the road to nowhere? You see this issue frequently pop up in blog posts. Although the site navigation is there, the body copy is link-free – and there’s nothing that encourages readers to go deeper into the site. There’s no link to a related web page. There are no sales page links. From a conversion perspective, the content is a dead-end. Granted, some pages (like squeeze pages) are built like this on purpose. Their purpose is to force the reader to take a particular action. However, what I’m talking about is regular site content – for instance, FAQ content, blog posts and articles. Here’s what I mean.

This is a clip from the STOTT Pilates FAQ page: This content is targeted to Pilates fanatics who are willing to pay more for professional home equipment. STOTT Pilates equipment is high end and extremely expensive – which is why the copy blurb is trying to differentiate STOTT equipment from lower price consumer models. The challenge is, the content doesn’t tell the reader what they should do next (a bad sales mistake.) It doesn’t link to their equipment page for more information. The copy doesn’t go anywhere.  From a conversion perspective, it’s a dead end. Here’s an old screen shot from SodaStream: SodaStream   If you’re a sparkling water addict like I am, these machines are awesome! You may have even gotten excited while reading the copy, thinking, “I want to check out the price right now.” But you can’t – not without clicking on the nav. There’s no hyperlink leading you to the next conversion step. The copy is a dead end. (I’m pleased to note that SodaStream has since added links. Well done!) How do you fix dead end pages? It’s so simple. Whenever applicable, add a call to action link to your copy. Here’s all it would take in the SodaStream example: “Find the home soda maker that’s perfect for you.” (link to product page.) The STOTT Pilates FAQ blurb could end with, “Check out our Pilates equipment catalog” and link to the equipment page. If they ran a sale, I’d mention the sale in the link, “STOTT equipment for up to 40% off.” It’s really as easy as that. You don’t need to beat the reader over the head. Just a simple link will do. Wait! These aren’t sales pages. Why should I care? Because you should always care. :) Granted, articles and FAQ pages are geared towards folks in the “research” phase of the buy cycle. These people may not be quite ready to buy – but they are checking out options. Adding a non-obtrusive call to action may move the reader along the conversion path a tad faster. How can I find dead-end pages? This is the hard part. There’s no easy way to do this, other than manually reviewing a site’s pages and looking for links. Here are the pages you’ll want to evaluate first:

  • Your most trafficked blog posts
  • Any FAQ or article page that discusses a popular product or service – especially if that page is positioning well.

If you’re a freelancer, this is a service you can sell to your clients (you can even combine it with an SEO content audit.) If you’re in charge of your company’s site, set aside 15 minutes a day to find and fix the pages. Depending on the site’s size, you could complete the project in an hour – or it may take you a couple months to complete everything. Don’t let your pages feel the dead end blues. Adding appropriate action-oriented hyperlinks helps your reader find related information, learn more about your company – and yes, encourage them to purchase from you. As my father used to say, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get” – and you always want to ask for the sale. Photo thanks to © La Fabrika Pixel S.l. | Dreamstime.com Speaking of a call to action…if you like this post, please consider subscribing to the SEO Copywriting Buzz newsletter! I send it out every Tuesday and it’s full of actionable writing and business-building tips.

20 replies
  1. Amy C. Teeple
    Amy C. Teeple says:

    First, I must confess that I have a soda maker from SodaStream. However, I was lured in at the San Diego Fair, not the website. :-)

    When it comes to websites, I think that although not every page is a “sales” page, each page should have calls to action and links to related pages.

    If you want people to take action, make it easy for them to do it.

    As always, great post Heather!

    Reply
    • Heather
      Heather says:

      Amy – thanks for your feedback. Aren’t SodaStreams great? I love my SodaStream so much that I take it with me when I travel (except on a plane.) :)

      Now if they would only let me help them with their site….. :)

      Reply
  2. Nancy Murray
    Nancy Murray says:

    Excellent points and such a simple thing to implement, sometimes it’s so easy to miss the glaringly obvious. I’ll be going over our websites today looking for dead end pages.

    Reply
  3. Laura Crest
    Laura Crest says:

    I usually refrain from commenting on your posts, being the editor of such, but this one simply rocks in its simplicity and immediate do-ability! Think I might just inch on over to my own site now…. 😉

    Reply
  4. Heather
    Heather says:

    Hehe, Laura, I’m sure your site doesn’t have any dead-end pages. And if it did…I’m sure they’re gone now (and I’ll never tell a soul!) 😉

    Reply
  5. Billee Brady
    Billee Brady says:

    Hi Heather,

    You make a great point here and this info couldn’t be more valuable to the blogger.
    I think it’s a great idea to have the end on mind before you even create the content.
    “The Call To Action”
    Thanks,
    Billee Brady

    Reply
  6. Leo
    Leo says:

    Content writing is not easy for sure. When you’re writing topics that doesn’t have conclusions yet it’s difficult to make it more conversational to the readers.Dead -end conversation pages are really not easy to tackle.

    Reply
  7. Cheryl Williams
    Cheryl Williams says:

    Clients who have “always done it this way” don’t understand the value of updated and refreshed copy. Your illustrations and pointers make it clear. I have a client who can benefit from these actionable steps. Thanks Heather! This article goes into my “Best practices” file.

    Reply
    • Heather Lloyd-Martin
      Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      Thanks great! Thanks, @Cheryl and @Kammy – have fun working on your pages (and your clients’ pages, too!) :)

      Reply
  8. Andy Green
    Andy Green says:

    Heather,

    This is fantastic information and you offer some great tips. We periodically look at our traffic to see which pages might be “dead end” pages. While this can take time, it is well worth it because the user experience while on our law website and blog is very important to us.

    Jesse Wojdylo introduced me to your blog and I must say that I am glad he enforced this as recommended reading. Keep up the great work!

    Andy Green

    Reply
    • Heather Lloyd-Martin
      Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      Thanks, @Andy! It looks like I owe Jesse a thank you, too! Thanks for letting me know he sent you over.

      :)

      Reply

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  2. […] “Dead end” pages (pages that don’t link out to related pages) can stop your readers dead in their tracks. Want to avoid this? Read more about “dead end” Web pages. […]

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