I Critiqued 52 websites Last Week, Here are the 5 Most Common Blunders People Make (How many are you making?)

Yep you read that right, I did critique 52 websites in the last week (and a half) and it was just awesome….except that there was a lot of tea and cookies (some for encouragement, some for celebration) and even though I can still feel a few cookie crumbs stuck in my keyboard as I type this, I am so glad I put myself through that drill; it was extremely insightful and was loads of fun.

This post however isn’t about the cookies or the bucket loads of tea or even the mild panic attacks I had when I felt like I was not going to meet my (self-imposed) deadline.

This post is about the patterns that I saw again and again AND again on these websites. Some that seem very innocent, cute even, but can only be described as persuasion blunders and very expensive blunders at that.

So without further ado, here are the five most common blunders I came across and I hope and pray you aren’t making the same in your own landing pages:

 Blunder No. 1- Failing The 50 Words Test:

I have a test that I use for my clients and I call it the 50 words test and basically this is what it means:

When someone lands on your page never having heard of you before, can your page answer these 3 questions in the first 50 words?

  • Who is this website for?
  • What exact pain points does it solve?
  • Why should they care?

Look at this great example from Fresh Books on how to pass the 50 Word Test like a fucking ninja!


 Blunder No. 2- Not Earning the Right to Sell:

Think of it this way, you got to woo people who come to your page…people who when they land on your page are most likely looking to solve a problem without having to shell in any money.

When you write copy, you not only guide what your visitors do – you also guide what they think about.

When you mention the problem they think of the problem, when you mention the solution, yes they think of the solution….and when you mention the price, just like that all they can think about is the price.

You don't want this to happen, not unless you want the whole process to become a numbers game.

How to Avoid Making This Blunder:

Bring up the price only after you have mentally sold them your solution.

List down all possible questions/objections they could possibly have about your offering, answer them, show them evidence (testimonials etc.), have them experience the offering in action (maybe through an explainer video similar to the one Stacey is using here and that works wonderfully).

Let them dream a bit of how their life will change with your solution. Then and only then you get to ask them for the sale.

You yourself would never buy anything without adequate information, yet you think it is perfectly OK to stick that Buy Now button only after a couple of sentences. Weird no?

Blunder No. 3- A Meaningless Call to Action:

Yes there is such a thing as meaningless call to action. Things like:

  • Get on my mailing list
  • Sign up for our newsletter
  • Subscribe via email

These calls do not inspire action and are therefore meaningless. When you want people to take an action, you need to make it meaningful, compelling and exciting so that the person cannot help but take that action.

A newsletter, a mailing list or updates are just so nauseatingly uninspiring that I would hesitate to take action even if it means free food (and that’s saying A LOT)

How to Avoid Making This Blunder:

Make the action so enticing so exciting and tempting that the visitor has to take it or regret that decision for days to come. You want their brain to send this message:

“Oh wow I have to grab this now, attach myself like a leech to this site or I may never find it again!”

Does your call to action do that?

 Blunder No. 4- Asking for Too many Things:

For a page that people are most likely to land on, possibly the worst mistake you can make is to ask for too many things. Take a look at this page:



Disclaimer: This is not one of the pages I critiqued, just something I found on the internet.

This is a disaster in the sense that a random visitor has no idea what action to take first. If she is looking for information, she would be pulled in so many different directions and opening so many simultaneous tabs that she may end up not reading through any of these and not taking any action.

How to Avoid Making This Blunder:

The above most happens when people aren’t crystal clear on what exactly they want from their pages.

First thing you need is to define a singular objective for your page and then ask them to only do things that help you achieve that objective. Everything else should be there but only as an afterthought. Your “ask” should be only to get you to achieve your objective.

Blunder No. 5- Not asking for the Action at all:

This is another one of the things I found very common, especially in the case of business owners that are averse to selling. They hate selling so much that they have convinced themselves that if someone wants to buy from them, they will find a way.

They avoid pop-ups, slide-ins, everything that could prompt an action, they are basically content with a lone sign up button somewhere in the sidebar or hidden in the footer.

Now I do understand the sentiment behind this, but my issue is this:

If you have gone to the trouble of making a website, you obviously believe in your talent and its ability to help others. Why would you then deprive people of the chance to benefit?

How to Avoid Making This Blunder:

Here’s the thing, firstly, getting people on your list is the easiest way to sell to them and secondly, people need to be nudged multiple times before they take an action. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with nudging them as long as you are adding value, in fact you would be doing them a favor by giving them one more chance of benefitting from signing up.

See how many times, John Corcoran is asking you to opt in on his page and he is FAR more influential in his field than me and you:

Optin Options

So, did you cringe and curl your toes as you read this or did you gloat with pride because you are not making ANY of these mistakes? Or are you one of those (like me) who are fully aware of these conversion blunder but do these anyway?

Leave a comment and let me know!

5 common website mistakes5 common website mistakes you are probably making.


  1. melissa on September 16, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Thank you for this excellent advice. I am Still working on mine and have not opened it yet… will definitely apply your tips. Thank you.

    • bushra.a on September 17, 2014 at 7:06 am

      Hey Melissa

      Hey good luck…reach out any time if you need some handholding 🙂

  2. Tiffany Marie on September 16, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Great article! I am in the process of creating a few different websites and your website will be such an excellent resource!

    • bushra.a on September 17, 2014 at 7:08 am

      Thanks Tiffany and OHEMGEE I had no idea you were behind Table19stock, I have a massive crush on your site and I heard about it from a completely unrelated source. Wow!

  3. Dinnae on October 14, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    So true! We even have these issues (some) on our site, because we’re the plumber with the leaky faucet: we spend so much time working on other peoples’ sites, we never work on ours. :O Big bad boo-boo.

    I do have to say – that screen shot of Corcoran’s site makes me want to hurl. 4 CTAs? THAT is icky icky salesly crap. Oh, and how many times his ebook has been downloaded? Really? Yes I guess it works, but it leaves me feeling slimy. Just my 2 c. 😉

    Thanks Bushra! 🙂

    • bushra.a on October 17, 2014 at 8:24 am

      Thanks so much Dinnae and love your insight too. The screenshot I took was after all the opt-in were activated but they are timed quite smartly so it doesn’t seem as disruptive. That said, there is a reason I myself am holding out on the right hand slider and the exit-intent popup…slime doesn’t go down too well for me either 😉

  4. Kristi on October 15, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article! I am working on my call to action page, and my website. Being a coach, personal trainer, and motivational speaker, trying to design my website too, can be overwhelming! This gave me great insight 🙂 Thanks

    • bushra.a on October 17, 2014 at 8:21 am

      Hey Kristi (Dear) your website name made my day 🙂

      Glad you found this useful!

  5. Lacey on January 4, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    I’ve been so hesitant to add a pop-up because I don’t want people to be annoyed when they come to my site. Arg!
    But, personally I don’t mind the funny & well-done ones. Like your pop-up Bushra isn’t annoying!
    I will have to work on this. 🙂

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