The Top 3 Ways Your Website Design Is Killing Your Email Optins (And How To Fix Them!)

Whenever I work on a new project, this is one of the areas that I spend the most time.

For me, email optins are the marketing equivalent to getting the first date.
~ Without an optin, there’s no chance of knowing whether you’re good for eachother. And definitely no chance you’ll get married!

(you can thank the great Ryan Deiss for this analagy).

But before I get into the reasons you’re not having luck with your optins, I want to tell you what this blog post won’t talk about.

  • I’m not going to tell you that you need a funnel. You probably already know this. And for all I know, you may have one. Or maybe you’re just not ready to implement the whole thing yet.
  • I’m not going to tell you that you need more traffic. Well duh. Traffic almost always = more optins. I’m trying to help you increase conversion rates. More traffic doesn’t necessarily = higher conversion rates. In fact, you want a decent conversion rate before you waste any money on traffic.
  • I’m not going to suggest that you test other optins. Again, this is way obvious! You know this… what you don’t know is how or if you can improve upon what you already have.
  • And I’m not going to tell you how to get more social proof. If you do a good job on your design you can get great optin rates without it!

Besides these are all excellent topics for another blog post. But, I am excited to write posts for these other topics in the near future!

What I do want to talk about are the biggest design mistakes you might be making and the best practices to help you fix them FAST!

I want you get more out of what you’re doing – even if your funnel isn’t perfect, you need more traffic to scale-up, or it’s not the best optin.

Let’s go with whatever you have for now and make it the very best it can be. Then, when it’s working better you can figure out the rest of the funnel, ramp up traffic, or reconsider the optin all-together.

Before you make one single change though, please do the following:

  1. Take a screen cap of your optins – this can include sections of your site (i.e. the footer or end of posts) or entire landing pages.
  2. Determine the optin/conversion rates for each of them.

So, if you’re ready now, let’s dive in! Whatever you do though, make sure to read this whole post and consider them all. Each and every one of these important! Even if you’re getting 1 or 2 right, the 3rd could prove to be invaluable in getting more optins at a better rate!

Reason #1. You aren’t making it easy for people to optin

In the early years of the web, the thing that got me really turned me on was “information architecture” – the art of creating a website that is easy for people to navigate.

The most important thing I learned when I studied information architecture, and what I come back to no matter what I’ve done online this:

The internet makes people stupid. 

Ya Ya. I know you’re smart! I am too!  But let’s face it… With all of the distractions and the reality of how we experience things on the web, simplicity and the obvious-factor is key online!

This has been proven to me over and over again – years later when I managed Adwords accounts at a Digital Agency, on pretty much every client site,  and even on my own blogs.

Obvious. Clear. And Simple is always key to higher optin rates! Do. Not. Forget. This.

Wondering how to make it easier for people to optin on YOUR website though?

It’s SIMPLE.  Invite people to optin in as many places as you can, including:

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed an optin form on a page only to notice it when I see it elsewhere on the page.

So get creative with how and where you show your optin forms. And start showing it multiple times on every page. Just make sure you modify the wording slightly to attract the different emotions that will drive people to optin.

And here’s an important tip – even a landing page can (and will!) benefit by having more than one way for people signup.

Reason #2. Your optin forms and pages aren’t mobile friendly

Did you know that mobile views account for more than 50% of traffic on most sites?

That means that more than 50% of the people who visit YOUR website are looking at it on a phone or table! So, if your optin pages and forms aren’t set up properly, you are alienating 50%+ of the people who visit your site!

GASP. Not good!

I get it. Mobile design tends to be a bit of a pain. Trust me, I know!

BUT, I find that as long as the titles are easy to read on mobile, and filling out the forms is easy half of your battle is done. 

Does the cost of this terrify you? 

If so, start with the most important pages on your site and fix those first. Most of the time it doesn’t require an entire website overhaul! Small changes to simplify can make a HUGE difference.

Reason #3. You have too many distractions on the page

Remember what I said about people being stupider online? Well, that relates to this too. The more distractions and choices, the less like they are to take action.

Keep it simple and if your offer is enticing enough (and they need it right now), they will signup!!!

Aside from your home page, every other page on your site should have one (1!) one thing that you want people to do more than anything else.

So just to make sure we’re all on the same page here. Remember when I suggested having multiple calls to actions on the same page? This means that you need multiple calls to actions FOR THE SAME THING.

Got it? – One optin. Multiple forms. And slightly modified messaging for each form.

Asking people to do too many things isn’t the only distraction that can be hurting your email optins though.

Here’s a quote that I think of often, and I hope you do too!
“When you ask people to pay attention to too many things, they pay attention to nothing at all.”


Here’s what you can do right now!

Start implementing the suggestions on this page and I guarantee that conversion rates will increase when you do!

  1. Add more optin forms.
  2. Make sure your optin forms are mobile friendly. If budget is an issue, focus on the most important pages.
  3. Make each page focus on one optin. Get rid of unnecessary distractions and invite people to optin to the same offer via multiple forms.
  4. Simplify the look of your optins forms and landing pages.
  5. Keep text short and to the point.