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 analogy).

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.

And that’s totally… You can still get optins while you figure it all out. AND, you should!

I’m not going to tell you that you need more traffic.

Well duh.

Traffic almost always = more optins.

BUT … I’m trying to help you increase conversion rates.
…. and more traffic doesn’t necessarily = higher conversion rates.

Besides, you’ll be better off spending money on ads if you optimize your site.

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.

THAT is what I want to focus on today!

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!

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, 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.

One more thing before we dive in though:

Whatever you do though, make sure to read this whole post and consider and implement all 3 points that I mention.

Each and every one of these important!

Even if you’re getting 1 or 2 right, the 3rd could prove to be invaluable in your specific situation.

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 excited was “information architecture” > the art of creating a websites that are easy for people to navigate.

The most important thing I learned and what I come back to no matter what is 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 online, simplicity is key online!

This has been proven to me over and over again!

… From the Adwords accounts I worked on at a Digital Agency to pretty much every client site I’ve worked on,  and even on my own blogs.

Obvious. Clear. And Simple is always key to higher optin rates!

Do. Not. Forget. This.

How do you do this on YOUR website though?


Invite people to optin in as many places as you can, including:

  • Your footer
  • The bottom of your posts
  • In the middle of your posts
  • A ribbon above your header
  • Your sidebar
  • A text link to your landing page within blog posts
  • A popup

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!

These three things can go a long way:

  1. Make the titles are easy to read on mobile
  2. Make it easy to fill out
  3. Make it is easy for them to click the Submit button

Does the cost or complication of fixing 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 can make a HUGE difference.

  • A good optin form plugin or tool can make this WAY easier. I use Thrive Leads by Thrive Cart.

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 people have the more confused they’ll be.
….And that means they are less likely to take action!


Keep it simple.

If your offer is enticing  (and they need it right now), they will signup!!!

Here’s a tip to help you do that successfully:

  • Aside from your home page, every other page on your site should have one 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.

Sometimes it isn’t possible. Especially  for content marketers, bloggers, and affiliate marketers.  If you’re starting out it can be really tough too!
… Try though! You’ll get farther if you try vs. just giving up.

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

Your Next Steps

Start implementing the suggestions on this page and I guarantee that conversion rates will increase.

  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 and different text.
  4. Simplify the look of your optin forms and landing pages.
  5. Keep text short and to the point.

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About the author

Susanna has been helping small brands and businesses get more value out of the web since 2008. She has worked in the areas of content creation (blog, social media), copywriting (funnels, websites, email), design (social media, website, digital), and conversion optimization (FB ads, Google ads, Youtube Ads, SEO). Her motto is to Out-think, Out-create, and Out-convert. NOT, Out-spend!