The One Reason Your Homepage Isn’t Converting (and How to Fix It)

Conversion Optimization

Have you ever found yourself at a restaurant, staring at a menu that seems to go on for days? Same, friend…same.

In fact, I recently had a similar experience at The Cheesecake Factory, and I hadn’t been there in years. 

I was starving, craving a salad with goat cheese and apples (don’t judge!), and eager to dig in because aside from the rumbling in my tummy, I actually had an appointment coming up for later. 

But when the waiter handed me the menu, I realized my mistake.

Pages upon pages of options, from appetizers to entrees to cheesecakes galore, left me feeling overwhelmed and indecisive. 

I finally settled on a salad, only to be told they were out of the one dish I had my heart set on. 

To make matters worse, I had to rush off to an appointment, leaving the restaurant unsatisfied and hangry.

Now, you might be wondering what my Cheesecake Factory fiasco has to do with your website homepage. 

The truth is, the overwhelming feeling of being presented with too many options is not limited to restaurant menus. 

In fact, it’s a common problem that plagues many website homepages, leading to poor user experience and low conversion rates.

As a brand and web designer specializing in creating websites that convert, I’ve seen this scenario play out time and time again. 

A cluttered homepage with an excessive number of links and calls-to-action can leave visitors feeling confused, frustrated, and unsure of what to do next. 

This “analysis paralysis” often results in visitors abandoning the site altogether, without taking any meaningful action.

The Paradox of Choice

Our clients are bombarded with countless options at every turn. While having a wide range of choices may seem like a good thing, research has shown that an overabundance of options can actually hinder decision-making and lead to what psychologists call “analysis paralysis.”

This concept, popularized by psychologist Barry Schwartz in his book “The Paradox of Choice,” suggests that when faced with too many options, people often struggle to make a decision, leading to feelings of anxiety, regret, and dissatisfaction. 

In the context of website design, this translates to visitors feeling overwhelmed and unable to choose a course of action when presented with a cluttered homepage featuring multiple competing calls-to-action and navigation links.

A study conducted by Columbia University professor Sheena Iyengar demonstrates the real-world impact of choice overload. 

In the study, customers at a grocery store were presented with either a selection of 24 different jams or a selection of just 6 jams. 

While the larger display attracted more initial interest, the smaller display resulted in significantly more sales. 

Customers who were presented with fewer options were more likely to make a purchase, as the decision-making process was simpler and less overwhelming.

This principle applies directly to website design. 

When visitors are presented with a homepage that offers too many choices, they may struggle to determine which action to take, leading to decision fatigue and, ultimately, abandonment. 

By streamlining your homepage and presenting a clear, focused message with a single, prominent call-to-action, you can help guide visitors toward your desired conversion goal, whether that’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or booking a consultation.

As a brand and web designer I can tell you: by having a homepage that prioritizes simplicity and clarity, you can create a more user-friendly experience that encourages visitors to engage with your content and take meaningful action, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates and better overall website performance.

The Dangers of a Cluttered Homepage

Not to sound alarming but now that you understand the concept of choice overload and its potential impact on user behavior, let’s take a closer look at the specific dangers of a cluttered homepage.

One of the most common mistakes I see on website homepages is an overabundance of menu items and navigation links. 

While it may be tempting to showcase every aspect of your business or offer multiple paths for visitors to explore, a crowded navigation menu can quickly become overwhelming. 

So it ends up doing the opposite of what you wanted.

Visitors may struggle to find the information they’re looking for or become distracted by irrelevant options, leading to frustration and a higher likelihood of bouncing from your site.

Bouncing rate will also hurt your SEO. Not just your ROI.

Another issue that often plagues cluttered homepages is the presence of competing calls-to-action. 

When faced with multiple buttons, forms, or links vying for their attention, visitors may become paralyzed by indecision, unsure of which action to take first. 

This not only dilutes the effectiveness of your primary call-to-action but can also lead to lower overall conversion rates as visitors fail to engage with any of the presented options.

Unclear messaging is another pitfall of a cluttered homepage. 

When your value proposition and unique selling points are buried beneath layers of unnecessary information or visual clutter, visitors may struggle to understand what sets your brand apart from competitors. 

This lack of clarity can lead to confusion, distrust, and ultimately, a failure to convert.

For example, imagine landing on a coaching website with a homepage that features a lengthy navigation menu, multiple opt-in forms, several “Learn More” buttons, and paragraphs of text explaining various aspects of the coach’s services…

As a visitor, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to focus your attention. 

Instead of taking action, you may just close the tab to leave the site in search of a more user-friendly alternative. Someone who looks like they know how to help you with the right solution.

Yes, people will judge your competence based on these things.

As a brand and web designer, I’ve witnessed the negative impact of cluttered homepages firsthand. 

Clients who come to me with websites that are underperforming often have homepages that are packed with too much information, too many options, and no clear direction for visitors to follow. 

By working together to simplify (and clarify) their messaging, streamline their navigation, and create a more focused user experience, we’ve been able to dramatically improve engagement and conversion rates.

The Power of Simplicity in Web Design

Let me say it again: A clean, focused homepage that prioritizes user experience and clearly communicates your brand’s value proposition is key when it comes to engaging visitors and driving conversions.

One of the key benefits of a streamlined homepage is improved user experience. 

When visitors can easily navigate your site and quickly find the information they need, they are more likely to stay engaged and take action. 

Action = conversions.

By limiting the number of options and presenting a clear, concise message, you can guide visitors towards your desired conversion goal, whether that’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or booking a consultation.

A simplified homepage also helps to build trust and credibility with your audience. 

When your messaging is clear and your design is strategically guiding your message, visitors are more likely to perceive your brand as professional, trustworthy, and like the expert who knows how to help them. 

This is super important for service-based businesses, such as coaches and creative entrepreneurs, who rely on establishing strong relationships with their clients.

Take, for example, the website of Mariah Coz, a successful online course creator, and coach. Her homepage features a clean, minimalist design with a single, prominent call-to-action inviting visitors to watch her free workshop. 

By keeping the focus on this primary conversion goal and eliminating unnecessary distractions, Mariah creates a user-friendly experience that encourages visitors to engage with her content and take the first step toward working with her.

Another excellent example of simplicity in web design is the homepage of Marie Forleo, a renowned life coach, and entrepreneur. 

Marie’s homepage features a clear value proposition, a single call-to-action to join her email list, and a minimalist navigation menu that guides visitors to key areas of her site. By prioritizing simplicity and clarity, Marie creates a compelling user experience that reflects her brand’s personality and expertise.

As a brand and web designer, I see firsthand the transformative power of simplicity in action. And I hope you see it too.

How to Simplify Your Homepage for Better Conversions

Here’s the good part I know you want: let’s dive into some actionable tips and strategies you can implement to simplify your own website and boost conversions.

First and foremost, consider limiting your main navigation menu to no more than six items. 

This may sound challenging, especially if you have a looooot of content or services to showcase, but it’s essential for creating a user-friendly experience. 

Focus on the most important pages or categories, and use submenus or dropdown menus to organize related content. 

By being super intentional and keeping your navigation concise and intuitive, you’ll make it easier for visitors to find what they need and take action.

And do I need to say it again? Action = conversions. Conversions = ROI.

Next, prioritize a single, prominent call-to-action (CTA) above the fold on your homepage. 

This could be a button inviting visitors to book a consultation, sign up for your email list, or purchase a product. And yes, I said ONE.

By placing your primary CTA in a highly visible location and using contrasting colors or whitespace to make it stand out, you’ll draw visitors’ attention and encourage them to take the desired action.

When it comes to messaging, aim for clarity and concision. 

Use direct language to communicate your unique value proposition and the benefits of working with you. 

Avoid industry jargon or overly complex explanations (please and thank you), and focus on the key points that matter most to your target audience. 

Remember, visitors should be able to quickly grasp what you offer and why it matters to them.

To take it a step further when considering user experience and engagement, organize your homepage content into different sections with a clear visual hierarchy. 

Use headings, subheadings, and bullet points to break up text and make it easier to scan. Readability is very important here!

Incorporate high-quality images or videos that reinforce your message and create an emotional connection with visitors.

And please… Ad you go and edit your homepage, don’t forget about mobile responsiveness!! 

With more and more users accessing websites via smartphones and tablets, it’s crucial to ensure that your streamlined design translates seamlessly across devices. 

You can even use a mobile-first approach to design, and test your homepage on various screen sizes to ensure that it remains user-friendly and visually appealing.

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Wrapping It Up

Ok, we went over the critical role that simplicity plays in creating a high-converting website homepage. And this goes beyond just what my designer brain likes, this is backed by psychology. 

By understanding the paradox of choice and the dangers of a cluttered design, you can take strategic steps to streamline your homepage, improve your user experience, and drive action!

To recap, the key strategies from everything I shared above:

– Limiting your main navigation menu to no more than six items

– Prioritizing a single, prominent call-to-action above the fold

– Using clear, concise messaging that communicates your unique value proposition

– Organizing content into distinct sections with visual hierarchy

– Ensuring mobile responsiveness for a seamless user experience across devices

By implementing these strategies and focusing on simplicity, you’ll create a homepage that not only looks great but also effectively guides visitors toward your desired conversion goals.


As a brand and web designer specializing in crafting websites that convert, I’m passionate about helping entrepreneurs like you create online experiences that reflect your unique brand identity and resonate with your target audience. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the process of simplifying your homepage or unsure of where to start, I’m here to help.

Let’s work together to assess your current website, identify areas for improvement, and develop a strategic plan to elevate your online presence. 

Whether you’re looking for a complete redesign or targeted optimizations, I’ll bring my brain and expertise in branding, user experience, and conversion optimization to the table, ensuring that your homepage not only looks stunning but also effectively drives results.

Let’s schedule a call to discuss your unique needs and explore how we can collaborate to create a powerful, user-centered online experience that sets your brand apart and drives meaningful growth.

In the meantime, I urge you to start implementing the tips and strategies we’ve covered today. 

Take an honest and critical look at your current homepage, identify areas for simplification, and begin making targeted improvements. 

Even small changes can have a significant impact on user experience and conversion rates!!

filed under:

Conversion Optimization, Web Design


I'm Ingrid, welcome!  I'm a branding designer + Showit Design Partner, doggy mamma, and tea drinker.

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Hi I’m Ingrid

I design strategy-led brands and Showit websites that confidently represent you.

I’m a designer with a magic touch for monetizing websites. I’m also a tea-lover, dog momma, Ravenclaw, INFP and 2w3 (for all you personality-test nerds like me). 

I’ve also been called a Showit website expert (been with them since 2013), and a sucker for understanding customer journeys, brand psychology, and consumer and sales psychology. My clients have some pretty cool results after working together, things like doubled shop conversions, booked-out services in weeks, and increased monthly revenue, among other cheer-worthy celebrations.

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