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6 Ways to Avoid Dead Ends on Your Website

by Justin Palmer - February 13th, 2008

When was the last time took a look at your top exit pages? Odds are, there’s a few pages that suffer from higher than average abandonment rates.

Off course, at some point, visitors will leave your site. But why not keep them there as long as possible? Below I’ve listed what I think are the most common exit pages on an eCommerce website. I’ll also cover some tactics for keeping the visitor engaged after they reach this page.

  1. Order Confirmation Receipt Pages: After an order is completed, there are several ways to keep customers engaged. How about asking them to take a survey or to refer a friend? You may also do some pre-emptive customer service by showing them how to track their order or contact customer support. Checkout my previous post, where I discussed in more detail how to not waste your order confirmation page.
  2. Email Subscription Sign up Confirmation Pages: Recently, I signed up for Gap’s email list. Rather that leaving me hanging with a dead end page, the confirmation screen displayed a large “Start Shopping Now” button.
  3. Product Detail Pages: While product detail pages don’t seem like an obvious dead end, they often are. Consider the flow from the landing page, to the product category page, to the product detail page. If the visitor doesn’t like the product they’re viewing, they may abandon the effort rather than hit the back button. Make sure you display related items above the fold or a clear “Back” button they will take them back to the product category page.
  4. No Search Results Found Pages: This is a tough one. When a visitor performs a site search that returns no results, frustration will often lead them to exit your site. While you can’t ensure that every search query returns a relevant result, there are several ways to optimize your internal site search. When a query returns no results, consider at least showing your most popular product categories in order to prevent frustrated searchers from abandoning their effort.
  5. 404 Error Pages: Hopefully, your website doesn’t have any broken internal links, but it doesn’t hurt to optimize your 404 page to keep visitors on your site. Offer to take them back to the home page or the previous page they were on.
  6. Customer Service Inquiry Confirmation Pages: After a customer sends a message to customer service through your site, show FAQs or suggested solutions to their problem. Nobody wants to wait for customer service to get back with you in order to proceed.

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9 Responses to “6 Ways to Avoid Dead Ends on Your Website” by Justin Palmer

  1. Pinny Cohen Says:

    I’ve found #4 to be very true. We had a client who was showing “no results” pages, and simply by replacing that nearly empty page with “try this” types of products we were able to keep them on our site, and even sell items they weren’t originally considering.

  2. Karel Says:

    Some very nice tips! 6 is a nice one!

  3. Karel Says:

    Last comment :-) , why don’t you use the “subscribe to comments plugin”(

  4. Marcus Says:

    I gotta admit, out of all the suggestions, the one that has worked the best for my sites was #1.

    After someone buys, its critical to communicate with them, and when they feel that release of finally purchasing (after all we as marketers, do build it up) they love to fill in surveys, shop around, read articles, its always great to keep them interacting with you.

    This is great advice.


  5. Erica DeWolf Says:

    Great tips! New companies often forget about these pages before launching their site and email marketing messages, and they suffer.

    Great tips!

  6. juned Says:

    thanks for you Great Tips!

  7. Tom Lindstrom Says:

    It is a good idea to customize the 404-error page.Offer a free ebook or something of use as a “sorry”.I have seen an increase in sales from my 404-error page just by doing this.

  8. palmerwebmarketing Says:

    Great idea Tom. That’s a great way to take a bad situation and turn it around into a positive one.

  9. David hobson Says:

    Nice post. I need to implement number 6 into my website at some point.

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