Decision Fatigue

Decision Fatigue: Causes and its Effect on Website Conversion Rate

Day by day, we make several decisions on various issues of life. From what to eat to what to wear, to where to go to and what to do. Every of our life’s action is a product of the decisions we make. This content titled “Decision Fatigue: Causes and its Effect on Website conversion rate” tends to discuss the subject matter of our decisions, decision fatigue and how it affects our websites conversion rate.

As a result of the fact that we make tons of decisions every day, the issue of decision fatigues arises. In turn, it affects several things about us. We will consider how visitor’s decision fatigue affects our website or how our decision fatigue affects other people’s website. We will also try to provide a brief explanation of what conversion rate means.

To better explain and buttress the point, its paramount we provide the definition to the key terms in this topic. According to advance learners’ dictionary, decision is the act of making up your mind about something. It could also mean a position or opinion or judgment reached after consideration. Decision fatigue is our diminishing capacity to make good decisions after a long period of decision-making. While conversion rate can be defined as the rate at which people visit your website and take proper actions. Thus, we will look into this issue and hope that in the end, we will provide enlightenment to various website owners.

As earlier stated, Life is a product of the decisions we take and make. We are where we are today because of the decisions we took at a particular point in time. Irrespective of how sudden things may come our way, yet we do not just rush into it. We take decisions on what exactly to do and what not to do. Although, there are various decisions that we make in a hurry, yet it does not overrule the fact that we made decisions.

How does our decision affect a particular website? It may be surprising to know that every decision we make has two sides. It benefits someone positively and it benefits another negatively. For example, supposed I want to get a new phone. I have various alternatives as to which particular one to buy. If I end up purchasing a Samsung phone, it’s a plus for Samsung. Then, it becomes a minus for Techno, infinix, itel, iPhone etc. This way, our decision has been proven to affect various categories of people, both positively and negative. Having tons of decisions to make then lead to decision fatigue.

Decision fatigue can be a killer when it comes to your conversion rate. The reason for this lies in the Hick-Hyman law. It states that the more choices you present someone with, the longer it will takes them to make a decision. Having too many options can also make it difficult for your customers to find the best option for their needs. Particularly if the options you’re offering are very similar.

By virtue of the tons of decisions we are faced with daily, in the end, we get tired. Studies show that tiredness reduces our ability to make the right choices, if any choice at all. To buttress more, suppose 500 people visit your website in a day. If about 40% of them feel unsatisfied with what they see, they tend to go back to where they came from or search for something else. This is known as bounce rate. But then, if the remaining 60% finds what they are looking for on your website, this is where conversion rate comes to play. If it is an ecommerce website, they may make purchases. If it’s a blog, they may download some contents or link back to your website in due time. Others may even bookmark your website for future use.


As we are focusing on decision fatigue which is a more psychological issue than a technological or technical issue. It is important to know that it has effects on the conversion rate of a website. The effects of decision fatigue are listed below;

  1. It leads to high bounce rate: The first thing to consider as the effect of decision fatigue is that it leads to high bounce rate. What this means is that potential visitors will not spend much time navigating your website. It will appear as if your website contents do not have quality. Thus, you cannot meet up with the enquiries of your visitors. With this, the sooner they come in, the sooner they leave. In search engine algorithm for ranking a website, it takes note of the visitors dwell time on a particular website. This is why inbound (internal) links are highly encouraged as a way of keeping your visitor around your website. When the bounce rate is high, it passes a message to search engines. It will appear as though your contents are not worth it. Thus, they should not be ranked higher.
  2. Low conversion rate: Various website understand conversion from different perspective, depending on the entire goal of the website. For an ecommerce website, sale is what they understand as conversion. To an ordinary blog, clicking on adverts is what they understand as conversion. To others, downloading and subscribing for a service is what they understand as conversion. With this, we understand that when a visitor is faced with decision fatigue, chances are that the conversion rate will be low. This is because the bounce rate is high as earlier mentioned. When people do not spend time on your website, buying becomes a problem. The reason is that for a purchase to be made, the buyer has to navigate through your website. They will carefully search to find out the exact product that best suites his need (particularly for ecommerce website). This cannot happen where the bounce rate is high
  3. It affects your ranking: Once the bounce rate of your website is high, your ranking will fall drastically. In running a website, every click counts. It may appear as if you have 300 clicks and as such one click may be nothing. Yet, it is possible that that one click may surpass the impact of the other clicks. This is to say that for every one person that leaves your site immediately he comes, the ranking of your website is affected.
  4. Complete loss of some visitors: Some people pay attention to know the website they visit irrespective of the link through which they visited it. Therefore, when a visitor has an unsatisfying experience on your website, he may never return. Bear in mind that first impression matters a lot. Therefore, the first impression a visitor gets on your website will determine if there will be subsequent relationship with your website. 


Decision fatigue is not just about having too many options. It is also about how those options are laid out. And, it is for this reason that one of the most effective ways to actually defeat decision fatigue is not just to cut down on the options you’re offering. The design of your website has a very key role to play.

Look at it from this angle; supposed you met a friend who is already exhausted through the day’s activities. You will most likely not want to delay him for long. As such whatever information you have to give to him, you will do it in the shortest possible time. This is what we are trying to achieve. There are some things that must be set in place to enable you convey information to your visitors. If you succeed, then you will achieve results in the shortest possible time. Here are a few things you can do to reduce decision fatigue on your website and increase your conversion rate:

  1. Ensure that navigating on your website is not a hard task: In order to reduce decision fatigue, the navigation of your website needs to be clear and easy to use. This means that, before you start determining what will be on the main navigation of your website, you need to figure out what the main focus of your website will be. The best way to explain this is that your website should be centered around the business you are operating. For example, if you have an ecommerce platform that sells shoes, everything around your website should be mainly focused on shoes. You should not make the mistake of adding political news, job and scholarship applications and so on.
  2. Narrow your focus to a single promotion: Digital marketing experts like Neil Patel and Brian Dean advice that most times, to get more people to your website, add some sort of incentives for them. Such that, if for nothing, the benefits to be derived from that incentive will make them want to come to your website. Some of the incentives they advise could be free course materials, discount on some products you offer etc. A website that is designed for conversions directs visitors to where they need to go. It is a mistake to divide a visitor’s time between multiple promotions at the same time. It can be frustrating and lead to a visitor immediately bouncing off of your website.
  3. Focus on one goal at a time: A common mistake we see in web design is the need to fit in tons of CTAs (calls to action) on a single page. This usually isn’t a problem when it comes to landing pages or product pages. Yet it is something that is common on home pages. When you are inviting your visitors to call you for a free quote, to shop your online store, to sign up to start getting newsletters, to follow you on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube or Pinterest, and to check out your Google reviews, it can quickly lead to confusion (and to a higher bounce rate for your website). Even if you aim to accomplish more than one thing with your website, it is critical that you focus on one CTA at a time. This will make it clear to your visitors exactly what their next step should be. In turn, it helps to eliminate any decision fatigue they might be having. If you give your website visitors too many choices, a customer will either make a poor decision (increasing your bounce rate) or make no decision at all (reducing your conversion rate).
  4. Make results easy to sort through: One key thing you can do to reduce decision fatigue while still offering your customers plenty of options is to make those options easy to sort through and filter out. If you have an ecommerce store, it is imperative that you give your shoppers plenty of ways to sort through your offerings (i.e. by size, by price, by color, by relevance, etc.). This is so important because it allows your shoppers to look for options that are within a specific set of criteria, helping them find the right choice for their own unique needs.
  5. Ensure your contents do not end up confusing your users: It is believed that content is key. When it comes to SEO (search engine optimization), there is almost nothing more powerful than creating original, informative content on your website on a regular basis. This, of course, means that you will have a ton of content to work with before too long. And, while it may be a great thing for SEO, if you are not careful, all of that content can contribute to decision fatigue. When you attempt to explain too many different things to your visitors at once, it makes it difficult for them to focus on one thing. And, instead of attempting to process the information and acting on it, the visitor is more likely to turn to one of your competitors to find the answers they are looking for.
  6. If you have adverts on your website, ensure they are strategically placed: Several website owners make the experience on their website totally boring by carelessly pacing adverts at almost every part of the site. Many a time, you will be reading a content and all of a sudden, an advert appears from nowhere. This is not to talk about the ones carelessly placed at the left and right sidebar, header, footer, within a post and in between contents. This sends a strong  negative signal to the visitor and in turn, it worsen the state of his mind such that he may be left with no other option than to leave the page.


Decision fatigue is a very serious yet silent issue that must be considered in running a successful website. Several experts argue that decision fatigue should not be considered is technological related issues (Shiv C, et al 2021). Reason is because decision fatigue appears to be more of a psychological issue than technological. But then, the psychological issues surrounding a person go a long way in determining almost everything about the person. This is why we are looking at an issue like this. For this reason, website owners should endeavor to put this into consideration so as to know the kind and manner of service to render to their visitors.

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