CAPTCHA codes are one of my pet online peeves. Those indecipherable words and symbols that you’re usually asked to read before you can register, leave a comment or otherwise engage with a website.

Recently I came across a piece of research that proved why I am so right to loathe these things.

The report stated that these cryptic conundrums reduce conversion rates by over 3%.

So say your site is turning over $1 million per year, you could be losing $30,000 a year just by using CAPTCHA codes. Ouch!

Get An Instant Revenue Boost

Just by turning them off you can get an instant 3% revenue boost. How much would you have to spend on adwords to get that sort of increase?

The so called purpose of these impenetrable italics is to reduce spam and make sure that only real live humans actually engage with your site.

However a lot of the codes they use are so far beyond being readable by real people it’s ludicrous.

Make it Easy to Buy, Register or Comment

If you really want people to engage with your website then you need to make it as easy as possible for them to do so, not more difficult.

George Silverman says that one of the easiest ways to increase your business is to remove all obstacles in the way of the customer.

Avinash Kaushik says that people who leave comments on your blog are among the rarest of the rare.

So why make it hard for them to engage with you?

Whether you want sales, comments, registrations or something else CAPTCHA codes will hurt your results.

Turn Them Off and Prosper

SEOmoz recommends doing away with them altogether and living with the slight increase in spam you’ll get, and I agree.

It’s hard enough to get customers to your site, let alone convert them into a customer without constantly undermining the task by adding obstacles.

The graphs below show the marked difference that CAPTCHA's can make on conversion rates and revenue.

Turning CAPTCHAs off resulted in a 3% conversion increaseCAPTCHAs Turned On

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