Jul 19, 2016

The Real Reasons Why Your Website is Failing (And What To Do About It)

Each minute of the day, 571 NEW websites are created.

Let’s put that into perspective, that’s 342,260 NEW websites every hour.

Or 822,240 NEW websites created every day.

Unfortunately, the majority of these websites are destined for failure.

Here are 7 reasons why.


Why websites fail #1: The site is developed without a clear strategic objective

Many businesses develop their first website without any real planning.

Their aim is simply to replicate the current organisational brochure or to detail a list of products or services the company has to offer.

A year down the track when they have received limited response one of two responses take place. They either conclude that they need to build a new one from scratch or decide that the Internet is a failure and of no use to their business model.

This pattern can be seen on many sites that exist today, in some cases from very large organisations with seven figure turnovers.


Why websites fail #2: The site is not adequately maintained and information is out of date

Last updated, 10,000 BC.

A key reason why prospects bounce from a website is that it contains outdated information. A parallel with an offline business would be like stocking products well past their use by date.

Similarly, if your website is poorly written, contains grammar or spelling mistakes and is confusing, it will immediately turn visitors away for a simpler option.


Why websites fail #3: Your site is nowhere to be found on search engines

Another common case of website malpractice is that organisations think that the job is done once they’ve launched their new site.

That’s not the way the Internet works. Your website isn’t going to market itself (unless you’re extremely lucky or your name is Taylor Swift).

You have got to get out there and promote your website.

Get backlinks from other websites by providing useful, regularly updated content that others will want to share. Guest blog on other related websites. Update your on-page meta tags to ensure that Google knows how to classify and find you.

Recommended reading: 19 Powerful (and Actionable) SEO Tips For B2B Companies


Why websites fail #4: Emphasis on appearance over functionality

Although the look of your site is important, think about the user experience. Trying to be fancy can distract your visitors from their primary objective for visiting in the first place.

You have to ensure there’s a balance between look and functionality. Make it easy for them to get information or interact with you.

Take a look at your Analytics to see how they interact. See which pages have abnormally high exit rates and work on improving the user journey rather than the pretty pictures on those pages. Some of the best ever performing websites have been notoriously ugly (Craigslist, eBay) or basic (Google Search).

Recommended reading: The Anatomy of The 'Perfect' eCommerce Site Design [Infographic]


Why websites fail #5: Your visitors don’t know what to do on your site

The main street in Las Vegas is the perfect model for calls to action.

Bright neon lights, continuous shows, and fountain spectaculars are all designed to get the visitors attention and draw them into a venue.

The web is an endless street of competition. If someone visits your website you have a limited amount of time to get their attention before they click away.

Ensure that your visitors know exactly what they're supposed to do at your website and make it easy for them to find information or request it from you before they get distracted and go elsewhere.


Why websites fail #6: You don’t know who your main target audience is

Two common problems we come across are businesses either targeting:

  • the wrong audience, or
  • trying to target everyone

Stop spreading yourself too thin. If you try to speak to everyone, you’re probably speaking to no one. Worry less about alienating some people who are probably not your target customer and start focusing on that target.

Take a closer look at your business strategy and ask questions like:

  • What job does our typical customer perform?
  • What industry (or industries) do they work in?
  • What is the size of their company? (if you are a B2B)
  • Who do they report to or who reports to them?
  • What does a typical day look like for them?
  • Which skills do they require to do their job?
  • What tools do they use to do their job?
  • What are their biggest challenges?
  • What are they responsible for?
  • What blogs/magazines/forums/groups do they get information from?

And then go out and create content for your website as well as advertising strategies to get that content in front of those people at the right place and right time.


Why websites fail #7: It’s all about you

You’re writing content for yourself and not your audience.

Too often, technical jargon and long-winded content fail to connect with the target audience. You are so close to your product that you know what it all means like it was tattooed on the inside of your brain.

Your audience is almost certainly thinking about something else for much of their day, however. Keep their needs, challenges and worldview top of mind when you are developing content for your website. Creating a buyer or user persona (that answers many of the questions outlined in point 6), will assist in this regard.

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