When you’ve worked with well over 500 websites in a period of 10 years, you find a number of sites that perform flawlessly, and a number that are doomed from the day they go live. Now, since working with sites built by others as well as creations of my own, i’ve identified many mistakes that are made when a website is built. Mistakes not only others have made, but I myself have made too! So take these on-board, they may save you a lot of time, a lot of money, and perhaps may make you a lot of money - if avoided!
1. Complicated Processes
When I refer to this I’m talking about sites that make things far more complicated than they need to be, or should be. When people use the internet, especially nowadays, they’re in a rush and don’t like waiting. So a slow website is one thing but a complicated website is another thats just as bad. People don’t want to fill-out pages of forms, people don’t want to have to search for a link in paragraphs of text, people don’t want to have to ‘scroll’ to the bottom of the page to get something like a phone number… Lots of websites, especially shopping websites, have sometimes add-to-cart processes that are far to detailed and laborious. If you’re making a process for users on your website, make it the quickest, easiest you can make it.
For example; a registration form on a website with 10 fields for customer information is going to get a lot less conversions than that of a form just asking for a name and email. You may say ‘well I need all that information’… so in that case, consider capturing the first main important data, then asking the user on the next page to complete the rest of the information. That way they feel less hesitant because they’ve already started the process on the previous page!
2. Slow websites
Nothing is worse than a slow website. Unfortunately so many websites are slow nowadays because they are generally either one of 3 things.1. Are running a slow server - general rule of thumb - the cheaper a
server, the slower your website. People running businesses I find get a little too fussy over a couple extra dollars a month on website hosting, so they sacrifice their websites speed which ultimately leads to less enquiries and a higher amount of traffic dropping off.
2. Are built on a CMS like WordPress and have many ‘plugins’ running simultaenously, which hinders the websites performance. Some sites i’ve visited have taken up to 8 seconds to load the homepage! Who is going to stick around that long?
3. Are not optimised properly. People load ‘full resolution’ HD photos to their website - which are like 6MB, now thanks to the internet, it doesn’t take 3 hours to load a few megabytes however, SEO penalises slow loading content and you’ll eat up your server bandwidth quickly if you don’t optimise!
3. Leaving it to ‘do its thing’
Nearly every business is guilty of this. Neglecting a website will result in a loss of sales and traffic, therefore less business - less business equals less money. Now, when I say neglecting a website, I don’t mean in the sense that you’re destroying it or not ‘caring’ for it - I'm just referring to not keeping it updated and current. Websites i’ve seen sometimes have events on them with dates from 2 years back, a latest news story from last year or christmas banners on the homepage still despite now being May! When people visit your site and see old or out-dated content,it makes it look that you are out of business.
We’ve had clients who literally spend time every day adding info to their site, and they reap great reward from their site, we’ve had clients who setup a site and don’t spend another minute on it find their enquiries slow drop off over time and question the reason for it… If you don’t keep your site updated and fresh, it won’t benefit your business. If you don’t have time to do it, get someone to do it for you.
4. Lack of content or too much content
80% of people looking online don’t want to read every single detail, therefore websites that are short, sharp and simple are going to get more engagement. Only generally 20% of people want all the detail in the world, so those websites with an overabundance of text are going to loose traffic. Because people will look at a massive page of text and go "I don't have time to read through all that to find what I need to know!” - therefore what I suggest is you structure content like a pyramid. At the top keep it simple and to the ‘point’, then as you work your way down, people can read more and more information. Generally the 20% of people will ‘hunt’ for more information so they’re happy to scroll down your ‘pyramid’ of content.
5. Lack of value or direction
This ties in somewhat with point the above, however its more orientated around how the quality of the content doesn’t truly represent the quality of product or service available.
When creating websites and writing content for them, many business owners fail to properly identify and promote their product - since there is so much competition online from other companies; the ones that do it correctly, out-perform the ones who don’t… leading to failure.
Study your target audience and write content that you customer would engage with, not necessarily what you would engage with! This is where it can be good to ask a marketing guru to help you write some good content and help promote the value you or your product adds!
There are many many more reasons websites fail - but this is just a few common ones I often see. So if you feel you’re guilty of one or more of the above, try remedy it and you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised!
When addressing issues above or any issue in general on your website - don’t try fix them all at once, especially if they’re bigger issues. Take time and focus on one issue at a time, that way you won’t feel as overwhelmed, plus it can make it easier to see improvements in perhaps the enquiry rate you get from your website versus doing them all in one hit and not knowing which one was the secret sauce!