19 Sep Top five reasons your website sucks
Is your website not performing as you expected? Do you find the number of visitors is low (or dropping), or that those who visit are clicking off after only a few seconds? Are you running an online store and finding your sales are few and far between? Or are you wondering why your website isn’t appearing on the first page of Google searches?
In this highly competitive digital world, there are many things that contribute to poor website performance. This guide highlights the top five reasons why your website may be failing, and explains how you should deal with them.
1. Blinded by the tools
Perhaps the most obvious reason websites fail (and often the hardest truth to swallow) is because something wasn’t right when the site was first created – or, perhaps, some poor decisions were made along the way. As the famous saying goes: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
Creating a successful website requires a good level of business and marketing understanding. You need to consider your website as part of your overall marketing strategy, and this will inform its design and development. If your site is failing to achieve its objectives, then it is often the case that the tactical approach fell short of the overall strategy behind it.
To resolve this situation before it’s too late, it’s time to take a step back and review where things stand. Sometimes, all it takes is a little refinement to get things back on track. But, if things are beyond repair, a better solution may be to start again from scratch – beginning, of course, with a clear, decisive (and ambitious) strategy.
2. Who the hell are you?
Having a strong brand is at the forefront of a successful marketing strategy. Now, a ‘brand’ isn’t just a name or a logo, it’s everything your business stands for and how your clients/customers see and understand you. Your website MUST ALWAYS reflect your brand – from the design, colours, text, and other media content, to the way you communicate through words and imagery.
One trap a lot of business owners fall into is, they become complacent to their own brand identity and make the mistake of drifting away from how they present their brand on their website (and social media). This is mainly because they get bored of seeing the same thing over extended periods of time and try to make things ‘look fresh’, deviating too much from their brand guidelines.
However, diluting your brand with inconsistent information and content can often result in your visitors lacking trust in what they see. If the standard does not meet their expectations, they will go elsewhere.
3. “Iron rusts from disuse…”
“…stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigour of the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci
One of the quickest ways your website can drop off the radar, particularly in its search engine performance, is through stagnation. If your website lacks regular updates, and you are not driving traffic to it through other channels (i.e. social media), search engines may prioritise what they see as ‘active’ websites over yours.
It is vital you commit the time and effort to generating a steady flow of new and interesting content. Not only will this help increase your Google ranking potential for more keywords, but an active blog, news channel, and social media activity will reassure visitors you are actively engaged with your business and care about communicating with your customers.
4. Seal it with a KISS
“If you can’t explain it, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein. Applying this principle to website design is usually defined as “keep it simple, stupid”.
Your website may be failing because your visitors are quite simply unimpressed with what they see. First impressions count, and if people don’t think your website looks good, or can’t find the information they want easily, they’re not going to stick around. Plus, Google may penalise your site in its search rankings if too many people click the link to your page and then leave quickly.
Before starting to build a website, perhaps one of the most challenging tasks a professional web design team will face is working with you to determine the content you want to include (or helping you create it), ensuring it aligns with your business and marketing strategies.
This task includes filtering information into a concise site map, defining a straightforward navigation structure, exploring and testing the user experience (UX) on each page, and designing a user interface (UI) that effectively communicates your brand to visitors.
5. Only spiders weave the web
You’ve probably heard about SEO (search engine optimisation), and you may understand some of the basics, but knowing how to do it well is one of the most important contributing factors to improving your website performance. Too often a website is let down by poor SEO, which will have a detrimental effect on how well your site performs with both search engines and visitors.
Many businesses make the mistake of believing they have to pay to perform well in Google searches. While Google advertising can be beneficial in certain circumstances, your ‘organic’ SEO – which is free and managed by search engine ‘spiders’ who crawl the web on a daily basis to keep their directories up to date – is equally, if not more, important.
‘Spiders’ not only check the content of your website, but also check that it is optimised for mobile devices. They perform page loading tests to ensure your pages are built in the most optimal way, and will keep tabs on your activity (both on and off-site) and the activity of others (those linking to your site).
Check out our blog on how SEO works to help maximise your organic SEO performance.
Not sure how your website is performing? Take our FREE website assessment to see how you score.