Just about every business has a website these days, and why wouldn’t they? The Internet (and online business) has been growing at an alarming rate. So in the last few years, most companies have noticed that if you don’t have some kind of web presence, you’re going to get left in the dust.
For plenty of businesses, though, just getting a website up seemed like all they had to do…and those sites fail pretty miserably. It still happens today – a business decides to develop a web presence because it’s the “thing to do,” but that’s as far as they get. They don’t strategize, and they don’t research what goes into making a website great.
To help you avoid these pitfalls, here are 3 huge reasons websites fail:
1. Too Complicated
Have you ever visited a website that was instant sensory overload?
Sometimes there’s so much movement, so much stylizing, that you can’t even figure out what you’re looking at.
If you’ve got ads and videos all smashed together, with no space for the eye to rest, people won’t be able to look at one thing at a time, and therefore won’t look at anything.
“Too complicated” can also be a product of too much animation, too many menu items, and overwhelming number of links on the homepage, a distracting color scheme, or anything else that’s going to get in the way of your site visitors absorbing the content on your site.
Just look at Apple.com – the whole thing is clean and simple. It’s easy to navigate, and there’s never more going on than there has to be.
If people can’t bear to navigate your site, they aren’t going to spend any time there.
2. Too Company-Focused
This may sound crazy, but you don’t want your website to be too much about your company.
It’s going to be about your company, of course, but it also has to be about your customers – what they want, the information they need about your products, information that may relate to their interests or improve their experience with your product.
If you’re just droning on about product specs, or if your homepage is little more than displaying what you’ve got for sale, it’s going to be tough to keep the interest of site visitors. In other words: Don’t be boring.
And hand in hand with not being boring: Add fresh content as often as you can! But it’s got to be interesting – and relevant to your traffic.
Your website should be more than just a shopping cart for your products or a brief page of contact information. Providing company info is important, but if you want to keep people on your site, and you want them to come back again, then you’ve got to give them a good reason.
3. Too Generic
Your website can have interesting content, and plenty of eye-friendly design to help users from becoming overwhelmed, but what’s the use if they can’t tell if they are in the right place?
In a recent episode of “The Profit,” the company L.A. Dogworks displayed an interesting logo on the outside of their building with a clever slogan – but it wasn’t until you walked inside the building that you knew the company offered dog grooming, retail, boarding, etc. I’d hate to imagine how many prospective customers passed by L.A. Dogworks simply because they didn’t even know their needs could be met.
Visitors should know, within 10 seconds of arriving to your site, if they are in the right place and what makes you different.
Just having a website for your cake baking company is nice – but if your cakes are custom and specifically for weddings, don’t bury those details. Put your biggest benefits right in front of your customer, as Zappos does at the top of their website: “Free Shipping & Returns.”
A generic website is just too forgettable to do your business any good.
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Even though a web presence is “necessary” in today’s modern marketplace, you’ve got to do a little more than just plop some photos on the web and call it a day. In fact, it might be worse to have a terrible website than no site at all.
Keep these 3 principles in mind as you’re developing both the look and the content for your site. Keep it clean and informative, and ultimately focused on the customer/visitor (instead of just beating them over the head with info about your brand). And if you need inspiration, check out sites like Zappos.com or American Express’s openforum.com for great examples of clean, professional-looking websites that are inviting to use and easy to navigate.
Charles Gaudet’s controversial marketing insight has earned him the title of “The Entrepreneur’s Marketing Champion” by both his clients and Insiders’ for his ability to help them out-compete, out-market and out-earn their competition. As the founder of PredictableProfits.com, he’s an expert at helping entrepreneurs radically improve their profits through a series of effective marketing strategies.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.