You can build a website for free.
But if you want it not to look generic, a single template customization will typically cost you at least $300 (there is no top limit).
Not to mention the costs of effective copy and further maintenance.
So, it may or may not be expensive, but it’s a must for any business today.
If you are a small business owner, you almost certainly already have a website, but it most probably doesn’t work as it could.
Maybe it looks good but doesn’t sell.
Maybe it doesn’t even look good. (And good doesn’t mean fancy.)
Maybe people find it fast but bounce faster. Or, maybe they remain there for a certain amount of time, but somehow omit to click those crucial buttons that for you mean the difference between growing a lavish garden full of fruit and a investing in a wasteland.
There are a number of reasons for failure. Your website is not just a virtual storefront. It’s a communication panel where you get to talk to the prospects, and they get to click in response. Or not.
A modern website should make for a great combination of verbal and visual elements. All of which should work together to entice the reader to do something. Your goal is their action.
That’s why we decided to single out six most common reasons websites fail to do their job.
1) It doesn’t capture attention in an instant
Yes, the attention span of an average website visitor is short, and even goldfish concentrate longer yadda yadda. You know the drill, and we won’t repeat it.
It’s common knowledge that it takes just a few seconds for a visitor to estimate whether they’re in the right place or not. Tribute Media says that the first thing visitors have in mind is what the website is about.
We kind of disagree with it.
Before the interest phase, there comes attention phase. The AIDA (Attention – Interest – Desire – Action) principle works here as well. So, you have to grab the visitor by the sleeve, and only then (if they are still there) make them understand what it is all about.
Yes, as a visitor, I know that I am looking to buy an instrument, for example. But there’s always a chance something might get me started even if it isn’t just the right thing. Think about how often you’ve spent dozens of minutes on a web page with a topic that you aren’t even interested in. Just because they made it sound and look compelling.
Just to be completely clear, of course, you aren’t aiming for those who happen to come by your website. They aren’t really your prospects. That’s why websites are keyword optimized. But we’re talking about the pre-judgment here. Before the visitor has even decided if that’s what they were looking for or not, you have to attract them and keep them there for a little while longer.
2) It lacks focus
Am I on the right address?
This is the second question that crosses the visitor’s mind during those few seconds.
It makes the difference between clicking the X and staying there to browse some more.
It’s about relevance.
The website copy and imagery need to be ultra-specific, intuitive and clear so that there isn’t any doubt what it’s all about. There’s this term “above the fold” that is borrowed from traditional, print journalism. It’s the portion of the page that a visitor sees first, without having to scroll down. It should contain all the vital information, neatly organized in an appropriate manner.
The visitor should be positive:
What the website is about. If you are a music store, it should be clear whether you sell music albums or instruments, or if you are a production label, or an antique shop that sells gramophones and LPs.
What she’s supposed to do. That is, what is the key functionality of the website. Is it selling a product, or getting them to subscribe to your mailing list by entering their information to get a free resource? Is it raising brand awareness by getting them to follow you on social media? All of these goals should have their place on your website. But their positioning is vital, as well as which one you intend to show the first.
3) It’s about you and not me
Yes, it’s your website, but you are not supposed to be the center of it.
The Earth revolves around the Sun. They used to kill people who claimed it, but today it’s the only acceptable way of viewing things. Similarly, in today’s world products and services revolve around me as a customer, and not you as a seller.
It’s not just about showing me you care about me. I have my mom for that. I need you to answer my needs and prove that your product is the one in the sea of products that is worthy of my coin. So, don’t start by telling me how awesome you are. (There is a time and place for it, and it’s called testimonials. Back to it later.)
It’s like having a date. You don’t put yourself in the center of the conversation. Of course, the aim is to present yourself in the most appealing manner, but bragging from the beginning won’t help you do that.
4) It misrepresents your brand
The website is a mirror of your business and general culture, and I’m sure as hell that you don’t like to look in the mirror while wearing shabby pajamas. Let alone to let others look at you.
Dress accordingly, mind the minutiae, and don’t let anything look sloppy. If there are photos, they have to be high-resolution and yet, not sluggish because of it. If there’s a background video, it better be shot professionally.
Having a video autoplay or any kind of music or sound is an out-of-date technique, and many people dislike it. The reasons are obvious: you can’t presume people will like your choice of music. After all, I know that I have run away from a bunch of websites just because a song started playing and it was easier for me to hit X than to scroll and look for the stop button.
Unless, of course, you are that example of a music store. Then it’s somehow logical and tolerable to have an appropriate ambient.
5) You don’t appear trustworthy
According to the Bright Local’s Consumer Review Survey 2016, 84% people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Total strangers are presumed to be a reliable source of information because, obviously, they don’t have reasons to lie.
So, if you don’t have any kind of content that would verify and validate the quality of your product or service, acquire it now.
Ask your previous clients to give you testimonials – either written or video (of course, the video would be awesome). You can even use Google reviews for this if you have a local business. Case studies are great if you have some more information.
Just let it be genuine because faking it is not only unethical but also quite easy to spot.
6) The checkout process is complicated
If you have an E-commerce store, you have to be extremely careful not to overcomplicate things for the buyers.
Shopping cart abandonment rate stats are appalling, all because the shipping costs are too big, or the checkout process too difficult.
Don’t demand too much information in the form they have to fill. There’s hardly anything as annoying as having to type my company name, job title, ex-girlfriend’s pet’s name, shoe size (unless you sell shoes), etc. Even if you need some of those fields for your marketing purposes, make them non-obligatory.
When talking about websites, it’s vital to remember one thing that we tend to forget all too often.
People don’t buy because they have money, nor do they refrain from buying if they lack money. It isn’t about what they need.
People buy because they want to buy.
Purchasing decisions happen in the reasonable part of our brains, but they are conceived below it. Desire dances its way to the wallet, leaving the need to wait patiently in the line of priorities.
Let your website appeal to the visitors’ wants and needs, in that order.