6 Ways to Guarantee Your Website Will Fail (and how to fix them)
1. Your website is an electronic brochure 2. Can’t be found in Google 3. Was last updated when it was created 4. Is organised how you want it organised 5. Is missing what your audience wants 6. Is home grown, and looks like it!
You’ve invested money and time into making your website what it is today, but you’re just not seeing results. If any of above applies to you then you need to fix it, and fast.
The six issues above require some explanation: 1. When someone comes to your website, they can only do one of four things. They can act on something, buy something, click on something or view something. By only having an online brochure you are really only addressing 25% of capability of your website. 2. Being found in Google is now yard stick by which people judge success of your site, in fact if you can appear in top ten then your audience see this as an implicit recommendation by Google that you site is one of best. 3. “Last Updated: 24 May 2001” does not attract visitors and actually shows disrespect towards people visiting your site. Are you telling me that absolutely nothing about your business/people/products has changed in over four years! 4. At first glance this issue might sound reversed, however building a site how YOU want it organised is flawed. The issue you are dealing with is ‘organisational familiarity’. You know how your business is organised, your customers do not, and they can’t be expected to know either. You might have a sales department, a marketing department, a production department, and a research department. The worst thing you could do is build a website with main navigation consisting of Home, Sales, Marketing, Production, and Research. Your audience shouldn’t have to know about your business structure just to buy something from you. 5. Over years you have no doubt built a list (albeit in your head) of issues that your customers face, questions about your product/service, things you do better than your competition, or common objections to buying your product. This is invaluable information that is typically completely missing from most sites, and it really is what your audience is looking for, especially if they are buying from you without ever having spoken to you in person. 6. FrontPage is a great tool; to be honest I use it sometimes too. But I do not use it to make a decision on look and feel for sites that I build. A FrontPage theme does not make a great website. You need professional design, consistency in style, and a site conducive to getting your message across.
You can fix it by following these simple steps. Research, Restructure and Refine.
This is one of most overlooked steps in building a website and is incredibly important. You can cover this off very quickly however by looking at what your competition is doing, thinking about what your customers are asking for, and finding out what most common issues people are having with your product after purchasing from you. During this process you should generate a list of types of people that visit your website. The automatic answer is of course “customers” but this is not correct. You might home business owners, soccer moms, students, or an accountant who works for an SME just to name a few. If you can create a list of about top 5 then this is a great start.
Restructure. Restructuring sounds like a big job, however with a good content management system you should be fine. Without a content management system then you are up for considerable effort, so be prepared.
Here’s key to getting this right! This is BIG SECRET to building a great site that will actually help you achieve results.
Draw up a table with six columns, and put following headings at top of each column; Who, What, How, Why, When, Wake.