9 in 10 Websites Fail, and You’re to Blame17/01/2022 | Web Design | 4 minutes
It’s a harsh but true reality that every website lives and dies under its owner’s hand. Too many are underutilised and poorly built, with owners lacking the knowledge to help them thrive.
It’s not luck, it’s design and user experience that makes or breaks a website. And most of them fail.
When we say fail, we don’t mean crash and burn, fall apart and totally discontinue their function. Many failing websites stay up for eternity, with owners none the wiser. But when you start to look at performance and really understand the power of a website, the role it should be playing in business growth, it becomes immediately evident whether yours is working or simply just existing.
Your Website is a Growth Machine. If It’s Not, You’re Doing it Wrong
First things, first. If you’re not measuring the traffic coming to your website, not optimising your site to grow that traffic, and not finding ways to convert the people who come to visit, you’re not using a website properly.
For the sake of a visual, let’s compare a website to a business card. Business cards are great. You give them to people to hang onto and they can hopefully find it when they think they need something and remember you gave them your details. It’s not uncommon that companies use websites in this way. It’s an online business card with contact details, some company information, maybe a blog and they hope that people will find it when they’re looking for whatever it is the company offers. It serves this purpose, sure, but it’s a gross underutilisation.
That, above, is the worst case. It’s 100% considered a fail. But we’re sure this doesn’t apply to you.
Where most businesses sit is somewhere in the levels up. The website should function as a tool to lead organic traffic to the site. Got it. Content is a thing, and keywords help with ranking. Understood. From that baseline, there is a variety of levels, starting with website owners or managers not really knowing how to execute the content and keyword stuff—ranging up to relatively knowledgeable staff doing their best to produce content and consider the various elements that impact how the search engine algorithms rank sites.
Prevent It All Going Pear Shaped
What we want to explore here are the foundations. Most mistakes are made from the very beginning of a website’s development, and if you can catch them before the site gets heavy with content, you have the best chance of building a strong, long-lasting, highly productive site.
Don’t have novices writing content
We’re talking about the foundational content for the site: the home page, service pages, the about us page, and even the contact page. These may seem like simple elements, and of course, no one knows the business better than its owner or its staff, but writing content is not the same as writing to clients or customers about the business. No one but a content specialist should be writing website content.
Never undervalue quality content
If the first point didn’t go deep enough, we’re going to say it again and come at it from another angle. Content should only be written or created by content specialists. Too often, companies will jump on Fiverr or other sites to get some cheap blogs written with keywords injected and think that’s going to serve the algorithms for good SEO juice. It’s not.
Algorithms are highly advanced, and poorly written content is sniffed out in an instant. How? You may wonder… Google’s algorithms filter out content that is too packed with keywords, for one. It also downranks sites that have poor engagement. That means, if a visitor lands on your keyword-rich site and finds it lacking in substance or relevance, they bounce right off, Google takes note, and your site is instantly in the dog house.
Good quality content is a craft. It is designed with these algorithmic parameters in mind to ensure that the keywords are there and the relevance, value, and user experience all align to show your site as highly valuable. Thus, worthy of high ranking.
Avoid a website first, content later approach
Everyone wants a powerful website, but it must be understood that the content informs the site design. Not the other way around. User experience is one of the ways your website will keep your visitors on-site. The longer they stay on-site, the better your authority with the algorithms and the more likely they are to buy from you. Which also helps you win favour with the algorithms.
If you start site first, you have to go back and re-design over and over again as you realise your user experience sucks. A site map is the foundation of the website design, and the site map is formed based on what content needs to go where so that your users drift from one page to another in a way that feels totally intuitive, leading all the way to a “buy now” or “contact us” button.
What you want visitors to see on your site influences how the site is designed. It doesn’t mean the pages have to be written before the site is designed, but they do have to be determined. The content plan comes first. Then the site is built around this flow.
Get on board with video
85% of content in 2022 is going to be video. There is no more website success if the website is just a text-based place where some information is listed. Even if that information is really, truly valuable. High-ranking websites are engaging websites. No one wants to just read text anymore. Video is essential for grabbing attention in an attention poor world.
Don’t mess with cheap hosting
Page speed can make or break the success of a website. Weighed as highly as user experience and engagement, server response/page speed is one of the pillar categories upon which Google ranks websites. Going with cheap hosting that subsequently delivers slow server response is like adopting the business card analogy. You can say goodbye to any chance of ranking well, making the site no better than an online business card which will only be found by those who already know you exist.
Not only do you need to ensure you select a host with a strong reputation for speed, but your site also needs to be optimised to ensure videos, photos, and other content is not causing the site speed to slow.
Web Design and Content Is for Web Design and Content Experts
Unfortunately, thriving websites are never made by chance. They are built by experts who know all the ever-changing ins and outs of website design and content to develop the strong foundations needed to attract visitors and convert them into revenue.
With a well-built website, internal teams can be trained to manage content with confidence, knowing that there are no gaps in the strategy, and the site is built to be a long-term growth generating machine.
Building strong foundations on the daily, Urban Element’s team of website design, development, and content experts can set your business up for success and teach you how to nurture the site well into the future. Contact us today to discuss how.