Over the years of being in this business I have seen many business Web sites go online and then simply fade into obscurity, lonely and unloved. The owners of those sites likely reasoned that the Internet is a loss, not a gain. The truth is that their failure could have been predicted soon after launch, or even before. Far more importantly, their loss could have been prevented if they had been informed regarding the following 10 pitfalls of many business Web sites.
Here’s why most business Web sites fail:
1. Poor Content
Content is the mother of success. With quality content a Web site will sooner or later be discovered, again and again. But the content has to have a purpose and be relevant. It should be regularly updated. This doesn’t have to be often. Once a week, spending an hour or so, isn’t difficult (unless you get millions of regular visitors then daily updates make sense.)
2. Poor or Non-existent SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. If you want to learn more about it, search it on Google. It is a must for every Web site. It includes on-site and off site optimization. The purpose is to make the Web site more visible on Search Engines. On-site SEO involves editing site markup and text, while off-site optimization is mainly concerned with quality incoming links. If you have good content, this makes SEO work better.
3. No Call to Action
What do you want your visitors to do on your site? Learn about your products or services, then what? You must make it super easy for visitors to either find your contact or order form. Don’t just put it on your site, but also invite your visitors to either contact you or order from your site.
4. Poor Contact Information
Your visitors want to know who they are dealing with. They are not looking for a book’s worth of info on your company, but they want to know the basics: where to contact you if they have questions, name of your company, location, phone number and a few blurbs about your company. A personal name or few will also help. Make this info easy to locate on your Web site. Most visitors are accustomed to look for About Us, Company Info or Contact Info links.
5. Bad Design
You spend money and effort on getting the word out on your Web site. Now, what impression do visitors get when they visit your site? Remember that people will judge your services and products based on the impression of your Web site. Is it professional? Does it pay attention to details (i.e. correct spelling & grammar)? Is it trustworthy or does it feel like a fly-by-night operation?
6. No Trust-building Elements
7. Poorly Chosen Domain Name
Due to a lot of spam out there, people have been programmed to identify domains of legitimate companies or potential spammers. Short domains or domains that match exactly the business name and end in .com are best choices. Next best choices are .net and .org extensions. Hyphens, numbers, long names, and extensions other than .com should be avoided.
8. Lack of Maintenance
Web sites need regular maintenance. This includes regular content updates, even as small as adding a sentence or two, updating pricing or adding an image, etc. Additionally, ensuring that all internal, outgoing and incoming links are working correctly, and that there are no broken pages. Maintenance services can be combined with marketing and other services by some Web companies.
9. No Marketing Plan
If a Web site is not part of a marketing plan it will less likely succeed. A marketing plan must include Web site promotion and vice versa. For example, does all of you literature include your Web site address? Do you include your Web site address in your outgoing emails, advertising, etc.? If you advertise on T.V. or in print magazines, why not include a copy on your Web site.
10. No Site Plan
Getting a Web site just for the sake of having a Web site and slapping any kind of info together is not a great strategy. A Web site needs a plan. What is the goal of the Web site? What do you want visitors/prospects to do on your site? How will they do it and how will the site help them accomplish it? It is important to have a site plan as it will not only help you get results and a ROI, but also help you measure success. It is important to remember that success is not simply visits but, more importantly, conversions. How many visitors turn into customers or strong prospects. If a site gets many visits but few conversions then something is wrong. The culprit is usually the site plan and it needs to be reworked.
It may seem overwhelming to the uninitiated how many details are involved in making a successful Web site, but a Web marketing professional will be able to help you each step of the way. At the very least, this list will help you understand what needs to be done and assist you in oversight of your Web project.