Why so many websites fail (and what you can do to ensure success)

website failure
More than 140,000 new websites go live every day, according to a 2012 Netcraft study. Nowadays, the rate of website creation is probably even higher.

Since every website is created for a different purpose, on a different platform, and with a different budget, gauging an individual website's success can be like comparing apples to oranges. However, industry benchmarks and basic analysis reveal why some websites hit the mark, while others fail spectacularly.

Whether you run a B2B or B2C organization, your website forms a key component of your overall brand. With 89.4% of American adults online (as of March 2019), your website is one of the best ways to reach and influence your target audience. So how can you steer your website in the right direction? What can you do to ensure your website success, when so many others fail?

What guarantees a total website fail?

You’ve probably noticed many of these problems in your own internet use, and we hear it time and again from new customers: minor errors and seemingly small missteps can make an entire website fall flat. These issues often mark a website gone wrong:

Poor User Experience

  • Navigation that tries to be clever, rather than prioritizing clarity.
  • Lack of tracking (and lack of understanding of how to use tracking data).

Compromised Content

  • Content does not say what the company is or does.
  • Too much content
  • Not enough content
  • Inaccurate content

Bad Design

  • A generic template design that doesn’t represent the brand
  • Cheesy stock photos
  • Visual or content clutter
  • Low-quality design

Faulty Functionality

  • Design that doesn’t work or load properly on mobile phones
  • Slow load time
  • Forms that are too long or difficult to use and submit
  • Amateur workarounds when an admin does not have the ability to access or edit the site with a content management system

Lack of Strategy

  • No conversions or clear ways to gauge visitor interaction
  • No clear calls to action
  • No SEO

How to make sure it doesn't happen to you

1

Up-front strategic planning pays for itself many times over.

When it comes to websites, advance planning makes or breaks the project. To avoid common pitfalls, you have to do your homework.
  • Set goals. What do you want your website to do for you?
  • Look at designs. Do you prefer template sites or a more custom look? What design features seem most intuitive and compelling?
  • Set tracking guidelines. How will you track and measure success over time?
  • Evaluate scope. Do you need a complete website redesign or just some quick fixes? Does your content need to be updated? Do you need mobile coding? How are your calls to action working? What other changes might help you reach your defined website goals?
2

Start with quick and easy wins.

While you put your implementation plan into place, get off to a good start with quick fixes that can help your website in the meantime.
  • Fix broken links. Run a free link checker and fix links on a regular basis.
  • Replace blurry images. Find new, sharp, optimized images to replace older, blurry, or pixelated images.
  • Resize large, slow-loading images. Protect your site’s performance and SEO results with appropriately sized images.
3

Do the work that must be done.

Unfortunately, when it comes to successful websites, half-way measures aren’t enough. Once you’ve defined your goals and scope, put them into practice so you can see results.
  • Address content management. If your current CMS doesn’t work and you cannot edit the content, work with a developer to update and modularize your pages to give you more control.
  • Take a big-picture design view. If your current design doesn’t represent your brand or seems cluttered or dated, don’t just redesign the home page. Your website functions as a whole experience and should present a cohesive look across every page, not just on one or two screens.
  • Make your site responsive. If your site doesn’t work on mobile phones and other small devices, you need a developer to update, customize, and test your code.
  • Update your content. The best design and code won’t save your website from disaster if your content isn’t accurate, compelling, scannable, and written for your target audiences.
  • Push for conversions. We measure website success in form submissions, phone calls, traffic, and other forms of conversion. To get the most from your website, consider your audience, calls to action, promotions, SEO, and user experience journey to reach for more and better conversions.
  • Upgrade your hosting. Successful websites don’t go down frequently. If your website seems like it’s always broken, make sure your hosting is up to date and protecting your site from hacking and technology failures.

Your website matters

From e-commerce to physical locations, from B2B to B2C products and services, your website makes a critical first impression.
  • For every one second delay over a standard three-second load time, conversions fall by 12%. (Source)
  • Nearly 60% of internet users report that they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. (Source)
  • 38% of internet users won’t engage with a site if the content or layout is unattractive. (Source)
You can’t afford to ignore your website. But you don’t have to take failure as an answer. Since 2004, TBH Creative has built successful websites for businesses and organizations across industries. Our expertise drives premium, brand-focused design that gets results.
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Tatum

About the author | Tatum Hindman

Tatum is the president of TBH Creative and is responsible for building long-term client relationships. She enjoys the strategy behind web design and collaborating with clients to define and execute online marketing goals. She likes to blog about hot topics in web design and digital marketing, as well as share tips for strengthening your online presence.

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