Reasons why small business websites fail after getting launched

Reasons Why Websites Can Fail After Launching

There are many reasons why websites fail to attract new visitors. If you can’t attract new visitors you can’t turn them into paying customers, right?

Many business owners think that having a website will instantly draw a steady stream of new customers, ready to buy their products or services. It may seem counterintuitive to say this but many people believe that if they have a niche market or are already established by word-of-mouth that they don’t really need a website. But all of those current customers who know you don’t live forever and/or they move out of the area. Therefore for your sales to increase you need to find new customers. That is when a website can really help. However, the reality is that having a website waiting to be unearthed just isn’t enough to “make it big.”

The best and main reasons to have a website are that it:

  • validates you as an established company
  • allows you to control the content and tell the “real” story about your company in your own words
  • helps your customers find you, your products and/or services
  • your competition is already on the web

View our blog with more information on why small businesses should have a website.

Below are valid reasons why websites fail after getting launched.

Nine Reasons Why Websites Can Fail

  1. Website Not Optimized for Mobile Devices

    All websites should be optimized for mobile devices (known as responsive design).

    If your website is not optimized for mobile devices (known as responsive design) then it’s time to update your website. In 2020 mobile devices generated 51.53% of global website traffic, meaning that mobile devices currently account for half of all the global web pages served. Websites not optimized for mobile devices will appear small and out-dated. Mobile optimized websites are the standard now and visitors don’t want to waste time searching for the menu, resizing pages, trying to tap links that are too small and generally getting frustrated.

    If you have a website already, you can test if it’s mobile friendly with Google’s mobile-friendly test site.

  2. Poor Website Design

    People will get a bad impression of your company if your website looks out-of-date or if it’s not working properly.

    If you are the only antique clock repair shop within 50 miles of any other clock repair shop, or you have been the neighborhood bakery since 1902 or you are the only Factory Authorized McIntosh Service repair shop in San Diego, then, to be honest, it really doesn’t matter if you have a poorly designed website because people will find you. But if you have a little bit of competition, then you need to have a polished and up-to-date website. A poor web design will not win your business any points when customers are comparing your website with a competitor’s site. The design of your website should match your business message and branding, be pleasing to look at without obstructing information, and have a clear call to action.

    If your website looks out of date or doesn’t match other marketing materials then customers will think your products or services are out of date and could favor a competitor.

  3. Website Not Regularly Updated or Maintained

    Websites are like housework – the work is never done.

    So many small business owners know they need a website so they get it built and then get back to the business and what they know. That is a comfortable place for them. But websites are like housework – website work is never done. There is always the laundry to be done, the carpet needs vacuuming, etc.

    This next reason to keep your website up-to-date has to do with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Google (and other search engines) want to know that you are “taking care of your website” and they do that by looking at the “updated date” on your website which is a “hidden” date. You can’t do anything to “cheat” that date so the only way to show Google that you update your website is to actually change the content on your web pages.

    A broken link or a missing web page (called a 404 error) is another instant negative. If your visitors can’t access the information they are looking for, if they can’t contact you or links and images aren’t working, you’re not going to turn visitors into customers.

    Common causes for broken links and pages are Content Management System (CMS) updates, human error and moving pages without redirects.

    As for seeing if a website is updated, we recommend looking at the footer. If the year at the bottom says 2018 or earlier, move on. It’s more enjoyable visiting websites that have been recently updated.

  4. Using Unqualified Professionals

    Make sure you know what you are getting into before building your website.

    You don’t need to have a professional web developer build your website as there are lots of Content Management Systems available that allow you to do it yourself. Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy and others offer the option for you to quickly build your own website but in our experience, this templated approach can often lead to frustration for non-technical end users… and that is when we get calls for help. A couple of months after going live, you will realize that you want more features or options from the website so you will have to upgrade to get more of their features and that is when you realize your mistake… and when we get calls for help.

    Using a professional web developer helps avoid mistakes and, hopefully, they will take the time to educate you on your website options so you can make intelligent decisions. A good web developer will help you plan your website project to get the best start. Planning ahead is the secret. What does your business need now and where do you want to be in 5 years? No web designer or developer can predict everything you will need down the line but they can get you to 80% of your goal.

    ATC Web Solutions can help you start down the planned website path by listening to your needs and adding SEO from the beginning. By doing a bit of planning you can reduce a lot of the future growth headaches.

  5. Not Optimized for Search Engines

    Search engines “rule” the web – you better know how to play by their rules.

    Even the most beautifully designed website can fail if it hasn’t been optimized for search. Nowadays most people start their product or service search by opening a Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge or Safari browser and going to Google or asking “Alexa.” If your website can’t be found, then you might be missing sales.

    With that said, even if you have done everything right on your website, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be instantly on the first page of Google. Search Engine Optimization is a test of your patience (time), SEO knowledge, your competition for your targeted keywords, strategy, planning and, usually, money, to get listed on the top of the search engine results page (known as SERPs). If you want good bedtime reading material you can read more of Google’s criteria on their expectations for a quality website.

    View more information on SEO.

  6. Not Promoting Your Website

    Talk to people. Get involved. Reach out. Figure out your target audience. Do SOMETHING!

    Another reason why websites fail is due to a lack of promotion. Once your website is live you need to attract and drive visitors to it. Visits to your website helps Google to see that you are “active” and that activity helps your ranking with Google.

    This can be achieved through a variety of marketing channels:

    • Paid Google Ads (Pay-Per-Click advertising)
    • Paid social advertising (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube)
    • Social Media (Facebook, Yelp, and others)
    • Email campaigns
    • Telling your friends to visit your website
    • Encouraging people to write reviews about your products and/or services on Yelp and Google
    • Mailings
    • Create local awareness (join business associations, community groups)
    • Offer coupons or free products or services (giveaway SWAG)
    • Use communication methods that may be unique to your industry
    • And more

    If you’re not actively marketing your website, i.e, your business, your business is not going to reach its full potential. A website can work wonders for your business if it’s marketed actively, properly and to the right target market.

  7. Slow Loading Website

    Have the response of your website get in the fast lane

    A slow loading website is a definite website “fail” signal. If your website is too slow to load, it will likely frustrate visitors causing them to leave your website – we’ve all done it, right? You only have 3 – 4 seconds to grab your visitor’s attention which makes your home page load speed a priority.

    The following can be the reasons for a slow loading website:

    • Not optimized for mobile devices
    • Browser cache not configured properly
    • Too much “heavy” Javascript code
    • Images are not optimized
    • Files are not compressed
    • Slow hosting server
  1. No Call to Action

    What would you like the visitor to do on your website? Then present them the option(s).

    Your website should prompt visitors to do something – anything! Whether it’s to buy a product, make an appointment, fill out a form or pick up the phone. You should have a clear and obvious call to action that will help your visitors connect with you, e.g., “call today” or “complete the form.”

    Calls to action can be a button linking to a form, a phone number in bold text or a large promotional image with text to sign up for a newsletter. If there isn’t a clear call to action your visitors won’t know what you want them to do.

  2. Poor Menu and Website Structure

    Use the KISS principle to your website menu and structure. Keep it Simple.

    Your website menu should be uncluttered, simple to use, and clearly identify the key pages you want emphasized to promote your business. It’s important to check that visitors can navigate around your website with ease. If your website is full of sub-menus, side menus and dead ends, your visitors could quickly become lost and just leave your website. A good rule-of-thumb is that the visitor should be able to get to the content they want in no more than three mouse clicks.

    Simple is better but that can take time to accomplish. Converting something complicated into an easily accessible format is no mean feat. It’s important to take the time to lay out your website’s main menu.

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