Establishing an online presence is an absolute must for all businesses; increasing take-up of smartphones and tablets is boosting the time we spend online - a recent Ofcom study showed that, in 2015, over half of UK households (54%) had a tablet, a sharp rise in popularity from just 2% in 2011. The study also notes that in some age groups, smart phones have replaced desktop and computers as the most preferred device for going online, and that on average we're spending 2 hours per day on our smartphones browsing the web. These figures reinforce what most of us already know - if your website isn't working well on tablets and mobiles, or just isn't working well at all, you're missing out on a huge business opportunity.
A website, when functioning well, is an effective tool for providing information to your clients, and for generating new clients - whether buyers or vendors. As we become increasingly blasé about the web and doing things online, a bad website stands out for all the wrong reasons, and for a potential client looking at your business for the first time, it's a bad first impression. Often we hear business owners bemoaning the performance of their website - in effect, they see their website as a failure. But this view would be a mistake because, as with any tool, websites are only a useful tool when they are used properly.
So, why do website fail? -We've worked in the online realm for the last 20 years, and here's the top reasons that websites fail:
Reason 1: Out of date content
If you've ever clicked onto a website and seen 'latest news' items from 3 years ago, you've seen out of date content. But what did you do? -The chances are you'll have dismissed the website as out of date, or worse still, questioned whether the business has even closed. If you want customers to think that you don't take your online presence seriously, out of date content is the best way to do it. The reasons why websites become outdated come down to a handful of things: firstly, the business doesn't have enough time to update it, or secondly, it's too difficult for users to update the content...and too expensive to go to the person who designed the website and ask for their help.
Reason 2: The website is hard to use
The frustration of using a badly designed website that doesn't do what we want to do is one of the most popular reasons we stop using it. Sometimes websites are simply too difficult to navigate around. In both of these cases, we just hit the 'Back' button on our browser - effectively, we walk out of the shop. A good website should be intuitive for your users, allowing them to find exactly what they need, when they need it.
Reason 3: The website doesn't work on mobiles/tablets
Having a 'responsive' website - in other words a website that works well on a mobile phone or tablet - is really a must, given the statistics we mentioned in the introduction to this article - over 2 hours spent per day browsing the web on our smartphones. So, if you look at your website on your phone and it looks horrible - i.e. too small to read or difficult to navigate around - the chances are it's not a responsive website, and this will turn customers away.
There are other reasons why websites fail, but more important than knowing why they're failing is knowing that there are solutions. Talk to us if you'd like to discuss how your websites working for your business.
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