Is your website useless? Has it failed to make sales or a positive ROI? Do you notice that your website doesn’t produce business leads? If so, your website is failing, and you need to know the reason why.
A failing website can be due to lots of things, but most of the time it’s because one of two elements is missing or imbalanced: maintenance and marketing. Maintenance refers to the day-to-day upkeep of your website, and marketing is spreading the word about your brand.
2 Keys to Website Success
A successful website needs to be taken care of, like all aspects of your business. Taking care of your website means that it’s up-to-date and works well. Your website should be easy to use, or your visitors will become frustrated.
#1 – Maintenance
All the features on your website need to function properly. You also need to keep the information on your website current. It’s vital for your website to offer unique material that your target audience enjoys and finds useful. Additionally, your website must be continuously optimized for search engines like Google. Maintaining a website takes a lot of time, effort, skill, and passion.
When you stop taking care of your website, lots of things can happen, like:
- Your website stops working properly
- Information becomes outdated
Once you stop maintaining your website, it degrades and, depending on how it’s built, it may degrade quickly. Just as with a brick-and-mortar store, if you no longer invest in basic upkeep, it starts to fall apart. The results are ugly:
- No one new visits your website
- Competitors outrank you on Google
- Customers don’t return
- Sales numbers drop
It’s easy to understand why your website is a failure if you don’t maintain it. The same is true if you don’t market your website.
#2 – Marketing
Marketing your website should be planned for, especially if you spend a large amount on your website creation.
Digital marketing is varied and exciting. It can also be overwhelming if you haven’t done it before.
Check out this video about getting started with digital marketing from Artonic’s Marketing Manager, Angela:
The Real Reason Your Website is Failing
Maintaining your website and marketing it to your target audience are two key pieces to website success.
Let’s really dig into the reason why you haven’t spent time, money, or effort in these two areas.
Working with multiple b2b and b2c e-commerce companies, we’ve found that a failing website is usually the result of a specific attitude or belief held by the owner. Ask yourself if:
- You don’t care about your website
- You don’t believe that your website can be successful
If you, as a business owner, do not care about your online success, or if you don’t believe your website will ever be successful, then… you’ll find yourself facing budget woes. As in, if it’s just not worth it to maintain or market your website, you surely won’t put any money behind it.
There is another potential reason for website failure, and it’s:
- You’re doing it wrong
Maybe your marketing doesn’t fit with your brand or target audience. Maybe you’re putting money into a tactic that simply isn’t right for you.
When it comes to maintenance, you may be paying the wrong person to take care of your website. Be sure this person is skilled and experienced in supporting an e-commerce website. If you have no one in your company to handle this, you’ll need to find a team to support your website. (You may be interested in reading Your Website Dream Team is Here. by Mike Riley).
Real Reason #1 – You Don’t Care
If you get zero sales online, the reason may be because you have little interest in your website.
It’s okay to not care. Seriously.
Maybe websites aren’t your thing or you don’t really get into the whole “online” thing. That’s fine; you don’t have to care. But if you want your website to make sales, someone needs to care.
Hire Someone Else
Get another person to work on your website if you don’t want to or don’t care to. There are a lot of people who love to work on websites like our team at Artonic. If you really do not care, then hire someone else who does. Let that person maintain and market your website, so you don’t have to.
Real Reason #2 – You Don’t Believe
Still wondering when we’ll all get over “the whole Internet thing?” Think your website doesn’t work because, well, websites just don’t work.
Is this you? Do you think it’s impossible to turn a profit online?
Well, it’s that very belief that may be holding you back from success!
If you truly think websites are a waste of time and money, then it’s likely you’ve done little to maintain or market your website.
Challenge your lack of belief in the Internet and websites. Websites can be very profitable – for proof, just check out some stats from BigCommerce:
- 51% of Americans think shopping online is the best way to shop, with 49% preferring shopping in-store.
- Americans spend 64% of their shopping budget in-store, and 36% online.
- In the last year, shoppers have spent the most with e-commerce marketplaces ($488), closely followed by major online/offline brands ($409) such as Nordstrom or Best Buy.
- 74% of Americans have shopped at large online/offline brand name retailers,
- 54% on e-commerce marketplaces, 44% at small and specially online brands and
- 36% at category-specific online retailers.
When shopping online, nearly half (48%) of online purchasers first turn to a mass commerce marketplace.
- 31% first shop at a large online/offline brand name retailer, 12% first shop at a category specific online retailer, 7% first turn to a small/speciality online retail brand (more on conversion rates here).
- 52% of smartphone owners use online banking (or e-banking), indicative of a further trend towards mobile shopping
Revenue impact for the retail industry.
- Mobile conversion increased 30% YoY from 2015 to 2016.
- In 2012, mobile sales accounted for 10% of total purchases across BC stores.
- In 2016, mobile commerce sales accounted for 31% of total purchases.
Same store mobile commerce growth stats by country YoY.
- U.S. businesses – 24% growth.
- Australia & New Zealand businesses – 33% growth.
- European businesses – 18%.
- Canadian businesses – 19%.
- Asia-based businesses – 42%.
- Other – 30%.
The point is that the Internet can be very lucrative for e-commerce businesses. If your e-commerce website is failing, the problem is with the website or marketing; the problem is not with the Internet or e-commerce.
Real Reason #3 – Budget Woes
You may find your website failing even if you care about your website and believe it can work. What’s the reason for failure in this case?
Take a good, hard look at your budget.
What is your annual marketing budget? What percentage of your marketing budget is reserved for digital marketing, like AdWord or search engine optimization (SEO)? How much do you spend on website maintenance and support?
If you have an inadequate budget dedicated to your website or digital marketing efforts, it’s very likely your website will fail.
The solution to this problem is to make digital marketing a priority, and that includes your website.
The Internet is a powerful place, and your website can be a powerful tool — but only if you spend time and, yes, money on them.
Real Reason #4 – You’re Doing It Wrong
Maybe you believe in digital marketing and you care, too. But you’re still failing online. What’s that about?
It’s very possible that you’re investing in the wrong marketing strategy.
Digital Marketing hinges on your target audience: the people to whom you sell your products or services. If you have only a vague idea of who your audience is, it’s time to change that.
Stop wasting money on ineffective tactics or the wrong brand message. Instead, take a step back and evaluate things.
- Do you know who is your target audience?
- Do you know their shopping habits and preferences?
- Do you connect with them on social media or through a blog?
- Is your website built for the people who use it most?
If you’ve answered “No” to most (or all) of these questions, it indicates that you have some work to do in this area.
Success Tip #1 – Learn from Failure
If your website is failing, don’t beat yourself up about it. It is what it is. If you’re just realizing this, the best thing to do is accept that you’ve failed and decide to move on.
Learning from failure can be freeing; instead of seeing something as a bad decision, look at it as a learning experience. Now you know what not to do!
Success Tip #2 – Set a Budget
Ready to succeed online? Let’s do this!
Your first step is to set a budget for your digital marketing presence. Include:
- Development Support
- Digital Marketing
A professional e-commerce website needs development support. Development support means someone to make sure everything works the way it should.
Consider ongoing updates and error fixes – who does that for your website (or who will do this in the future)? Development teams also identify and correct security risks or areas of poor performance to keep your site running at its best.
Success Tip #3 – Find a Team
Now it’s time to find your website dream team, and turn your failing website into a success.
When looking for a team to maintain and market your website, consider these items:
- Your budget
- Your timeframe
- Your goals
- Your values
- Future needs
Obviously, you have a budget and timeframe you want to stick to. Can your team stay within budget and get projects done in a reasonable amount of time?
Next, what goals do you have for your website? Setting goals is important so that you can determine whether or not your website is successful (or if it’s still failing…).
Values are vital to the healthy growth of an e-commerce business. Ensure your website team holds the same values as you do. Not sure? Ask them and ask their current (and past) clients.
Last, consider the future needs of your business. Do you want to grow? Do you need to re-brand? Want to create videos or need custom illustrations? Be sure your website team has the capability and capacity for those items you’ll need later on.
Download Your Free Guide
How do you create a website that entices your customers to buy the things you sell? And what kind of marketing strategy is best? These questions are something we answer for clients all the time!
Discover what it takes to build a success e-commerce website online with our guide: E-commerce Web Design Best Practices.
If you have questions about web design or digital marketing, let us know!