It is a common scenario. You hire someone to build a website and kick back waiting for the customers to roll in.
But nobody turns up…
So you ask yourself “Why does no one visit my website?” or “Why does nobody buy from my website?”
Well there are many reasons but before you can figure out what the issue is, you must first understand what an under-performing website is, and how you figure out if you have one.
What is an underperforming website?
You have probably found this article because you are pretty sure your website is a disappointment and is capable of far more. But let me explain how to decide if your website really is rubbish.
A gut feeling that your website isn’t working well isn’t a good way of measuring its success. You must have goals which you measure. Without them you are simply guessing.
This article will help explain:
- Why your website must have goals
- Why your goals must be realistic
- If your website is really failing
Why your website must have goals
Olympic athletes all want to win a gold medal. that is there goal, and everything they do is geared towards this single aim. The food they eat, the training they do, the rest they take all plays a small part towards helping them reach their goal.
Your website is no different. It should also have a clearly defined goal which you keep tabs on.
Luckily it is really easy to measure stuff on a website. 90% of all website have software installed that measures stuff, such as Google Analytics (which is completely free). This means there is no reason to not measure stuff.
The most obvious measure that people use is ‘number of visitors’. This is sometimes (wrongly) called ‘hits’. Put basically it is the number of people who land on your website. This is an interesting figure to know but it is very general and doesn’t show how relevant that visitor is.
For example if you own a hair salon in London and most of the people who visit your website are from Newcastle then the visitors are irrelevant as they are unlikely to need your services. This is why visitor number are not a good measure of success on there own. You need to measure other things to get a full picture.
A good place to start would be to measure how many people perform a specific action or goal – such as buy a product, fill in a form, or sign up for a mailing list.If you expected 4 sales a day, but get 1 per week then you can safely assume that your website is failing.
Many of the people who commission me to fix their under performing website have no idea what there goals are. My advice is when you initially commission a web designer you should sit down and come up with your goals together. Agree them. More importantly measure them.
Only then will you know if your website has fallen short of what you expected.
Why your goals must be realistic
It can cost loads to build a new website. Regardless if you spend £1000 or £100,000 your aim should be to make more than it costs. If it doesn’t, then your website is a liability instead of an asset and can be rubber-stamped with the ‘underperforming’ label.
You must be realistic with your goals though. If you spend £10 per month on a website you are very unlikely to earn £10,000 a month. The income generated is influenced by how much time, effort and money you spend on creating and maintaining it.
This reminds me a of a story. A client of mine is a hairdresser and we were trying to establish a budget for his website. His initial feeling was that he wanted to pay around £50 per month, so £600 per year.
I asked him how much the annual spend was for an average client. He informed me £500. I then asked how many new clients he would like, and he said 20 per year would be perfect.
Using a simple calculation I figured out the income per year he would like the website to generate. So that’s 20 clients x £500 per year = £10,000 income. Since this client had a small salon his yearly income was only £80,000. So he was expecting the website to generate 12.5% of his yearly income and it would cost only £600.
If this were possible it would be almost a 17 fold return on investment! Investors go mad for a 20% return on investment so to exepct a 1667% return is a little unrealistic.
So after explaining these points we set the budget at around £4000, which is quite high for a small business. The website met his target of 20 new clients within a year so his website was £6000 in profit. It only gets better because if this trend continues into year 2 then it’s all profit.
So his website has proved an incredible return on investment – even with the higher budget. Ironically, I don’t believe the website would have been nearly as successful if the budget had been reduced.
Imagine that the original budget of £600 had been used. With such a tight budget there would have been little time for anything more than the basics. No SEO, conversion optimisation, or split testing would have been done leading to a much lower number of new clients. Indeed I would have been surprised if he got any.
But even if he picked up 1 new client he would have had an overall loss of £100 as opposed to a £6000 profit.
Is your website really failing?
Now you are aware that you need to measure certain things to establish if your website is really failing you need to go and start measuring them. If you have never had any goals make sure you create some – but be realistic.
Only then can your gut feeling be checked if it is correct.
Trying to figure out your web design budget can be confusing. Before you decide you may want to read my article on How much should a website cost to build? If you want to avoid an under-performing website then read my 10 Tips on how to pick a good web designer.