Building and launching a new website can quickly become expensive. A web design agency might charge a couple of thousand pounds even for a reskinned WordPress template, while a bespoke website will cost a great deal times more. Adding ecommerce functionality or database compatibility escalates fees even further, as will commissioning freelance writers or photographers to produce premium-quality content.
It makes sense to invest significant sums into website development if results are guaranteed, but the internet has little respect for the promises of web design companies. Any new site needs clear objectives, usually involving the promotion of products, services or a brand. If it takes fifty customer transactions to recoup the cost of programming and debugging, a website could hinder the balance sheet as much as help it.
These are some of the ways new websites can end up being a waste of money:
#1. Poor design.
Sites quickly scare away audiences if they feature confusing navigation or layouts. A classic example involves divergent desktop and mobile designs, resulting in different experiences depending on a user’s preferred platform. Sub-pages with ambiguous or vague titles also fall into this category, alongside hover ads and pages that prevent people from using their Back buttons.
#2. Dull or irrelevant content.
People visiting a company website don’t care about the founder’s views on Brexit or football – they want to know how that company’s expertise will help them. Every paragraph should provide information, offer expert advice or promote products and services. Avoid tangential blogs, rambling mission statements or using business social media accounts to pursue personal agendas.
#3. A lack of SEO.
A website that hasn’t been updated for six months will rank poorly in search results, as will a site containing dead links or missing pages. SEO analysis often highlights missing content, but optimising a site for search engines also involves identifying (and using) industry-specific keywords and phrases. Sites with plenty of reputable inbound and outbound hyperlinks tend to perform strongly, too.
#4. Unnecessary features.
It’s easy to get carried away adding live social media feeds, parallax scrolling and bespoke fonts, yet none of this increases sales or improves brand awareness. Time and again, SEO analysis reveals websites are being slowed down by excessive plugins, bloated code or uncompressed images. Estimated page loading speeds are also a key metric used by search engines when ordering their results.
Fortunately, SEO analysis quickly identifies where a website is failing. The same SEO analysis should also point out any areas requiring attention – the addition of meta/image tags, for instance, or the inclusion of keywords championed by competitors. Simplicity is often the key, with large images and a couple of paragraphs of concise text on each page instinctively drawing readers towards an action or conclusion. Make sure that every page smoothly draws the audience further into the site, rather than leading them into dead ends. Without a defined call to action, even the most stylish website could end up being a waste of cash…