Fail #1: Too many cooks in the kitchen
In high school, you either loved group work or hated it - there was no in-between.
If you were the kind of person who preferred to work alone, you could probably guess why group work can kill your website. Everyone has a different opinion, everyone wants to do things their way, and everyone thinks their idea is the best.
What do too many cooks in the e-kitchen give you? An e-mess. Half-baked ideas plastered around a disjointed website - because everyone has their idea of what a good website is, and the eventual compromise leaves you with a Frankenstein-like product.
As Smashing Magazine describes, design by group work also known as the business world’s “committee” ultimately leads to compromise, which leads to bland, boring, disjointed designs.
“Design is subjective. The way we respond to a design can be influenced by culture, gender, age, childhood experience and even physical conditions (such as color blindness). What one person considers great design could be hated by another. This is why it is so important that design decisions be informed by user testing rather than personal experience. Unfortunately, this approach is rarely taken when a committee is involved in design decisions.”
Simply put, personal taste needs to take a backseat and let user testing drive the car - that way, you'll manage to go places.
Fail #2: My way or the highway
Do you want to break the Guinness record for killing a website? Design your site based on what you like instead of what users need.
It doesn't matter if you prefer the color blue or lots of animated buttons - you need to listen to what users want and need. The reason why is simple: you're not the one using your website - your customers are.
That's why you need to hire a professional to build your site. That way, you won't build the site you love. Instead, you'll get the website you need, a website that'll turn traffic into sales.
More importantly, you need to hire a professional - and you need to trust him to do the right thing. Hiring someone and micromanaging him is nothing but taking the long route to dead-website-land. As Paul Boag suggests:
"If you want to get the maximum return on your Web team, present it with problems, not solutions. For example, if you’re targeting your website at teenage girls, and the designer goes for corporate blue, suggest that your audience might not respond well to that color. Do not tell him or her to change it to pink. This way, the designer has the freedom to find a solution that may even be better than your choice. You allow your designer to solve the problem you have presented."
Let's say the team you hired wants to use a blue background, and you know your customer base won't respond well to that. Don't tell them to change it to a specific color; instead, explain that your users don't like the color blue. A professional will know how to solve that problem by himself.
Fail #3: No common perspective or direction
Remember the problem with group work? It's more of an issue than you can imagine.
Big companies have a marketing team, an IT department, a PR team, and a few other players. And every single one of them has a different idea as to what a website should do!
The marketing team views a website as a promotional platform, IT guys think about functionality and code, and so on and on. While that would be great if they could work together, their ideas tend to clash - and your website dies soon after the crash. As Jeffrey Zeldman put it:
“No matter how critical the web experience may be to the organization’s mission, the people who design and build those mission-critical sites work in divisions that have nothing to do with the web, and report to leaders whose expertise is unrelated to web design and development.”
Instead of pitting two completely different brain chemistries against one another, trust your website management to a single web team. A web management team combines both content strategy and basic web strategy, such as search engine optimization and mobile-friendly design standards.
Instead of forcing different teams together (and have them pull in different directions), trust your website to a professional web team. Let them decide what the right direction is, and allow them to take you to the finishing line.
Fail #4: Taking too long to do too little
Your website isn't a flashy sign that you plug in and forget about. You have to pay attention to it every day.
Let's say you have a contacts page and you don't pay attention to contact requests in a timely manner. That's just you waiting for your website to die.
Not paying attention to your website kills any possible sale you could have. And making would-be customers wait more than one business day is more than enough to get the job done.
Now, if you're running a business, sitting down and replying to contact requests could seem like a little too much. A great way to solve this problem is to hire a specific person or team to do that job for you.
The best part is, doing so pays by itself (because of the many new clients you'll get).
Fail #5: Too much content, not enough content, and every other combination you can imagine
Content is king. That's the internet's maxim. Without content, your website dies of hunger. Too much content and you crush your website to death. Yes, it's complicated.
Before you die of indecision (and kill your website as you do), there's an easy way to manage content: you have to keep it simple, update it regularly (not incessantly), and make sure you're uploading quality stuff.
A simple way of knowing what to upload is asking yourself, "What do my customers need?" Figure out what kind of issues your customer base has and how you can help them fix them.
And keep it user-friendly. Most people treat the internet as a get-in-and-get-out operation. They want to click on a website, quickly find their solution, and carry on with their day.
Fail #6: Not having a website
After reading the first five fails, you probably think you need to turn off your computer, run away, and hide - lest you become wanted for website murder.
Well, that's not an option. Digital sales grow by the second. With every day that goes by, someone gets a smartphone for the first time - and, before you know it, they are buying something online.
Close to 90% of Americans use the internet to shop online; you better believe that number will do nothing but grow. Not having a website or doing the right thing to kill it will put you out of that huge market.
Luckily, there's no such thing as a permanent website death. More importantly, you can do nothing but thrive with the right help.
Ready to bring your website back to life? Contact us today to get started.