Web design for businesses: why 80% of websites add no value

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Whether you work from home, running an SME or a corporate, a website is something that can bring the change you need in your business.

I am sure you are familiar with this type of promotional talk! There is something for you here.

Only 20% percent of website owners benefit from their websites. I want to show you how to avoid wasting your time, money and resources doing something that will not pay off.

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80% of websites are useless in the business, whether they are online or offline it makes no difference.

A useful website is one that generates business leads, sales, following or readership for you, depending on what type of business you are in.

If your website does not help increase your sphere of influence or get to your business goals, let me submit to you that it’s useless.

In this article, you will learn what to change on your website to make a useful business tool.

But why is this so?

The major problem resulting in websites becoming useless is the process behind their creation. The most important task of developing websites is the planning behind it. Most of the clients I have who want to have websites want “just something quick and simple”, there is no measurable business objective for having the website. That’s the recipe for failure.

Of course, the developer will have something ready for 24 – 72 hrs and the emails working too! But I dare you, that website will not get its full potential. Success in such cases will be by accident!

Here is how to join that lucrative group of 20% successful websites.

boots on table, cup, this might work seth godin

Planning for a website project

1. Your products and services. These are your money making objects! Plan how you will present your products and services on the website. These must occupy more than 90% of all the content on your website and they must be in prominent positions. Some people make the mistake of placing the mission statement, history, and company structure in so much detail but just list their products in shallow bullets! Old marketers! Know what you are selling, the brand or the products/services. If you are selling products/services then go ahead and cover them well enough to be convincing both to human visitors and search engines alike.

2. Budget. Surely you need to invest into your website. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why substandard websites are created. Websites consultants who charge very little will also bring very little value to the project. The design and the code are not the value I am talking about. The value I mean is the guidance you need for your website to help you get to your business goals. So how much is enough? It depends on the type of website you are building.

3. Your goals for the website. Why are you creating the website? The most common answer is ‘for marketing purposes’. To me, it’s like, why are you going to school? Then you answer, ‘to get learned’. I’m sure by grade three you will be learned. You need SMART goals for your website. That is goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Here are examples of good business goals:

* Increase in-store sales by 20% in six months.
* Get 600 business leads per month from the website
* Get to be listed in Google results for ‘service/product name’.

4. Target Audience goals. Now that you have SMART goals for your business website, you need to think about your audience. First of all, who are they? You need buyer personas for your online efforts to be fruitful. You can learn buyer personas here.Secondly, why are they coming to your website? Possible reasons are to buy, to research about your products, to compare prices or to prepare for an interview.List at least five reasons why your audience would visit your website.This will help you and the developer on what to do to meet the audience’s goals.The truth is that your goals will be fulfilled as you meet the needs of your audience. Without that, the people will not take that action you want, whether a sale or to subscribe. Get into your audience’s shoes, figure out what they need and offer them that.

5. Competition. There are many definitions and criterion for determining who your competition is. In this case, your competition is those websites where people end up going to when they want your products/services. When we search for your product on Google, those websites which get listed above yours are the competition.Because of this, it’s important to be clear that your online competition can be very different from the competition for other markets. The physical and online market are different.Listing your competition is helpful in knowing what you need to surpass in order to do well.

6. Define Success. What does it look like? List a few achievable goals for example:

* $100 000 annual revenue.
* 10 client sign ups weekly etc

Avoid going wild in defining goals and success. Goals should be limited to the budget you have allocated to the project, at most expect to get some ROI and a profit. Wild goals will frustrate you when you fail to achieve them.

After defining these, you need to find a website consultant to help you.

This person is supposed to do more than just coding and ‘photoshoping’. You will assess the work of the consultant using your predefined business and audience goals.

A free gift from Calmlock Web Design: Five things you can do on your website in a week to get more sales

Trust Nhokovedzo is an online business consultant with website design background. He is fond of websites and Search Engine Optimization.

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16 Comments

  1. Website Chaiyo says:

    Great Article – I agree 100%. Check out an example of a well thought and planned website >> http://ndeipi.com/

    1. you suck says:

      Guy have you visited that ndeipi site with opera mini , if thats how a well thought out site looks like i’ll stick with my in the 80% site … messed up modal is overlaying the whole thing , with page content stacked in 20% of the screen .. So much for UX ^_^

    2. Vavi says:

      You promise to get me on the first page of google? Dammn you gud dude! Or are baiting me?

      1. @Vavi – It’s possible to get on the first page of Google for any phrase you want! Very few websites are optimized here in Zimbabwe. The few I know of are e-commerce websites. Almost any industry in Zimbabwe has this great competition loophole around SEO. A newcomer with strong SEO will overtake old timers on Search Results.

        I was involved in the optimization of our website calmlock.co.zw for ‘website design in zimbabwe’ on Google.co.zw. Within four months we managed to be on number 6 of the Google.co.zw organic results. I am helping a number of companies locally with search engine optimization as well.

  2. Keith says:

    I agree with this article. If we do value analysis , there must be a value that must come with websites thus why even in accounting they capitalize certain site in the balance sheet as an asset eg amazon.com website or statistical office of a country’s website.

    1. Trust Nhokovedzo says:

      Thank you Keith – Sadly most websites are just seen as expenses in the transactions. In many cases, even the marketing team cannot tell how much useful, statistically, the website is useful to the business. A good website should add value!

  3. James Fraser says:

    Interesting points you bring out there.

    Will definitely take this into consideration when working on our website

  4. Ashbel says:

    Good article you raise interesting points

  5. george says:

    Nice article. If you need a great website, i suggest you check out a great Web developer. His link is

    http://www.fiverr.com/websitemaestro

    His reviews are great!

    1. I always recommend dealing with a developer/designer you can physically meet. The problem with online gurus is not that they can’t deliver but rather that the communication could be better in person than with any technology you can name.

      I personally insist on meeting clients before starting work on their project. This is because we discovered that many people do not know how to express their requirements, needs and goals comfortably in technical terms. A physical meeting will make it easy for them off the record of email or any such technology.

      The online designers can be useful and cheaper if you have your website project specified to the last dot. Otherwise, for a coached website building project its best to work with some you can meet.

  6. Mazvita says:

    Eyeopening article, thank you, I keep learning from you each time. Great work!!

  7. KG says:

    Great article indeed. I’d just like to add something I’ve noticed in common with techs and creatives. When you take on the process of creating a website it’s also important to engage someone with selling experience. Someone who can make your website part of your sales plan, many techs tend to be so excited with what new tech they can cram into a site but it’s real meaning is missed. Like how does that add to the bottom line. A good example is an electrical contractor whose website has a live chat function but he’s always out on jobs and never available to chat.

    1. Trust Nhokovedzo says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more! So many websites have useless features just because it’s possible to make them. So many websites are not connected to the business plan is a solid measurable way. That’s why some people think they are something you do when there is money to spare! When done well, websites are business machines…Thanks KG

  8. Anonymous says:

    wow! A great article, very informative and well thoughtout.I wish I had known this when I started my business 5 years ago.Thank you for sharing. SN

Comments are closed.