Websites, it is generally agreed, are vital to the success of businesses in the 21st century. With over 90% of people searching online before even considering walking into a store, you’d be mad not to have one.
What I’m seeing though is that many businesses, having made the decision to go online, fail to do much more than that. They get a website…and stop. No attempt to market it, to monitor it, or to maximise its potential. Obviously, it’s desirable to just have a website, and then waste it.
Well, if that’s your aim, read on and I’ll share a few ways you can do it in style…
Let’s Start at the Very Beginning
If you want to waste your time and money from the get-go, employing a fly-by-night operator to build your site is a great way to kick things off. The problems faced by people who have had a site built by a shonk are a sad reminder of cost/quality benefits. Unanswered calls, ignored requests for updates, lengthy downtime, impenetrable backends, no support…the list is long.
Or you could use someone related to you or an acqaintance, because then you might get it for free – and it will be worth every cent. Just don’t try telling them you don’t like their design – guaranteed to end in tears.
1. Make it a Random Act of Marketing
This is probably the best way to totally waste your website; I call it the ‘Field of Dreams’ theory (from the movie of that name – you know, “Build it, and they will come.”)
If you want to waste your website, put your portal online, and never promote its existence. Don’t link it to any of your marketing collateral or other relevant sites. Don’t drive traffic to it from your emails.
Just treat it like all your other advertising that never gets followed up. Tick the box to say you’ve done it, and move on to the next thing. After a while you’ll forget you even have a website! Just like the rest of the world.
2. Analytics are Over-rated.
You may have heard about all the fancy stats that people like to throw around about their websites. Bounce rates, time on site, page views…as if that stuff is something you need to know about. You’re busy enough just running your business, right?
Of course, you could get an online partner who comes by once a month and discusses these things with you, educates you on their importance, and maybe offers suggestions on how to get some really exciting numbers about your site.
But if you want to waste your website, don’t worry about analytics. You probably wouldn’t like what they had to tell you about your pages anyway.
3. Stay the Heck Away from Social Media
Social media is just a waste of time. It’s not like anyone does anything meaningful with it. Can you do business with social media? Reach out to new prospects? Be seen as an expert in your field just by offering your knowledge to others? As if that kind of thing could help you get more customers.
No, to really waste your website you should just stay right out of the limelight. Don’t put a ‘Like’ button on your home page. Don’t link your website to places like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Youtube, because it’s not like millions of people, potential customers, go there.
And forget about having a blog on your website. You wouldn’t want to give away any secrets to your competitors, would you? Keep what you know to yourself. You might need it if you ever get the chance to start over.
4. The More the Merrier
One of my favourite ways to waste a page is load it up with a whole bunch of words; the bigger the block of text the better. What a great way to get people to spend more time on each page! Think how impressed they’ll be after wading through all those words to find what they wanted, or better yet, urgently needed to know!
Oh, and copy writers…why would you use them? As if it matters how the words are laid down. It’s not like there’s any way for people to find your website based on the quality of the text, eh? So don’t waste your money on good copy – waste your website instead.
5. Time is NOT of the Essence
People really want to find you and see your website. So play hard to get – make them wait.
If your page has a heap of really big files on it, or dodgy script running in the background, or is so poorly designed that it loads badly, then people will have to hang around. And if they’re waiting to see your pages, then they can’t be viewing other sites, right? Great strategy.
Okay, so some mob called Google did say that faster sites create happy users. And so what if 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. They probably wouldn’t appreciate all you had to say on your pages anyway. Which kind of brings us to our final point for today…
6. Ignore Mobile Devices
You probably think that the best way to view web pages is on a computer. After all, who searches for services or shops when they are out and about?
Having a website that can’t be loaded quickly and easily on a mobile device is a total waste. I can’t put it simpler than that. You could have an app that links back to your website or promotes your business in other ways. You could promote yourself on Foursquare, or Facebook or Google Places.
If only you thought mobile search was important.
Seriously, a website today is the shopfront of the past. You will be judged on its appearance, on how people feel when they are in it. It is just as important as an ad in the Yellow Pages was 20 years ago. And just like then, if you can’t be found easily, you will be overlooked.
What other ways have you seen people wasting their website?