“What makes a website unsuccessful” is a fairly downbeat topic for a blog post. We try to keep things positive here and describe how to do things well. But the truth is there are lots of common mistakes that it would do good to avoid – so think of this post as a helpful guide to avoiding pitfalls.

It’s easy to make a mistake. Web design is like spinning lots of plates all at once – there are lots of considerations, and it can be tricky to keep them all in play at any one point. While you’re focussing on graphics you might lose sight of content; while you’re animating that engaging video, you could forget your navigation.

That means that it’s always worth keeping an eye on where websites often go wrong – so you can spot when the project might be going awry. Understanding what to avoid is just another way of aiming for what’s good.

So watch out for the following, and make sure you keep the proper plates spinning.

  1. Lacking in Purpose? Websites must have a clear purpose, whether it’s to promote a business or sell their products directly. If you’re unable to define the purpose of your website, it won’t make sense to the end-user, either. Stay focused!
  1. Minimal Focus on the User? While we’re on the subject: websites must ultimately satisfy the user. Without visitors, of course, the website would be pointless. This means that every element of your site should consider your users. Don’t neglect them!
  1. Small Amounts of Content? Content is king. Websites need to have valuable content for visitors – or else why would they bother to visit? Give the public what they want and they’ll reward you. Quality and consistent content are important for search engine rankings, too.
  1. Poor Marketing Strategy? Even if you have a top quality website, you’ll still need a marketing strategy. Without a route to market, you won’t be able to attract the visitors you need. It’s like setting up a store in the desert: who’s going to come? A marketing strategy could include optimisation for search engines, social media, and online advertising. How is anyone going to find your site?
  1. Bad Design? This is the biggie: bad design is the downfall of many a website. First impressions are vital, especially for a website. Although not every successful website has a fancy design with fancy features, clean and attractive design is a must-have. Talk to someone who understands how design works; this stuff matters.

And that’s it! Those are the top five reasons a website fails. So there you have it – steer away from these five pitfalls, and you’ll be well on your way eliminating from your own project everything that makes an unsuccessful website.

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