Why Most Business Websites Fail (And What You Can Do About It)

The whole purpose of your commercial website is to turn your visitors into customers. This means encouraging them to take action; to phone you up, make an email enquiry, purchase your product, sign up to your newsletter, visit your store and so on.

So whatever action it is you’re looking for, failure is not getting it.

So why do most websites fail?

Because the content is not focused on the customer. And when I say focused on the customer, I mean something very specific: that customer’s self-interest. Visitors to your site only care about one thing: what they gain from doing business with you. Nothing else. No one cares about you or your business.

The problem is, it’s natural to make your business the focus of your website. You live it, you breath it, you love it, you worry about it – it’s your life. Of course you’re going to talk about your business.

But you shouldn’t.

Now, don’t get me wrong, you have to say who you are and what you do. By having an ‘about us’ page or mentioning that you’ve been trading for over 20 years it helps to reassure your website visitors. It should just be a very small part of your overall message.

Focus on your customer’s needs
Your website content needs to highlight, very clearly, how you’re going to make their life better. This needs to be the focus of your message.

And remember, a customer’s self-interest can look very different, depending on what it is you sell. The motivations behind buying a burglar alarm and a smart-phone are clearly very different.

You buy an alarm out of fear, out of a desire to protect your family and your possessions. You buy a smart-phone because it promises to make your life easier (or make your look cool – even more powerful).

What are you really selling?
Look at the service you offer. Why do your customers give you their money? What are they gaining from doing business with you? What self-interest are these customers satisfying?

When you think you have it – the real reasons people buy from you – you probably need to go a step further. Answer the question: What are you really selling?

The most elegant expression of this idea comes from billionaire lipstick king Charles Revson when he said:

“In the factory we make cosmetics. In the store we sell hope.”

(Did you notice I said ‘billionaire’?)

Thinking about your business in this way will transform the number of website visitors that become customers. And the good news? Most of your competitors don’t know what you now know. It’s why their websites fail.

Don’t let yours. What are you really selling?