Nowadays over 40% of the world population is online. The internet is responsible for trillions of dollars in sales every year. It is now more important than ever for businesses to work on their online visibility.
As a digital agency, we at DevriX are working with numerous businesses that are offering products and services in niches, ranging from aviation to retail. In order to provide our partners with the best online services, we are investing hundreds of hours performing tests, AB testing and marketing research on different industries on a daily basis and we have decided to share some insight about the top reasons companies fail to get the most of their online presence.
1. Static and cheap websites
Buying a domain and making it visible on Google is just the first step of building a successful online business strategy. A lot of companies decide to cut costs by purchasing a cheap out-of-the-box solution and using their website as a set in stone online business card. Usually they pick a basic provider like WIX, Squarespace or whatever comes first as a Google ad on a “cheap website” search.
The vast majority of inquiries we receive come from businesses that have started in a similar manner and cannot scale as their user base grows. The sad truth is that 9 out of 10 times supporting a poorly made website with little or badly written code is harder and more expensive than creating a new one from scratch.
With tons of providers offering websites for fees starting at $10/month, it’s really a challenge to educate clients why investing in development and maintanance is mandatory. I will break down some of the generic processes below, so that you can see for yourself why this isn’t working in the long run.
The most important thing you would want for your website is to generate traffic.
As Google is currently the most popular search engine with more than 1.2 billion users, we would use it for this example.
For a website to be visible and indexed in a Google search, there are a number of requirements that need to be met. The first thing you need to do is create a sitemap that lists every page of your website and submit it to Google Webmaster Tools. To create traction, you will need a lot of backllinks that are showing the search engine that you have some valluable content that is worth showing to new visitors or people that are searching on topics close to yours.
In theory this is very simple and doesn’t require a specialist. However, with over 900 million websites currently operating, chances are that there is already someone else providing services or products similar to yours and to get ahead of the competition usually means a full time engagement on content creation, article creation, updates and maintanence.
Get me on the first page of Google! – every client ever
As we started as an agency back in 2010, we were entirely focused on development and delivering high end technical solutions for our clients with a team entirely made of web developers and architects.
Now, 7 years later, we have a marketing team, sales team, content writing team and a few SEO specialists, designer department and the numbers are growing. But what pushed us towards this change?
Clients have certain expectations of their end product, but rarely the detailed expertise to really make it work. In 2017, online marketing is an industry that has completely gained its independence from general marketing and advertisement.
We all know social media and internet access have made a revolution in people’s lives, and we often link it to different communal phenomenons and general changes in human behavior. What we tend to forget is that it’s also a major game changer in the way businesses work.
With access to tons of daily updated information, customers nowadays are very educated and demand detailed explanations before making a decision where to spend and on what. The human attention span has declined to less than 8 seconds and what this means is that you and your website have a total of 6 seconds (that is, if your website is optimized to load in 2 seconds) to make an impression.
This is where an online marketer’s role comes. Even if you are great at what you do and create amazing and detailed content, don’t forget that you have 6 seconds to make a potential customer stay on your page and read it.
In order to do that, you will most likely need a whole team of specialists, that are analyzing data in your industry on a daily basis. This includes experienced designers to present the information in a visually pleasant way, SEO experts that track how is data in your industry changing and suggest improvements, marketing specialists to keep up with the latest conversion rate trends, content writers that are able to cover every detail of your industry and web developers to make all of this work flawlessly online.
Skipping even one of the processes those people are monitoring on a daily basis leads to a potential loss of 60% annual revenue from prospective customers, and nobody wants to lose money, so let’s use some of the lowest rates among average salaries in those industries and break down the cost of having one of each of those people on-site.
Online marketing manager $45,799
Graphic designer $41,656
SEO expert $46,086
Content writer $30,528
Business analyst $81,320
Web Developer $64,970
Or a total of $310,359 in salaries annually and that is without adding the cost of project management, hiring expenses and all other unforseen circumstances that come when working with a team as sick leaves, onboarding costs, trainings, education and added benefits.
So far, we have invested more than $300K in finding a team that would be working on the potential website. All of the above, including you, would have access to your website in order to do their jobs properly. This means that from the moment you get your website, 7 people would be working on it simultaneously and would have different levels of access.
As we are cutting corners, we would be buying a website that costs around $15 a month, hosting included, or a total of $180 per year. Sounds like a dream. But what happens next?
To offer low prices, hosting companies are economising by providing you with a shared hosting. Or otherwise said – your website would be hosted along with around 2000 others on a single server. Most people are falling for the “easy, unlimited, cheap” part of the advertisement, but shared hosting also has a number of disadvantages for anyone that is trying to build a reputable online presence.
Fortunatelly for you, not all of the 2000 websites you share your space with would be active or have any traffic. If they were, and fully utilizing what is said in the advertisement (unlimited bandwith, storage, domains, everything), shared hosting would not be possible.
The main job your team has is to make users visit your page and stay there. As all of the people you hired work hard for your success, the traffic towards your website is constantly growing and becoming larger. In the first 6 months of your online strategy execution, you would most likely obtain a faithful user base, that would be checking your website and blog regulary for updates.
So far, so good. But what happens next is far from pleasant.
As your website becomes popular and utilizing a large amount of server resources, hosting providing companies would ask you to upgrade your plan. That is, if the company you are dealing with is reputable and cares for its customers.
Having dealt with countless hosting providers, we at DevriX know that this is rarely the case. What usually happens is that your website gets suspended and 8 out of 10 times you wouldn’t even receive a notification email about it, not to mention any time to react and migrate.
By the time you notice your website is down, the number of visitors, potential customers and users that already know it is way too high. And for every second of downtime you are losing money and damaging your reputation.
When Amazon was down for a brief moment back in 2013, they reportedly lost more than $60K per minute. Even if your business is not as big, there is a study by Evolve that shows around $5,000 average loss per minute across different industries.
After the initial panic attack, there are few things you might do to get your system up and running again.
Upgrade your plan immediately
Even if you do this right away, the minimum required time for the hosting company to get your website up again is about an hour. That is, without the time you would need to reach them, and if a company directly suspends your account with no explanation and potentially harms your business, would you really want to continue working with them? Also, don’t forget the costs that can skyrocket during such an event, as of this point you would be desperate and they are in the position of manipulating you as they please.
Migrate your website to a different provider
This might even take weeks. If you are waiting for your hosting plan to fail in order to take this step, you are automatically dooming your sales and conversions for a long period of time. Once your account is suspended, there is a small chance you would be able to regain your information, not to mention all of the potential data loss. A server migration is a long and hard process that is often not within the competention of hosting companies support staff or even your own in-house web developers. There are thousands of bottlenecks that might come along the way, so it’s definetely something we at DevriX do not recommend being done without the proper preparation.
Yell at your developer, fire him and then create a new site from scratch
As strange as it might sound, we have seen a lot of cases like this one. A recent example is a client that came to us with 7 different websites for the same service. They were all using premium themes and 3 page builders on top of one another. Needless to say this isn’t the best strategy you can implement in order to build a reputable brand.
Other disadvantages of “cheap, unlimited, easy to use” hostings might include serious downtime on a regular basis, slow server response time and potential security issues. The most common way small business competitors are attacking each other is using low cost service providers, who lead robotized traffic to any site. A $50 investment can lead 50,000 visitors to your website and bring the whole server down.
To be safe from such malicious attacks, you would need your server to be configured in a way that handles high volumes of traffic or traffic peaks, proper caching layers, intrusion prevention and detection systems and a proffesional set of tools to monitor your traffic closely. Surprisingly this is not incuded in those unlimited offers.
Overselling server space is also worth a mention. Some hosting providers are doing something very similar to the “overbooking” practice in the aviation industry.
The major difference is that aviation companies wouldn’t allow all of the people they charged to go on the plane in order to prevent a catastrophe. Unfortunatelly hostings that have such malpractices are rarelly bothered by any thoughts for the client, so lagging and downtimes happen as part of the daily routine.
In order to avoid such grim scenarios, DevriX works with trustworthy providers like Pagely for enterprise client projects. What we can advise anyone that is looking for a reliable hosting provider, is to check their reputation in the industry. As hosting companies are racing each other to offer the longest lists of features, often taking advantage of the fact that most users don’t really understand the tech jargon, the only guarantee for the quality of their services are the successful businesses they are hosting. Hint: Our friends at Pagely are working with brands like Visa and Disney.
You recognize yourself here? Don’t want to wait until the other posts of the ‘Top 10 Mistakes Businesses Make Online’ sequence get posted? Take a look at the business guide, our work process or directly get in touch with one of our representatives through the contact or request-a-website-form. As we are a distributed company, DiXy is available 24/7 to help businesses realize their full potential.