Think about the last time you were searching for something online. Did you come across pages that seemed like they would never load? Were you bombarded with a barrage of disorganized content? Did you decide not to purchase something because your experience on the site sucked?
If you answered yes to at least one of those questions, you have been the victim of a failure to optimize. From a user standpoint, a website that is not optimized is annoying, frustrating, useless, or all of the above. When you find one, you most likely hit the old back button and moved right on down the search results. Why waste your time when there are other websites out there with the same information or products, and they actually work?
From a business standpoint, however, it is a common mistake to develop a website without the end customer in mind. Sounds obvious, but businesses do it every day. Whether they are trying to save money or just forget to look farther than the ends of their own noses, it happens all too often.
Here are five ways the web is different for organizations that do not optimize their websites.
- Websites are cheap to develop.
You could probably make one yourself with just a little bit of technical knowledge and a library of stock photos. So that is cool, right?
- Sloppy, inexperienced coders are in high demand.
Clean code is a critical piece of website optimization, but simple and clean does not equal easy to write. It takes education, training, and experience to create elegant code for a great website. And hey, everyone knows that education, training, and experience are all codewords for expensive. Why pay more for a fancy-pants web designer when your brother-in-law read Coding for Dummies and will build your site for free? You can’t possibly go wrong.
- No one buys anything from you.
Unless they really, really, really want your product, they are not going to wait around for your pages to load. Are you selling a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity product that can’t be found anywhere else, even from Middle Eastern knockoff shops? Then do not bother optimizing your website. People will totally bookmark your link and wait all day for your site to load.
- People come after you because of their broken phones.
You think Samsung has it bad with all those phones catching on fire? That is nothing compared to all the customers who will be beating down your door because your website took so long to load on their mobile devices that they threw their phones at the wall or dropped them in the toilet. Remember when you decided to sell your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity product online because you did not want to deal with the general public? Suddenly, the unwashed masses are hunting you down.
- Your SERPs drop.
Big time. Are your customers willing to look at Google result number 1,297,684,175? Nope and no. It is a known fact that Google penalizes non-optimized websites in search results, and that is not going away. Google’s algorithms surface sites that provide the best possible user experience—that is not just about serving content that answers the search query. If your pages load at the speed of the dinosaurs, they become useless to the end user. Bye bye, Google results.
Yikes. For almost every business out there (we know there is always an exception!), a great website is essential. It is how your potential customers learn that you exist, research your products and services, find out where you are located, and maybe even make purchases. If foot traffic alone is not enough to keep you in business, you need an optimized website.