Articles for Webmasters     Discover Why So Many Websites Disappoint Their Owners

Why do so many websites disappoint their owners? This article examines one of the reasons websites fail to deliver owners’ intended results. Too few people realize that a mix of three very different skills is essential. Understanding these three skills and ensuring that the correct mix is provided at the right time for each individual website is often overlooked.

The mix of skills required changes over the lifetime of the website. Owners who acknowledge and plan for this changing mix of skills will help ensure that the desired results are actually achieved.

One set of skills can be described as web technician skills. A competent web technician has computing skills (such as programming and testing) and provides advice on how difficult or easy it will be to produce the different elements of the website. The web technician also produces the pages (for example, coding the html) and ensures standards are met.

An inappropriate level of web technician skills can lead to websites that cannot be maintained easily – so owners find it difficult to change the site as frequently as they wish, or that the costs of change are too high. This can happen whether too much or too little emphasis is placed on the technical aspects.

Design skills are also essential. The designer defines the look and feel of a site, selecting and producing the graphics (pictures, illustrations, logos, etc.) as well as specifying the colors and text styles to be used. Design skills include defining the structure and layout of a website and, most importantly, considering the website visitors and how they will interact with the site.

Inadequate or dated design will adversely affect visitors’ impressions of the site. Visitors’ expectations of websites change over time (for example, audio and video are now common and would be expected for certain types of website). A good designer will ensure the website meets visitor expectations.

Marketing skills are vital. One of the functions of marketing is to define the marketing strategy, by answering questions such as:

    - Who are the customers?
    - What do they want from the website?
    - How will customers find it?

Once the strategy is defined, marketing also includes working out the more detailed plans and actions to be taken, as well as tracking the success of actions and amending plans as necessary.

Good marketing drives visitors to websites. Poor marketing affects many aspects of a website, such as search engine ranking and how long visitors stay on a website. Marketing should be incorporated into a website from the initial stages and throughout its lifetime.

A website owner who truly understands that every website needs a mix of these three skills and then plans to ensure these skills are used appropriately throughout the life of the website will help ensure success through delivery of the intended results.

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