Why Web Sites Fail

Now that your firm has an online presence, you may think it’s time to sit back and watch the prospects roll in. Think again. Your marketing efforts are more important than ever.

According to the Ecom Advisors, the biggest problem with web sites is unrealistic expectations. They say that businesses think if they spend $100, they will earn $150 the next quarter. They caution owners that it doesn’t work that way; you may not see results for 12 to 24 months.

The reason sites fail is equally as simple. The Ecom Advisors assert that most web sites fall into the hands of the IT guy at the office. A web site is a marketing tool and belongs with people who understand marketing. At the very least, marketing should be directing the web site if the IT person is responsible for web site maintenance.

Once you’ve built your web site, don’t fall into analysis paralysis. A web site is a long-term project that requires a commitment of time and people who can effectively manage the site. Feedback allows you to know if you are “on track” with your goals (make sure you set goals for your site). Use a program like WebTrends to reveal site activity, broken links, and security issues.

You also need marketing to point people back to your site. A web site isn’t a “Field of Dreams.” However, you have to invest the time and money needed to do the job. Advertising can help. Direct mail campaigns and newsletter announcements also will let your target know you are online.

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Excel spreadsheets are often akin to the American Wild West, where users can input anything they want into any worksheet cell. Excel's Data Validation feature allows you to restrict user inputs to selected choices, but there are many nuances to the feature that often trip users up.