How not to build a website

Building the wrong website

I became interested in web design while building the website for my previous small business. I spent time learning all kinds of advanced techniques that I thought would make me stand out from the crowd. I wanted to wow my potential customers into contacting me on the spot, by showing what I could achieve.

Waiting for results

With my ‘technical tour de force’ site launched, the wait began. The website was generating interest, but my telephone was silent, and my email inbox was empty. I spent time refining my content and SEO. I used other platforms to try to generate an audience. The extra interest didn’t bring extra leads.

My very first business website, when I operated as Banjo Design

The audience journey is king

When my wife and I got engaged a few years ago, we decided to elope to Scotland. Trying to find information about the legalities of getting married in Scotland proved hard, even online. I found several websites that promised the answers, but I left after just a few minutes because the content was so poorly organised. The sites had created extra work for me, and not even delivered on their promise.

That was the moment I realised why my website wasn’t working for me – it wasn’t working for my audience. I’d devoted plenty of time perfecting the visual design. I hadn’t spent enough time understanding my audience, or giving them the solutions they needed.

What really works – how I do things now

At that moment, I sat down and I analysed how I used websites. I watched other people using websites. Then I looked at research and statistics on how people consume the internet. I realised that many websites are too complex when they really don’t need to be. They were not connecting with the audience. I realised that I like websites to be simple, the content to be direct, and for everything to have its place. Now I work hard to hand-build straightforward websites for all my clients.