There are 4 significant factors that can kill any website. They are:
- page & resource load speed
- website database security
- scalability & features
- web host reliability and uptime
WHO AM I
Like you, I'm not a web guy. I don't have a degree in computer science nor am I a ten year old with that inborn understanding of all things web and computer.
What I am is a small business owner who needed a website for my business and, since I was a small, self-funded solopreneur, I couldn't afford to hire a web developer or a firm to build out my site.
I had to do it myself.
So, as you did, I found what seemed to be the quickest, most direct path to getting a website. Some "no time at all" automatic install of the ubiquitous Wordpress (back then, WP was about the only "beginner level" option!).
I'll be honest … in my ignorance, I expected an actual website with a navigation menu, the required pages for the HOME of my site, a blog, maybe a contact form or way for that mass of customers to sign up for my free newsletter.
I got a blank page and an overwhelming backend with a menu listing various options I could use to build my site: Pages, Posts, Settings (for things like canonical links … huh?!), Plugins, and lots more stuff I didn't understand.
Undeterred (but somewhat intimidated), I found a few blog posts that explained what I needed to do and recommended a slew of plugins that guaranteed to keep my website secure, optimize my SEO (whatever that is!) and more.
Installed. Updated. Wait?! MORE settings to figure out?
I fumbled around and found more resources that told me the "best practices" and expectations for the main pages: HOME, ABOUT, BLOG, CONTACT, etc.
I wrote a few blog posts and published them.
Then I looked at my beautiful site.
[ugly face gif]
Well, in all fairness, I was using the default theme and color settings. And main image.
More internet digging to learn about templates and downloading a few billion to try.
You see, I first "logged on" in about 1995. I'd seen a lot of websites. I'd even hard coded one or two before I discovered Wordpress. What I'd created had been basic. I won't say ugly but certainly unattractive.
But I'd seen fantastic websites. Works of art.
Maybe if I can customize this template or that one, I thought. How hard can THAT be?
[link to MY MOST EMBARRASSING LIGHT BULB MOMENT]
I eventually found, and paid a princely sum for, a theme that promised infinite customizability. It got me closer. Still not great but it looked as good as 90% of the other sites I found. At least the small business owner type sites that were little more than a badly designed and thought through sales brochure with a rarely updated blog.
But, I had a website and one I'd "built."
Can you relate? Maybe you've had a similar journey to put together a basic website for your business. And if you've done it in the last 5 or so years, you've had access to much better templates that include lovely drag-and-drop design features.
Yup. I had a website.
Next step was to get traffic and I learned that Google ranked websites by among a loooong list of mother factors) by it's page load speed.
Well … on my lovely work of art, clicking a link from one page to another gave my visitors the opportunity to go get a cup of coffee, maybe a Danish, read War and Peace, then come back to their browser and only have to wait another minute or so for the new page to load.
Only a slight exaggeration. But it lead me back to my internet research and more plugins to speed up page loads. And I learned about image optimization, which was mostly about making the JPEGs so low quality that they looked horrible.
But on the up side … there was no longer time to read an entire novel between page loads. Just a few chapters. But Google's Page Speed calculator still just laughed when I asked for it's analysis. My site didn't score high enough to even get a failing grade!
Then, a few months after the site was live and I'd been making an effort to write new blog posts on a regular basis, I accidentally got a comment. But it was a SPAM comment. I celebrated anyway, figuring I must be doing something right if my little site was worth bothering with.
Then I got a real person's comment.
Then I got hacked.
Now, I studied Arabic in college (that foreign language requirement and it looked more fun than more French), so I was able to decipher the gist of the text on the page. Not flattering, nor the kind of thing I was trying to tell the world about.
Back to internet research and a few hundred miscellaneous blog posts and eventually, I reacquired access to my database, changed the password, and reinstalled my content (backed up thanks to one of those plugins!).
By this time, my ambitions with my site had grown and I wanted to do more than just run and unread blog. I wanted to escape my 9-to-5 and make money as a blogger (I'm a writer, so it seemed like a natural thing).
I discovered, however, that while Wordpress is an excellent blogging engine, designed to provide an easy way to have a website with a few basic pages and an easy-to-update blog, it was a bit less willing to allow me to bend it to those grand ambitions.
Unless I wanted to learn PHP (the computer programming language that Wordpress uses). It's a very powerful but complex language.
Unless I wanted to become a computer programmer. I took a few computer programming classes in college but COBALT didn't prepare me for this!
Unless I wanted to invest months taking training classes and reading $40 technical books I barely, if at all, understood. I was limited on time and financial resources.
So there I was … frustrated with a slow website that was ugly, vulnerable to getting hacked if I didn't upgrade to expensive, paid versions of the many plugins available, and facing a long uphill battle to customize it to meet my business needs.
Can you relate?
I tell you this little saga because I'm sure you can relate. And, because it illustrates the four major problems of most websites … any of which destroy your entrepreneurial ambitions.
A website that is slow to load will lose you customers … [Amazon research, causes]
A website that is vulnerable to getting hacked can ruin your reputation.
A website that forces you to make compromises on features that you need to best serve your customers, or forces you to learn a bevy of complex programming languages just to get by, means you cannot provide the products or services you want to. And isn't that kind of the point of being in business in the first place?
A website that is hosted by a service that gets hacked [GoDaddy hacked article link] or goes down means your customers can't buy. Or crashes just when you start to get a large influx of business. Or worse, your customers' private information gets stolen and you're liable.
Which of these 4 factors have you dealt with?
Which of these 4 factors is waiting just around the corner to crush you at that critical moment, like when you've got a special offer or sale running?
And what about any of the following potential problems with your current website builder?
- expensive & complicated plugins — the average price for a plugin is $139 … each!
Maybe all. Maybe none. But to stay in business, or at least not allow something as simple as your website be the killing factor, you at least need to be prepared. You need to know which of these 4 factors is most likely to hit you.
Then, you can do something about it.
And that's what my quiz is designed to help you discover. When it's finished, it will walk you through a few simple questions about your current website builder, whether Wordpress, Wix, or something else, and how you manage the site.
Based on your answers, I will be able to identify the biggest potential killer lurking on your website and give you an easier-than-you-think and mostly (usually, until you grow your business to enterprise levels) free solution to your website woes.
As I mentioned earlier, I'm putting the finishing touches on the quiz and your answer about your biggest frustration will be a huge help (so, thanks again for that!).
Watch your inbox in a few days for an email from me with the link to that quiz. It'll take no more than about 5 minutes to complete and will give you valuable intel on potential issues you may be facing or will soon.