What’s wrong with my website?

Having a product people actually want is the hardest thing to figure out. But let’s there is likely at least a FEW people in the world willing to buy or at least try what you made. If you can’t get anyone to use your website though, then there is probably only a handful of reasons this is happening. The reasons can be obvious, but a first time entrepreneur might not realize it.

Top reasons:

1. I don’t know what its about and I left before taking the time to figure out

Big companies like Google can just put their product on their homepage without bullshit marketing. You aren’t Google, you have to tell people stories and why whatever you are doing is useful. You need a clear flow of what the user will click next and what it will do. Marketing people call these “Call to actions.” Ideally your website has as few clicks as possible with the simplest and clearest description of what will happen and why its important to someone. They say every additional click could lose you up to half your potential audience.

It’s not super intuitive, but you can look at rising consumer companies. Check out their homepages and what buttons they choose before you start using their product. B2B companies can be tricky because often most of their sales are direct. Their websites are full of a bunch of marketing nonsense or something really vague that wouldn’t convert anyone.

Something nonintuitive you might see, the homepages of these rising consumer companies often don’t start their titles and description with an explanation of the product. They describe the problem and who it is important for first.

2. I don’t trust you to take my money

I don’t believe you’re a real company that I am willing to trust with my money.

I want to know I can get a refund and that there is someone I can keep awake at night and sue and publicly shame if something goes wrong.

You website says nothing about who you are. What if you just collect my credit card or information and run away?

Where is your office?
What are your hours?
What do you look like?
Will you just take my money and disappear?

This is where some semblance of design comes in. Crappy looking websites that do tons of sales can be deceiving. They might do well BECAUSE of how they look like they are made by one person if that person is show to be trustworthy. People prefer to support one-person shows if the product isn’t critical to supporting their business or someone’s health. If I wanted homegrown exotic fruit, I would rather buy it from a random guy with a farm than a big profit seeking business. Not all products are like this.

3. You have too many products

If I look at a banking website, they have dozens and dozens of things going on. For example, Vanguard has 8+ different things going on. I have no idea where to click.

But you don’t need to do that when starting out. Just have one solid offering. Stripe started out by only have their one API to accept payments. Sure they now have a huge mess of Atlas and all these other things, but that’s because most of their market knows their core offering.

4. The people who want your product aren’t seeing your website

This is the real problem of a company. Once you’ve tried stuff out for awhile, the other stuff is pretty easy.

But finding people who might buy your service? That’s pretty much the core problem of any start-up.

It helps to be as narrow as possible. You can then tailor pages of your site or even the entire homepage to that market until you need to expand it.

Paypal started out by only being payments specifically for Ebay powersellers. That group of people couldn’t have been more than 20,000 at the time. Their homepage today talks about buying with crypto and using coupons with purchases. An Ebay powerseller doesn’t care about that. They just want to know how to get money as fast and as secure as possible. Back then they had to be mailed cash or a check. It was a mess.

There were probably many groups Paypal could have focused on back then. But they saw Ebay powersellers had a pressing need and focused on that before moving on.