With many thousands of companies and organisations in Uganda (9th in Internet Usage in Africa) now owning websites, it’s no doubt a grown industry, but website owners are yet to benefit from their website investments. We think the time is now to pay more attention to Return on Investment (ROI) on website projects to tap the now fanatical growth of internet users lest your competition devours you. Below are some of the reasons why your website isn’t yielding the required ROI.
1. Short Term Mentality
Most Ugandans have an inherent mentality of quick gains, getting rich quick has actually become a standard for success as some scholars say. The get rich quick syndrome has caught up like bush fire transcending almost all sectors of work. But like the English saying goes, “if all wishes were horses, beggars would ride” the fact is that success on
a web project is hardly acquired overnight. It is rather a project that requires strategic and long-term planning. It requires proper initial planning, budgeting, resource allocation, performance measurement and clear and meticulous monitoring of interventions.
The mention of long-term usually just puts off most people as it has a connotation of having a lot of work to be done, but a website project is like any business venture you undertake to get profits from. Good business ethics dictate daily activity including good planning, monitoring and evaluation, and remedying interventions were needed among others, if profits are going to be realised from the business. In the same spirit, a website though maybe part of a business, requires very regular maintenance, monitoring and evaluation if you going to get profits from it. Good enough with websites, advanced tools to do this already exist and only requires proper planning.
One way organisations and companies offset the burdens of the “long-term” dread is outsourcing the tasks to experts or consulting firms. The same can be done for website maintenance but care needs to be taken when selecting the right firm or expert to do the job.
2. Absence of or Poor Web Content Strategy
Ingenious research shows that the more you give people the content/information they want, the more time they spend on content that matters to you. There is an increasing tidal wave of information and your audience has no more than 1440 minutes a day and the world is getting complicated by the day. This means you have to give people what they value or what they want to get their attention.
In his book “Web Design for ROI”, Lance Lovedy says, “The absence of a site strategy is a critical omission. Put another way: if you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t really matter which direction you choose. The moment you have a clear goal and communicate a well-defined web site strategy to the organization, everyone can rally around the cause and find ways to contribute.”
Good content is magnetic, it educates (makes people smarter), entertains or even amazes your audience because it starts with a focus on them, looks out for their interests, not you.
Content Strategy is credible, trustworthy, transparent content that enhances the organization’s strategic goals.
Today, Content Strategy in organizations focuses on how for-profit, non-profit and government enterprises use stories and smart-data to get important information to specific internal and external individuals and audiences.
These organizations know that the people they must reach have less and less time, but will pay attention to content if it is “credible, trustworthy and transparent” and if it enhances their ability to make important decisions in their work and personal lives. At the same time it advances the organizations’ strategic goals.
3. Poor Design and Navigation
Visitors judge a website in less than a second and their decision-making is mainly controlled by unconscious thought, and not logic. Much of what influences users to take desirable actions is not as clear-cut as we would like to think.
Focusing on branding, design, and usability is only the starting point. Understanding the psychology behind motivation and action and how to incorporate that into web experiences and your design process can take your site to the next level. Research shows that, 75% of web users admit making judgments about the credibility of an organization based on the design of its web site.
Take for example a supermarket, well-designed with a set of best practices for layout and signage, not only will people linger longer and buy more, but they’re more likely to have a positive impression and experience of the store. And to relate their positive experience to friends, who will be predisposed toward shopping and buying at the supermarket. Likewise, a well-designed website improves look and feel, inspires users to explore more, share their experience with friends and compels visitors to take that next action.
We believe the way organizations think about websites is why so many websites end up in the sorry state they do. If websites were valued as a way to expand profitability and achieve organizational objectives, owners would slowly realise ROI from them. Our aim isn’t to convince you that a website redesign will double your ROI but rather to encourage you to your website more seriously and think more about how web design can improve the user experience on your site and positively impact your brand and business metrics. Making changes to your website is relatively affordable and easy, while the potential payoff is comparatively high.