How a Broken Website Can Cripple Your Business: The Trust Cost Explained

The True Cost of a Broken Website

As a business owner or marketing director, sometimes it’s obvious when a website is broken. You hit the homepage and you’ve got a little something like the white screen of death, a 500 error, or your website just won’t load. Those are the “obviously broken” types of websites. On the flip side, there are websites that look fine, but underneath, the engine is broken. So your website loads, but it isn’t doing anything to actually help your business.

In this article, we’re going to talk about:
  • The business impact of having a broken website
  • Factors that contribute to breakdowns
  • How to prevent the problems in the first place
  • The costs of repairing once you are broken (the true costs)

The Business Impact of a Broken Website

A broken website can be a financial nightmare for your business. It can result in lost revenue, decreased customer satisfaction, and damage to your brand’s reputation. A website that is down for even just an hour could potentially cost businesses thousands of dollars in revenue.

In addition, customers are likely to view your business negatively if your website isn’t functioning properly. They might be frustrated that they can’t get the information they’re looking for, purchase a product/service, and might even question if you’re even a valid business given the dysfunction of your online presence.

The bottom line is that a broken website can seriously cripple your business’s success.

Website Broken Image Illustration

Factors That Contribute to Website Breakdowns

There are MANY things that can cause your website to break. Here are some of the things that typically cause a website to have problems in the first place.
  1. A Bad Build
  2. Poor Website Maintenance
  3. Lack of Security
  4. Outdated Technology

A Bad Build

Many of the business owners that we work with initially come to Muletown Digital with a broken website. A lot of times it’s a result of a bad build (how it was developed). This happens as a result of hiring the wrong person to build the site in the first place. It happens. Not all agencies, website designers, and website developers are made equally. It’s really easy to get a website built that is just not properly coded. Even if you’re using a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress, you can end up with a slew of theme customizations and plugins that weren’t designed to do what your website is asking them to do. This combination of things results in a bad build, and more often than not, over time, bad builds will break.

Poor Website Maintenance

If your website was built well, it has to be maintained. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that once you build a website it’s done. The thing is, if you’re using your website properly, you should be updating it constantly. If you’re making changes to the site, you’re changing the initial build. Also, hosting servers have software on them just like your computer and phone. That software is updated, replaced, changed, and if you don’t keep up with those, as well as the actual on-site software (WordPress Plugins, Themes, jQuery, PHP, etc) you’re heading toward trouble.

Lack of Security

Sometimes a lack of proper security will be the cause of the issues. If your website gets hacked you can have malware that’s breaking your website over time. You can have files and database injections and all sorts of evil code fragments that will tear your site down by a death of a thousand cuts. It’s VERY important to keep your security up and active at all times, especially if you collect information from your customers on your website (which 99% of websites do even if you don’t know it).

Outdated Technology

Much like raw chicken, a website has a shelf life. Proper website maintenance can prolong that life, but there are definitely times when you’ve gotten what you’re going to get out of your website. Web servers (even cloud servers) run software just like your iPhone or Android. That software needs to be updated, sometimes the situation occurs where your website will take more work to bring up to date with the tech on the servers than it would take to rebuild it. You also have to be careful because outdated software is usually an open door for hackers and malware. It’s important to know that at some point, your website just needs a rebuild, and that’s all part of marketing in 2023 and beyond.

How to Prevent your Website From Breaking in the first place

The easiest and most obvious thing to do here is to prevent your website from breaking down in the first place. Muletown Digital offers what we call “website care plans” that help prevent and protect your website from breaking. Websites work like car engines and they require continued maintenance to function properly. If you forget to put oil in your car for a few months you’ll definitely know it, websites tend to break down much more quietly, but they break all the same.
We have an excellent resource on taking care of your website that you can read on our website for free, it’s worth taking a read of this because it’ll help you see where you can improve your monitoring and ensure that if something does go wrong, you have the proper backups and resources in place.
Encountered a broken website

The True Cost of a Broken Website

We have clients that, before we knew them, were held ransom on their websites by some insidious hackers/companies. We also have clients that have had their website build completely fall apart on them after launch, again…before we knew them. 😉 The costs of a broken website can be exponentially higher than you might think.
  1. If for some reason your website does have a security breach and your client’s data (Name, Email, Phone) are stolen, you’re legally obligated to mention the breach. This can be a horrifying experience to go through as you’re responsible for that data. This can have a major impact on the trustworthiness of your brand, which is hard to put a price on in our opinion.
  2. If your website is functional but doesn’t do a good job of bringing you traffic (SEO) or converting your traffic, your website might be working but it isn’t really WORKING. No matter what your expectations are of your website, it should be doing a job in your business. We’ve believed this since Muletown Digital was brought to life, and it still holds true today. If your website is silently not working, it could be costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. Ask yourself, “If my website isn’t doing a job, then what’s the point of it?”
  3. Rebuilding a website can be an undertaking, and it can be expensive depending on the complexity of your website. It’s always better to just maintain a site than let it break down to the point of needing to be completely redone. Websites do have a shelf life, that can be 2 years or 10 years depending on the business, but most businesses expect to get 2-4 years out of a custom website build. But if your website is broken down, it’s better to replace it or fix it than let it stay broken down.
  4. It’s likely that your website is costing you business. Most websites do a very poor job of communicating with users. Almost every website we see, the content is 100% focused on what the business does, but it forgets to talk to the actual person that it does the thing for. In other words, it’s not about you, it’s about your clients. When your website is self-serving, it’s broken, but you can’t see it, and it’s costing you a TON of business. It’s worth seeing where you’re website is missing before it costs you money! Trust us, this is what we do, we help businesses GROW using their website and their digital properties.
The True Cost of a Broken Website error 500

Final Thoughts

If your website is broken, you can’t edit it, it’s slow, it’s not really helping you, and you feel stuck… rest easy, you don’t have to stay stuck. We specialize in fixing broken websites, or when required, rebuilding them. It’s what we do. We also work very hard to maintain and care for websites so that they don’t break down.
Stop letting your website waste your time, stop letting it frustrate you, and bring in a team of friendly experts that can help you solve the problem, and the best part is, you don’t have to do anything other than give us access to look around!

Rescue My Website

PS – if you just need someone to talk to or some help figuring out what’s going on – you can either book a call with our team today – or you can check out our website performance evaluation.

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A lazy website not only costs you money to maintain but also squashes an unreal amount of opportunity for your business.

Our Website Performance Evaluation gives business owners like you a clear, detailed picture of how well your website is performing for your business and an action plan for making it work even harder.