According to research released this week by 1&1 Internet Ltd, British Internet users still suffer as a result of numerous website gripes. In an era when consumers rely on around-the-clock e-commerce and e-banking, more of Britons than ever are being frustrated by websites that are faulty or taken off-line during the night for maintenance to be performed.
The research revealed that 38 per cent of consumers have decided to avoid a company in the future as a result of finding a faulty website. Some 44 per cent of Britons are more critical towards website errors today than they were 5 years ago.
Britain’s Top 5 ‘Common Website Faults’ as found by web users are:
1. Slow running websites (71 per cent)
2. Websites down for maintenance (49 per cent)
3. Web addresses that lead nowhere (44 per cent)
4. Online orders that freeze (44 per cent)
5. Broken website pages (42 per cent)
Website faults such as these have led more than 1 in 3 (38 per cent) to decide not to use a company again as a result of its faulty website. Frustrations with a business website have led 72 per cent of web users to abandon a company website for a competitor’s. Whilst most website owners aim to schedule maintenance and upgrades at times as to minimise disruption, it appears this has done little to appease almost half of consumers (49 per cent), who feel regularly inconvenienced by the issue.
Interestingly, most respondents (42 per cent) believe that websites for small and large companies are equivalent in terms of frequency of errors. 44 per cent of Britons are more critical towards website errors today than they were 5 years ago. During that time, 39 per cent believe that they have become better able to judge whether a website contains faults. 1 in 3 Britons report that they regularly feel anger, worry or stress as a result of using a faulty website. The most worrisome aspect is doubts over whether an online transaction has been completed properly, with 44 per cent having been affected.
Oliver Mauss, CEO 1&1 Internet Ltd says that “unreliable websites continue to reflect badly upon businesses of all types and sizes. It is clear that when faced with a faulty or off-line website, consumers will turn elsewhere. Perhaps more surprising is the proportion that will be unwilling to return. With this in mind, businesses must ensure their websites are well designed, have robust functionality, and benefit from the most reliable and high-speed web hosting infrastructure available to them”.
Graham Jones, Internet Psychologist advises that “users of your web site are less likely to return if your site breaks or doesn’t work properly. People get frustrated by slow loading and by the addition of technologies that work only in certain circumstances. If you have shopping carts or other “add-on” services, test them and test them again to be sure they cannot break or cause problems. Similarly, if you have forms – make sure they work”.