Fiddling With Your Website Is Ruining Your Chance Of Success

Post by Alison Knott | Last Updated: July 8, 2021

I know. A rather bold headline. Let me set the stage with a backstory:

Maybe it was due to the oppressing humidity, but some clients have been… distracted. Asking about aesthetics, systems and other details of their website that had little to do with the work we agreed upon.

One client who was focused on a course launch now worried the colours of website elements were “sending the wrong message”. Someone else wondered if they should switch from Mailchimp to Active Campaign… but they hadn’t sent a newsletter in months. Another suddenly wanted to invest in a photoshoot, even though we were sourcing a copywriter for critical landing pages.

“Where is this coming from?” I asked each of them, perplexed. “What does this have to do with X result we’re trying to achieve?”

Turns out… very little.

For some, it was because they watched (yet another) webinar and got distracted. Others had their website critiqued by someone who a) was not their target market or b) just wanted to peddle their services. Sometimes, there was a fear of failure. Which I completely understand: starting something new is more exciting (and safer). To complete something means it risks failing!

This breaks my heart as a consultant. My job is to turn websites into ROI machines, based on the capabilities and goals of clients. That can’t happen if goalposts and priorities keep shifting. Hoping a different platform will do more work than the last one or tweaking colours will not make or break a sale. Taking one person’s opinion to revamp what was already edited 3 times is a waste of time. At some point… you have stop mucking around and focus on what matters for website success.

The haircut analogy

Fiddling with website details is like getting a haircut with bangs. You’re at the salon and get an amazing ‘do. You should be heading out the door, but instead the hairdresser wont stop ‘friggin with your bangs. Shifting them left to right. Fluffing them up. Trimming micro-millimeters off. You can’t tell the difference all this is making. But the stylist keeps fussing.

Play with the bangs all you want, but the true test of a haircut happens when you step out of the salon and into the wind.

A solid cut is all about structure and upkeep. A few errant hairs isn’t going to make a difference. Not to mention the cut is only as good as your own styling abilities over time.

Watch out you’re not the stylist in this scenario. At some point, you have to let the website out of the chair, ‘imperfect’ bangs and all. Outside is where the real work begins.

Illustration of a pair of scissors with eyes chasing a little clock that is running away in a sweat
Picking away at items that don’t truly matter wastes precious time reserved for success.

How website ‘busy work’ ruins your chance of success

I’m not saying that aesthetics or the right platform don’t matter. Of course they do… to a point. The reality is a lot of this fiddling isn’t new: you already had the site redesigned. You already setup a newsletter list. You already have photos on your site. Success doesn’t lie in the website details themselves. Some food for thought:

  • Switching from pink to purple buttons doesn’t matter if you don’t have a strategy sending traffic to click them.
  • There isn’t a newsletter platform in the world that can write your content for you. Only you can do that.
  • The most up-to-date photos of yourself won’t generate phone calls if no one understands what you sell.

Ignoring what motivates people to take action in favour of ‘quick wins’ is empty. They might make you feel accomplished, but do they pay the bills? When it comes to websites, real accomplishment means growth.

Related: How to Use UTM Parameters for Traffic Growth


How to decide which items are important for your website

It doesn’t take much for a to-do list to get overwhelming. Usually, it’s ourselves to blame for adding to the list before knocking other items off. I’ve noticed a few self-sabotaging patterns in myself, clients and colleagues. It happens to all of us, but the good news is that a little self-exploration can go a long way.

The next time you’re tempted to fiddle with your website, ask yourself the following questions. Then, focus only on 2 or 3 tasks that truly matter:

  • Does this move me closer to my end goal? A goal should be framed around getting more calls, sales or inquires. “Make website look better” isn’t a goal. “Increase contact inquiries by 5 leads” is. If you don’t have clear goals like this, determine them before you do a lick more work.
  • Is this mostly about aesthetics? If you answer ‘yes’, move on. I promise you it won’t make a difference: undoubtedly there’s something else on your list that will. Move onto something deeper as aesthetics are subjective. If there are visual items you want to address, Gill Andrews has an amazing book that insures the changes you make are goal-orientated.
  • If I do this task instead, will a critical task get left undone? You’ve only got so much time to work on your website. If you take up a frivolous task, that’s less time left for the items that matter. How can you tell which is more critical? See the next question.
  • Can I measure the outcomes of this task? “You can’t improve what you can’t measure” are the wise words of Jeff Sauer, an analyst I greatly admire. If you find it hard to quantify what a task can achieve, ignore it for something more substantial. Monitor the performance monthly. Use tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console or a spreadsheet. This will keep you objective about what matters for your bottom line.

Humidity and my hair are not friends

Related: Google Ads for Small Business: a primer

Your time and energy as a website owner is precious.

I caution you about shiny objects, quick wins and fiddly bits that don’t align with your core business goals. Don’t paralyze yourself in the salon fussing with your bangs. Hop out of the chair, trust in your success and meet that outdoor humidity head-on!