Why getting more people to your site could be a disaster

lots of lego people

I was reading a great article recently in the Sydney Morning Herald. The article featured a company set to revolutionise the way Australians buy furniture. On the surface, this would seem like an ideal way to get more people to your site.

The benefits and features of the products were all included in the story. There was an interview with the owner of the business along with details of their design process.

So what went wrong?

I was super interested in this company and its product so I followed the link from the article to the website…. And guess what happened?

The website returned a 503 error and failed to load.

To those in the web world, that usually means a website host server crashed – most likely due to heavy traffic. It’s easy to assume that hundreds of SMH readers tried to click through to the website at the same time.

With all those visitors at once, it’s like a large influx of cars to a freeway. Traffic backs up and everything grinds to a halt (and, in this instance, the website fails to load).

What does the 503 error mean for the user?

Well, that’s pretty straight forward. The website doesn’t load and the user doesn’t get the content they are seeking. It’s most likely after attempting to reload the page a few times, the user abandons the site and moves on. They may or may not come back in the future. The end result is a poor experience with the brand.

What does this error mean for the design company?


  • A potential lost sale: “If I can’t see the products how can I possibly buy them?
  • Lost contact/lead generation: “How do I contact them?
  • A decrease in trust: “If they can’t get their website right how can I trust them to build me a quality table?
  • Damage to the brand: “What if their product offerings are as unreliable as their website?’’

It’s likely the article generated loads of queries, leaving the staff too busy to check the website. They may be unaware the site is struggling because:

  1. No one has told them
  2. The site wasn’t being monitored
  3. The impact of a sudden increase in traffic on their website’s performance wasn’t considered.

That’s where your web agency comes in. A business needs a professional team monitoring the website. This would ensure the access to the site expands as you get more people to your site.

This case is a clear lost opportunity for sales – as well as brand damage. There’s every chance they’ll recover those sales in time, but that’s hard-earned free publicity gone to waste.

It’s understandable that the business did not foresee the impact of the article on their website. Their web team though definitely should have. A good web team would be reviewing the site performance on-going. Maximise your business opportunities means preparing for the unknown.

If you need a team to take care of your website when things get busy and help you prepare for the unknown, give us a call.

Carmen Watts
Carmen is our co-founder and business development manager. She brings her background in project management to Red Cloud Digital where she keeps client projects running smoothly, managing budgets and timelines. She also helps identify objectives for professional services and develop sustainable strategies to reach them.

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Red Cloud Digital is a Sydney-based team, focused on harnessing the web to help professional service providers improve their positioning and increase their revenue.


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