Why getting more people to your site could be a disaster for your brand

Last week I was reading a great article in the Sydney Morning Herald about a new style of furniture design that is set to revolutionise the way Australians buy furniture.

The article covered all the benefits and features of the products and processes as well as an interview with the owner and founder of the business.

I was super interested in this company and its product offerings 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 - probably due to heavy traffic. We can assume that dozens, possibly hundreds of SMH readers tried to click through to the website within the same timeframe. With all those visitors at once, it’s much 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?


  1. A potential lost sale - “If I can't see the products how can I possibly buy them?”

  2. Lost contact/lead generation - “How do I contact them?”

  3. A decrease in trust - “If they can’t get their website right how can I trust them to build me a quality table?”

  4. Damage to the brand - “What if their product offerings are as unreliable as their website?’’

Now it’s highly likely that the article generated loads of queries, all at the same time and the business is busy fielding calls and emails and the staff have not had time to focus on the performance of their website. They may simply be unaware the site is struggling because:

  • No one has told them

  • No one is monitoring it for them

  • No one has warned them of the impact of a sudden increase in traffic on their website's performance

That’s where your web agency comes in. A business needs a professional team behind them constantly checking and reviewing your website to ensure it expands as your user traffic demands it.

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 some hard-earned free publicity gone to waste.

This business clearly did not assess the impact this article would have on the performance of their website, but their web team definitely should have. A good web team would have reviewed the site and made sure that it performs at it’s best both now, and as the business grows into the future. Being prepared for the unknown is the key to being ready at short notice to maximise your business opportunities.

If you need a team to watch your back when things get busy and help you prepare for the unknown, give us a call.