How useful can failures be?

Alexis Wilke's picture

Most of us will fail at one thing or another before achieving great success. You have to realize that if your very first business venture is a top success, you've got very lucky. No! I'm not saying that it never happens, but it is not the usual case. The one main reason is that you need to gain experience to know how to handle your business to reach success.

My company has several websites and only a couple actually work and get thousands of hits every month. Now Snap! Websites is on its way.

Snap! SEO Google Analytics

A quick explanation about this Google Analytics screenshot...

  • +39,160% (39 thousand percent increase in the number of hits) You may get the same sort of numbers in your account if Google Analytics uses the wrong numbers. Obviously, having 39,000 × more people would mean having at least 39,000 hits which we did not get (the total being a little over 2,000 at this point.) But I thought that was a good example of a software failure.
  • 81.86% (Bounce rate) The high bounce rate is due to advertising we've done. If you get such a high bounce rate for your website with a lot of content (such as a blog stuffed with information) and do not have any advertising then your website is probably not as well designed as it could be. You may want to look into the Snap! SEO e-Book. It could also be that you have a glitch on a page1.

In regard to websites, there is a good failure example: a website that reached its allotted bandwidth limit2.

Apache Error: Bandwidth Limit Exceeded.

Obviously, you know what happens in this case... Even so the message tells you to, you just don't try again, ever. So if you start an online venture with a website sitting on a web server with limited bandwidth, this is what will happen and you will lose many leads and possibly (likely) some existing customers. Well... unless your name is Twitter.

You probably heard Failure Is Not an Option. This is now the name of book about Apollo 13. Very frankly, those guys got extremely lucky and I'm glad they made it back home, but that saying does not apply to a businessman.

On my end, I have tried creating businesses many times. For instance, in 1999, I had the idea of creating a website where patrons of restaurants could go to order food (see Order Made!). This would be neat and at the time I was in London so quite many customers available all over the place. Yet, that was the wrong time (especially in Europe) to create such a system. People were not yet receptive and many would not get their credit card out to pay something on the Internet. So I started a great website just to find out that the market was not ready for it... Later I learnt that Papa John's created their online ordering system in 1999! Today it is the biggest restaurant online ordering system in the world.

One important thing, by the way, don't foresee any business to work at full speed from day one. It generally takes some time to get traction (unless you have a lot of cash to advertise up front or you already have a large list—your list is something I have to talk about at some point! In pretty much all cases, until people know you, things move relatively slowly.)

All I can say is... hang in there. You'll make it happen. It may not be this time, it may not be next time, you may have to think of 10 other ideas, but it will happen.

Ah! One more failure for me... I said I'd reach 1,000,000 or less in Alexa's position by September 30, 2010. I missed it, albeit close, it's still over 1 million at 1,082,510.

  • 1. As I mentioned yesterday, we had such a good legal page on Made to Order Software Corp. that we would get many hits on that page. This increased our bounce rate since pretty much all the hit to that page where not followed by another click in our menus.
  • 2. Snap! Websites do not block your website for large bandwidth usage. However, we may charge you for the excess when it happens month after month. See the Snap! Plans for more information.