I recently had a friend connect with me on LinkedIn. I hadn’t talked to this person in quite a few years and naturally (as I tend to do) took a peek at his companies’ website. I won’t say what his organization does, as that will give it away and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I will tell you I was shocked at what I found.
While I can’t point to the URL, I will tell you what I discovered and how this may apply to you and your business. We will examine Design, Content & Security.
Their website looks like something we were building in the mid to late 90s, or as I like to say the early days of the web. The amazing thing is that this organization serves tens of thousands of members and is collecting huge fees (which isn’t going to their technology 😉 ).
The website was not responsively designed, and therefore looks terrible on mobile devices and even pads. The website screamed, I don’t care what anyone thinks, and I don’t even care if anyone uses this site. It was a disgrace and so out of date from a technology standpoint, using outdated platform like cold fusion. (who knew that was still around…)
As with most sites built in the 90s, it is very boxy with gradients and a logo which is using beveling, a drop shadow, a glow and other outdated design elements. The site is easy to navigate with a simple main menu, which most time would be a real benefit. Unfortunately as most of the content is out of date you just easily navigate to outdated and in many cases irrelevant information. The biggest design no no is the fact that a site doesn’t function on mobile devices. This is a disgrace in 2020.
From a content standpoint, most information was 5+ years old, though they had a few new links to articles. I took a look at their photo gallery they had photos from 2007 – 2010 which shows you they aren’t adding too many pictures. Their video gallery was just as bad with the latest videos being from 2013. Their call to action it’s a video to entice you to join which dates back to 2011!! So from a content, and SEO standpoint, the site fails miserably.
Although this site has people sign up on it, the site is not secure and pages are not encrypted. This of course is a real no-no in 2020. But this site seems to not only have an outdated design, they seem to be using security measures from the 90s, basically none at all!
This site is terrible, and has a look and feel from the 90s. I don’t think anyone viewing the site would argue my point. The saddest part is it wouldn’t take very much to get this website in shape. You could do a redesign and throw the content into a content management system with a stylish, responsive theme. I would review and remove outdated content and advise they get onto a schedule of adding more current, relevant information to their website.
So How does this relate to you and what can you do:
If you look at your website and it looks terribly out of date and at very least it isn’t mobile friendly, it is time for you to make a change, quickly! Well over 50% of the people visiting your website will be on mobile devices, so if your site is a mobile friendly you will lose them, and lose them fast. The same goes with your content. If you have content that is old and stale, you have a problem. If someone comes to your site and see this, chances are they think that either of you are out of business or you’re just not very good at what you do. Outdated content shows a severe lack of pride. Remember: Your website is your window to the world and outdated site says to people, you don’t care if they look inside.
Great Customer Service will always win the day No matter what is going on in the world, people always will respond positively when they have a good customer service experience. When it comes to my business that comes in the form of responsiveness. When one of our clients requests a change to their website, we always respond the same day. Now, this seems like something everyone would do, but you would be shocked that some firms take weeks to respond to a request to simply make a small text change to a website. So no matter what is going on in the world, whether it’s a pandemic or good times, people will always respond to good service and will recommend you to their friends and colleagues. I know of what I speak, as I have been doing this since 1996 and we are still experiencing tremendous growth, even during the pandemic.
BS will never get you very far We’ve all dealt with people who had a great line of bullsh*t, but in the end that’s all they offer, fast talk and nothing to back it up. I have never considered myself to be a great salesman, although I have a closing rate of around 98%. I don’t tell people things just because it’s what they want to hear. I would rather be honest and set proper expectations. That way people are happier in the long run versus someone who sells them a bill of goods and then doesn’t come through. This is true now more than ever before as people are very careful of who they will do business with. They need to feel comfortable and sure that you’re there to help them, and that your actions speak much louder than your words. Talk as they say is cheap!
Thinking long-term rather than short term A lot of people get into business and have a short term plan as to how they will approach their business. This is almost always a mistake as you have to plan into the future and set goals to get there. This has always been the case and it will not change due to the pandemic or any other disaster which may confront you. In fact, long-term planning is more important than ever. Now you need to plan for a possible re-occurrence of a horrible virus. That way you can survive, and even flourish in the event of another pandemic. Listen, no one thought this would ever happen, as we haven’t had a pandemic like this since the Spanish flu. Now that it has happened we need to be ready, and the best way to do that is the plan for any eventuality.
Substance over Style We run into a lot of companies who are pushing very glossy solutions. But most of the time they’re missing out on the true mission of the company they are working for. That is to explore what problems we are solving for them. Taking my business as an example, anyone that looks at our portfolio will see that our sites are all easy to navigate, pleasing to look at and accomplish our clients goals. As I take over a lot of sites to manage I ran into many which have serious engineering issues. As Steve Jobs one said design is not only what something looks like, it is how it works. And you can see this in most Apple products, they are not on the good looking, they are functionally near perfect.As Duct Tape Marketing says:
“Your website is the heart of your online marketing efforts. All other channels should drive users back to your website, so it’s critical that you build the most effective one that you can. Good website design is way bigger than just building a site that looks appealing. Truly effective website design is about the substance underlying the style.”
Buying a product is more important than buying a price You may recall a blog post we had about this very topic, You Buy a Product or You Buy A Price. I used to work with a web developer who was a former finish carpenter and a brilliant musician. He told me that people either shop for price or they shop for a product. If they’re shopping for price then you’ll never be happy no matter how good the product you offer may be. And in the long run they almost never succeed with their company goals as they only care about who gives them the lowest price. Now I am not telling you not to consider price, just consider what are you getting for your money. The proposal that may be a bit more expensive may also net you a much better end result. One other thing to consider is what the company will be doing for you after you build and launch your website. We believe that the management of your website is every bit as important as the design and development phases. So when we make a proposal, it also includes a management plan. This is so important as we not only backup your site daily, we also keep your website plugins and themes up to date. This is critical for Content Management Sites, such as WordPress which require constant attention.
Bottom Line: So just as the last post we had talked about five things that will change forever, these are the 5 Five things that will never change for small business websites, no matter what the world is going through at a given point in time. If you need help with your website design or the management of your site, please feel free to contact us anytime. And please let us know what you think will never changes, we’d love your feedback.