Eight Reasons Why Your Website is Crap - Will Hanke

Eight Reasons Why Your Website is Crap

Written by +Will Hanke on May 27th, 2010

A few years ago I heard a quote, supposedly by Bill Gates:

Soon there will be two types of businesses, those online and those out of business.

While I’m not sure if the quote ever really came from him, the premise of the statement is definitely true.  And even years later, only a staggering 40% of small businesses in the US have websites.

Of that 40%, a good chunk of those websites are stale or dead.  They heard that they needed to be online, and rushed to get online, but had no strategy or planning about why they should be online.  They just knew they had to be there.  And after a few years of their website sitting there doing nothing, they’ve most likely abandoned what little hope they had about the Internet, when actually now is when they should be actively pursuing climbing the rankings and dominating the ever-growing online segment of their industry.

Is this you? Have you tried to get online, but haven’t succeeded?  Traffic is minimal or zero, leads never come, and no one even knows about your website?  Are you embarrassed to put the URL on your business cards? Here’s eight reasons why I think you’re in this boat:

1. Your brother’s best friend’s hairdresser’s cousin isn’t a web guru

Sure, hiring him was a great idea at the time. You’ve got little or no money to put into the “internet thing” and he was willing to do it “for the experience” and add it to his portfolio.

Problem is, those animations are just hideous, the technology he used to build the site back in ’99 wasn’t the best then, and it’s useless now.  There are no meta tags, no heading tags, and overall the site just sucks.

Even worse is that “Under Construction” page that never got updated.  What’s the point?

Fix: It’s time to hire a web designer, bite the bullet, and get a real website that engages customers, shows off your products and grows your business.

2. The search engines can’t index (or even find) you

You’re proud of your website.  The very cool Flash intro page really shows off your business in a way that no one else does.  Problem is, the search engines can’t see your website because of all that Flash.  They can’t index it, they have no idea what it says, and they have no idea how to categorize it.  So you’ll never rank on the search engines because they have no idea what you do.

Fix: Dump the Flash intro.  If you’re dead set on having some dumb animation on your page, put it in the header or some other small place.  Don’t make it the entire page.  Put real content with real follow-able links that the search engines can use to learn about you.

3. Your contact info isn’t on EVERY PAGE

This is an easy one.  Your phone number, at a minimum, should be on the top of every page of your website.  A lot of people simply look up your business so that they can call and interact with a real human.  If you make it hard for them to contact you, you might as well put up a sign that says “We don’t really want your business”.

I personally won’t click around on a website and strain to find a phone number or address.  If I can’t find it, I’ll hit the BACK button and go to the next result – probably your competitor.

Fix: Put your contact information in a very noticeable place.  Put your phone number at the top of the site, easy to read.  Build a Contact Us page that includes your phone number, address and even a map.  For a bonus, add printable directions or a click-to-call service.

4. Your site isn’t mobile-friendly

Smartphones, Google Maps, and ‘Apps’ aren’t losing popularity.  These things are everywhere, taking over the population.  If someone can’t browse your website in a mobile way, you’re missing a growing segment of searchers.

Fix: Build a mobile version of your website.  This should not be a high priority, particularly if the other things mentioned here apply to you.  Put this on the back burner, but don’t ignore it.

5. Your site isn’t interactive

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  Blogging is one of the best things you can do for your online business efforts.  Blogging used to be defined as “a personal journal that you can publish with ease”.  But small businesses have seen the potential of more traffic by adding a blog to their website. Adding a blog to your website will create new content (which the search engines love), show life to a dead site (which the search engines love) and give you the chance to interact with your audience (which the search engines love – as do customers!).

Fix: Add a blog on your domain.  If you aren’t sure how to do that, contact your web guy and get help.  Don’t sign up for one of those free blogging sites, that won’t help your business at all!

6. Oh – My Eyes!

This is related to #1.  It’s time to stop those crazy animations, the wild colors and scrolling marquees.  Those things were cool back in the day but not any more.  Search engines want content thats easy to understand and digest.  Customers want calming colors that persuade them to hang around on your website a while and read what you’ve got to say.

Fix: Calming blues and greens are the way to go.  Bright oranges and reds are considered ‘alert’ colors and encourage the customer to get off the page.

7. You Took Away My Wallet!

There’s not much worse than writing great content, having a good looking site, getting traffic and then not giving them a way to engage you.  A call to action should be mandatory on every page of your website.

Since only a fraction of the visitors to your website actually land on your home page first, it is imperative that all the pages on your site provide value to your visitor and gives them a place to interact with you – whether it’s by signing up for your newsletter, filling out a form to find out more information, or a BUY button.

8. You’re clueless about those that are visiting your site

Ok so you’re doing all seven of the above things correctly.  Good job.  Traffic is flowing, people are visiting your website.  But do you know what’s happening once they get there?  Are you logging into your analytics each week to find new trends?  How are your visitors finding you? What pages are most popular on your website?  Are there pages you can tweak to make them more interactive?

Analytics borders on nerd territory.  Data is what robots want, not humans.  Unfortunately, you’re running a business, and that business relies on data to function.  Are you missing out on potentially untapped market segments?  Are your pages falling short?  If your bounce rate through the roof?  And if so, why?

Fix: Take some time to read up on analytics.  Find out what you should be looking for, create some custom reports and watch for new keywords that could spring your business into uncharted territory online.

Is your website crap?

I spoke on this subject recently at a Chamber of Commerce meeting.  Some people may have been offended by the pull-no-punches approach I took, and others probably “got it”.  Do you “get it” or will you just continue to wonder why your website isn’t getting any traffic?


Will Hanke is the Chief Search Marketing Strategist at Red Canoe Media, a top St. Louis Search Marketing & SEO firm. In addition to helping some of the city's most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Russ Henneberry says:

    The funny thing about #4 is that I found this post on Twitter, read it and commented on it — all from my mobile device. Proof positive.

Leave a Comment

1 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. How to Survive Any Google Update

What's Your SEO Score?

Enter the URL of any landing page or blog article and see how optimized it is for one keyword or phrase.