In the early years, some could argue that having a website, albeit bad, was still superior to not having one at all. Websites were not the ‘norm’ and having one proved that your firm was unique and cutting edge. Fast forward 10 years and this is no longer the case – every business and organization is expected to have a website. But times are changing again! It is no longer acceptable to simply have a website. Now organizations are at risk to the dangers of a bad website.
The first step in protecting yourself from a bad website is to determine if you have one. Here are some questions to ask yourself when determining if you have a ‘bad’ website.
Did you use a professional?
Evaluating the experience whoever created your site is an easy way to begin your analysis. If you used your cousin who read ‘Build a website in 14 days’, there’s a good chance that your site could have problems. Inexperienced web designers often produce ‘bad’ websites.
How attractive is your website?
The quality of website design continues to increase. More and more visitors are developing an ‘eye’ for what is good and what is bad, thus requiring all website owners to periodically evaluate their visual appeal. Blinking text used to be cool – not anymore.
Does your website provide value?
The biggest problem facing most websites lies within the ‘value’ they provide. Too often, websites have inadequate and unfocused content that is wrought with grammatical errors. As people become more web savvy, they expect websites to provide valuable information.
Ask someone else?
The most fail-safe method is to ask an experienced web surfer, “Is my website good.” Pay attention to any hesitations or phrases like “This could be better…”. Seeking the opinion of a customer, vendor, or employee (read: not yourself) is an important part of determining if your website is ‘bad’.
Having a ‘bad’ website could be more serious than you think. Many organizations know they need to update their site, but it consistently goes to the back-burner. They often feel that having ‘at least something’ is better than having nothing. In today’s day and age, that isn’t true. Having a bad website is dangerous and can harm your organization.
If you determine you have a bad website, here are some of the dangers you face:
Damage your brand and reputation
Organizations spend a great deal of time focusing on their brand and reputation to promote their overall success. A strong brand helps the community remember you and a great reputation ensures they feel good about working together. If you have a bad website, you run the risk if destroying your brand & harming your reputation. I often ask the question, “Would you let someone representing you arrive to a meeting wearing cut-off jeans and a T-Shirt?” The answer is always ‘no’, yet people don’t realize their website is doing just that.
Lose business to competitors
In today’s competitive marketplace, organizations must remain smart and nimble to keep up with the competition. With websites becoming a significant marketing channel, organizations can’t afford to have a bad website. Many visitors are going online to get their first impressions and a bad website can result in loss of business and even potential employees.
Frustrate customers and prospects
Bad websites often have out of date content. Visitors will become frustrated by misinformation such as bad addresses, wrong addresses, discontinued products/services, and out-of-date employee directories. Frustrated visitors can result in loss of business and potentially more harm through negative word-of-mouth.
Confuse visitors and create legal risks
Bad websites can actually create a legal risk when they provide incorrect information to visitors. Issues can range from false advertising to actually breaking new privacy laws. Even if the content doesn’t actually break the law, confusing information can be just a dangerous in terms of customer service issues.
Waste time and money
Websites, regardless of their quality, typically cost time and money. If an organization invests resources into a bad website, they often find themselves re-designing the site in a short period of time. Once someone recognizes the website as bad, the entire redesign process begins and the organization realizes they wasted time and money.
The facts are clear – a bad website is much worse than no website. If you value your brand, reputation, and the experience of potential customers & employees – make sure you don’t have a bad website.