In my work with a number of small businesses I often get asked that dreaded question, “What do you think about our website?” It’s tough to answer because often times it comes up in initial conversation and you run the risk of insulting someone’s baby. Here are five signs your website/baby may be ugly.
- If you took all of your own images on your iPhone. I love my phone, but lining up your employees against the wall and making them look like criminals will not give customers the right impression. Take the time to hire a professional. Shop it. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg, but it will be worth it in the long run. The same goes for videos. Yes, some people shoot amazing music videos on their phone, but unless you really know what you are doing – it will always look better if you hire someone to do it for you.
- If one of your employees did your website in their spare time. Unless you are a web design firm, this is not a great idea. If only for the fact that one-day you may have to fire junior and then you will know nothing about your site or how to update it. Then you really do have to start over. Take some time to shop web vendors. Know what you want in advance of doing this, then make sure you interview the perspective vendors face-to-face and are comfortable with them.
- You wrote the copy for website. Yes, no one knows your business like you – and that is exactly the problem. You are to close to it. Bringing in someone outside will give a fresh perspective to what your company does and will allow them to write copy the way someone would actually be looking for your business. Ranking well in search engines (SEO) is all about quality content these days and its worth the investment to have someone help you with it.
- You do not have a site that is responsive in design or mobile friendly. Increasingly people are searching and buying via tablets or phones. If you don’t have a mobile site or a site that is responsive in design you are probably losing customers. Also, if your site takes a long time to load (e.g. has a lot of large images on it, or flash introduction) you really need to look at a redesign.
- You think your website is an online business card. It has to be much more than that. Your website is a communication tool. It is how you interact with your customers, provide them information, and get information from them. Don’t let your website become static. Share your knowledge via blog posts, podcasts, or even videos. It will pay off in search engine results down the road.
In addition to this I would add that having a website does not mean you have a marketing strategy. Better yet, I would have my marketing strategy before I even create my website and make it a power tool that is easy to use.
Helen Todd, APR is the owner of Helen2o: Fluid Communications. A strategic communications consulting firm and author of the book, “8 Ways To Promote Your Business For Free.” You can follow her on Twitter @htodd1271 or sign up for her blog at Helen2o.com.