What’s not-so-good about your website?

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18Oct2010

What’s not-so-good about your website?

  • By Andrew Garrett
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Most businesses have a website. Yours, I hope, is one of them.

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Please don’t take this the wrong way, but most business websites are… well, let’s be polite about it and just say “not so good”.

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(If I wasn’t being polite, the word “dire” would be in there somewhere. But let’s stick with being polite).

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Often, they were designed at least three years ago, and haven’t really been updated since. Most likely, the content was written by a marketing company, or (even worse) the office junior. They’re designed to be everything to everybody, with the result that they’re bland, inoffensive and boring – nothing to anybody.

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In the last few years the internet has changed – I think, for the better.

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Personal is the new Business.

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Consumers these days expect the brands they deal with to have a personality – if there’s a real person with whom they can identify, then that’s even better.

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Your website doesn’t tell me anything about you, the person behind the business.

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If I’m having a suit made, I want to know about the people who’ll be making it. If I’m booking a haircut, I want to be able to see my hairdresser and maybe even view some of his best work. If I’m booking my car in for a service, I want to know that my mechanic tinkers with cars on his weekends, that he loves what he does.

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Your story has meaning, for many businesses it’s part of why people come back to you. Why not share something of yourself?

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In most cases, your website will be the first part of your business that anyone ever sees. If it’s not good enough, it’ll also be the last.

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Here are a few things you may like to consider, if you want to bring your company’s website into the modern age.

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  1. Weblogging: What I’m doing right here. Sharing information. Proving (I hope) some of the value Pragmetric adds to our customers, by giving away information I think is valuable.
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  3. Video Blogging: If writing isn’t one of your strengths, imagine a series of 5 minute videos, once a week. Bonus points if you have someone (maybe the office junior?) transcribe your video into a textual post.
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  5. A real “About” page: Many websites have an “About” page. Most of the time, it’s pretty dull. Make it real, tell some stories, expose what excites you about your business.
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  7. Tell some stories: Something that makes you real, talks about what you do, what makes you proud, what your customers get out of dealing with you.
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  9. A photo of you: Nothing makes a site as personal as a photo or two of the people in the company. That’s us, at the top of this page (yes, really! Those aren’t professional models!). Matt and I both hate having our photo taken – but it’s worth it.
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  11. Give your customers a voice: If you have a weblog, enable comments. let your customers speak! Engage with them. Encourage them to talk to you. Give them a variety of ways to do so.
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  13. Forgive your own imperfections: While this is probably good advice overall, it’s particularly important if you’re updating your website content frequently. While you should pay attention to details, if you get a little something wrong once in a while, it’s no biggie. Accept from the start that not everything will be perfect. You’re human, and it doesn’t hurt to show that.
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You need to give your customers a reason to come back to you. People who aren’t your customers yet need a reason to try you out.

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This could be it.

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