I don’t generally like using the word “suck” in my everyday vocabulary. In this case, the word “suck” is used so much in website design and development that the work “stink,”” fail”, or any other word doesn’t really work.
With that in mind, we’re going with the word “suck” – and I apologize beforehand for anyone who is offended. I also apologize to my kids, too – it’s just a bad word. It’s a good word for this article, though.
Here are key areas where websites suck:
Websites that haven’t been updated, edited or expanded – ever.
It is so easy to build a website and then just walk away. Years ago, it was perfectly fine to build a website and never change it. Your website was, essentially, an online brochure. Unless you were actively selling things on the Internet (E-commerce, right?), keeping things the same was acceptable. If you are looking at starting an E-Commerce site, check out our article Starting Your E-Commerce Website: Before You Start Anything
Today, it’s all about content. You have to change your content. Blogging is the “new normal.” Promoting new items and services is also the “new normal.” Search engines expect you to give your customers new content on a regular basis. If you don’t create any new content, you’re going to suffer on the search engines and your website is going to suck. This is where Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, comes into play.
Websites with broken technology, programming, etc.
Trying to come up with new content can be a challenge. We get that. What doesn’t make a whole lot of sense is a website that has broken links to other pages, problems with video, malfunctioning HTML programming, etc. Sure, everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes websites have unforeseen problems. What we see, though, are a lot of sites that have critical parts of them that don’t work. We’ve been tracking a website that was selling products that has a non-functioning search bar – and it hasn’t worked for years.
If you’re going to build a website, make sure everything is working well. Make a point to go through the website on a regular basis to make sure everything is working like it should. If you have a website team working and monitoring your site, it’s good for them to check everything. Never forget, though, that the website represents you. If you’re not okay with a bad impression, take the time to go through the website yourself every week or so. It’s worth it, just for the peace of mind.
Websites that are totally serving themselves and no one else.
No one likes “that guy” who talks about himself all of the time. With that in mind, no one likes a website that is all about bragging about some business that they own. There is a difference between marketing and self-promotion. Marketing is about meeting needs. Self-promotion is about looking good for one’s own pride. When someone can’t distinguish between the two, there’s going to be problems.
If you’re all about praising your organization without any concern about making your customers’ lives better, you’re heading into a black hole that is hard to exit. Your credibility is shot when you never make it clear that you’re about benefiting the customer. Even if you try to shift your content, it’s going to take a long while before people believe you and your message. With this in mind, always be about providing a great value and exceptional service to your customers.
Websites with terrible graphics, content, etc.
Having a website that doesn’t look great is an easy mistake to make. However, it leaves a bad impression on those who visit your site. Cheesy, lame pictures are no fun to see. Videos and animations which are lousy will cause people to leave your site as quick as they entered them. Even if you and your brother-in-law think that they’re cool, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about making your graphics a reason to keep people looking around your site.
As we mentioned before, you want to keep people coming back to your site. Not only do you want to have great graphics, you want to keep updating your graphics so that people know you’re doing new things to the site. Therefore, be always adding great graphics that are engaging and cool.
Websites with a lot of junk ads throughout them.
This may be the most violated rule throughout the Internet. No one likes to have pop-up ads show up on sites. No one wants to wade through a lot of banner ads on the page as they try to read the content. The “sponsored” ads may be a potential revenue source, but they “suck” when it comes to visitors who would like to stay on your site. It’s like driving through Las Vegas on a Saturday night. Lights, crowds, loud music and a whole lot more competing for your attention makes you want to quit looking for what you need. That’s the same for a website that’s just full of stuff that’s competing for your attention.
Don’t fall into that trap that you have to overwhelm people with lots of options. You don’t have to do that. It’s not about providing lots of content. It’s about providing the most relevant content for your visitors. Visitors know what junk ads look like, and they consistently reject them. Don’t be “that guy” who puts ads up on the site, just for the outside chance that a sale might happen. Otherwise, you’ll lose the visitors you want.
This list isn’t intended to be a comprehensive list. It does give us a start. You don’t have to have a site that sucks. We at Digital Environment can help.
If you are looking for a place to start, our article How to Build a Great Website in 5 Easy Steps is a great place to begin.