How Do I Know if I Need a New Website?
Indicators of Poor Website Design, Part 1
by Eric Peterson 12/16/2010
With so many people now researching potential purchases and services online, a website is often a businesses first and sometimes only opportunity to make a first impression.
So, the first thing for any website, is it must be able to be found.
- Your website should pull up in search engine results when people type in some word or phrase that relates to your product or service. Not just if they type in the name of your website or business.
- Your site should pull up organically. In other words, you want your site to pull up all by itself. Not just in a directory of other businesses like yours. When you pull up in a directory alone, you immediately have competition, and there's no certainty that the searcher will choose your business.
Many websites out there are so poorly designed that there is almost no chance that they will ever pull up. Search engines are looking for food to feed their results. Things like page titles, descriptions, keywords, and of course, content. Visual design is only a part of things. You can have the most attractive, impelling site on the world wide web, but if there isn't any food for the search engines, nobody is going to find it. Your beautiful design will go unnoticed!
Here are some indicators of poor website design...
( no title, no keywords, no description - you can see the above information by right clicking on the browser, then scroll to view page source, OR click the "View" tab at the top of your browser, then scroll down to "Page Source")
(above - No page title descriptive of the site or favicon)
(above - no page title at all, no favicon)
All of these things (above) will have an influence on the ability of search engines to find the food that they're looking for on your website. Chances are, the only way a potential consumer will find a site like one of these, is if they already know the web address. And, that will result in a loss of potential customers.
If you've had a website for a very long time, it's probably time to update. This isn't necessarily and indicator of a poor website, but an outdated website can say as much about a company as a poorly built website. Besides having outdated content, an older website can appear shrunken. This is because it was originally built back when computer monitor resolutions were smaller. As the size and resolution of computer monitors increase, the appearance of a website shrinks in relation to the size of the computer screen.
(when the above site was built, it filled the screen... no more)
Outdated websites like this make it difficult for consumers to read. So, even if it was a good site to begin with, time and evolution of technology has turned a site like this into a detriment.
These are just some of the obvious indicators of a poor website. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a key to creating a visible website and giving your website the opportunity to help your business grow, even in difficult economic times. If your website can't be found, it can't help your business.