Have I got your attention? I can already see you rolling up your sleeves, spoiling for a brawl. Either that or you’re sitting there nodding your head saying tell me something I don’t know. Either way, I guarantee that your site could use improving, even if you do think that it’s God’s gift to the Interwebs.
What makes me the expert you ask? For starters, I learned how to build websites 15 years ago at a small ad agency called Bombaci + Mitchell, right after the World Wide Web was born. Second, I worked at Fidelity Investments for nearly 10 years and for a good portion of my time there, I worked closely with our 200 person Web team to make Fidelity.com it the financial juggernaut that it is today [ranked 2,278 according to Alexa]. And finally, I’ve worked in senior level marketing roles at two “socially” focused companies over the last three years – Mzinga for a majority of that time – and now Powered. Clients of Mzinga included ABC.com, Disney, John Deere, Cisco and Ford Motor Company. At Powered, we help clients like Sony, HP, Motorola, iVillage and Atkins – not just by building world class online communities, but more importantly by helping them to create engaging content that helps them generate measurable ROI [see post on Social Marketing ROI: Ignore at your Own Risk]
If you’re still not convinced I’m qualified to tell you, feel free to tell me why I’m wrong (or what I’ve missed) in the comments. Otherwise, here are the five reasons your company’s web site sucks:
- You spend WAY too much time talking about yourself. If you were on a date, (s)he would be looking at their watch by now. Try listening to your customers for once. Or even better, give them a way to talk to each other. An example of a company that’s good at NOT talking about itself all the time is Zappos.com.
- Remember that blog you had your intern set up for you last summer? It hasn’t been updated in over three months (right after that same intern left coincidentally). If that’s the case, it’s either time to pull the plug (bad idea IMHO) or dedicate some of your or your team’s time to update it (much better idea).
- What? You’ve actually been updating your blog regularly? Well, that’s a step in the right direction. However, now go back and see reason number 1. I’ll bet you $100 that you talk too much about your company and why you’re great on your blog. See BestBuy CMO, Barry Judge’s blog, as an example of one that does a good job of delivering real value.
- Your Website is built to generate leads but not to teach your customers anything useful. Don’t get me wrong, you MUST have ways to generate leads (don’t let the “return on conversation” wonks tell you otherwise). However, try actually providing educational information on your site that can genuinely help your customers. See one of our client’s,Sony’s Backstage 101 community or better yet, see what Hubspot has done (see my recent post on this topic).
- You aren’t letting your customers give you open and honest feedback where other customers can see it. Yes, it hurts when people tell you that your products stink. But if they are telling you that, don’t you think you’ve got bigger problems? Considering the fact that the number one source of information is still word of mouth, people have a hard time trusting the good if there isn’t some “bad” or at least “honest” feedback sprinkled in.
- Okay, I know only mentioned “five” things in the title of this post but I couldn’t resist adding this one in. STOP including the little uber-social widgets that let people Del.icio.us tag, Stumble, Facebook and RSS your content unless you can look yourself in the mirror and state that you are not guilty of rules 1-5.
If you do believe me and are willing to take the time to start chipping away at the list above, PLEASE make sure you stop and benchmark your site in its current state. The last thing you want to do it make your site and more engaging and productive and not get the credit for doing so.
What else am I missing? I’m sure there are another 100 reasons your company’s Website sucks. I just didn’t want to pile it on! 😉