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Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Is bad website design killing your business?

Bad website design means headaches for the business owner

bad-website-design-headacheAt least 80% of your target audiences are online, looking for what you offer. What happens if they find you but your website turns them off? You lose.


I frequently talk to small business owners who complain about their websites.

They’ve hired a bunch of different website people (or their nephew) but haven’t gotten what they wanted. The website doesn’t work. They’re not getting traffic. Or … it just doesn’t look right. Yet they’re not willing to invest (they’re usually looking for the cheapest option) to bring someone in who will think strategically and make it work. So they’re stuck with bad website design.

bad-website-design-onlineIt’s a bit like the building industry … lots of flakes you can’t count on. And yes, some great people too, who charge what they’re worth. A website that serves your business is more than programming, more than design, more than SEO. Today it’s worth more to your success than what you used to spend on traditional advertising media.

Industry pundits used to say spend 2% to 10% of sales on advertising, depending on your industry. How does that compare to what you have spent on your website?

Here are the issues of those who are unhappy, frustrated, upset or just stuck with bad website design and don’t know where to turn.

  • The website doesn’t work on mobile
  • The business owner or manager had to supply all of the copy and content to the web person
  • The design is cluttered and confusing, navigation is complex
  • The copy is long, dense and unappealing
  • The site is static and unchanging (and Google wants fresh content)
  • Visitor traffic is low
  • Visitors can’t find what they’re looking for on the website
  • The website is not ranking well
  • They’re not getting any new business inquiries or leads
  • Customers complain about the website
  • It’s difficult to update, no one on staff can do it
  • The original web developer is unresponsive or out of touch or just plain gone

Recognize yourself in any of those? We feel your pain.

A good website requires more than design and programming.

Think about everything you expect from your website.

  • It should be found by those who are searching online for what you offer
  • It should be easy to view, read, navigate and take action
  • It should be interesting and valuable enough people will want to return
  • It should tell your story so visitors want to learn more
  • It must be visually attractive
  • It MUST work on mobile (be responsive)
  • It should draw the visitor in and help them understand how to choose you
  • Basic information should be easy to find
  • It should generate warm leads for you (people who have expressed interest)
  • It should answer the questions people ask when they’re considering buying what you offer
Is that too much to ask? No.

But it’s more than the average website programmer can handle. Your web provider must understand you and your organization. What actions do you want visitors to take? What questions do prospects ask? Answers to these questions are the foundation for a website that boosts business and the bottom line. That’s marketing.

When it’s time to rethink your website, think marketing first.

Message, calls to action. Understanding your audiences. Communicating value, not just what you do. Make it easy to find what people are looking for. Bold text that’s easy to read. Visuals that tell the story. Copy that’s framed from the visitor’s point of view–“what’s in it for me?”

Read up on online marketing tactics in this Flipboard compilation of industry articles.
View my Flipboard Magazine.

You might be interested in our website guidelines below. Or talk to us about what you want to accomplish with your website. We can help. Really!



About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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