Today I did a competitive review for a client, assessing who in my client’s industry was doing what with their internet presence. This is a normal process I do with practically every client or would-be client. Typically in any given review I find a couple competitors with well-built, well-designed websites doing a terrific job promoting their service, brand, or product. There are few competitors with outdated, ineffective, “broken” websites, and a bunch of competitors with “middle of the road” sites that make noble but unimpressive attempts. Today’s review, however, yielded a shocking number of failing grades. Let’s examine why.
Unless this site is for a flower farm (it’s not), fail!
They need to outsource their web design. Cats and fish? I see they are trying to tie in curiosity and “killed the cat,” but in this instance, the fish is looking to get the worse of it.
I like their tagline: Helping you “outsmart” your competition since 1990!
But they clearly haven’t redone their website since 1990. Makes me wonder if they are still in business, especially with an AOL email address (not pictured to protect the innocent). AOL?!
Notice the extra small text for terrible user experience and the content breaking the colorful boarder at the top of the footer. Also, if you have social media icons on your site, make sure they go somewhere. All these dead-end at a broken or missing page, or have zero content at the destination.
Saving the best for last. Notice the footer, where it kindly advises the visitor: Best viewed with Netscape 3.0 or higher or Internet Explorer 3.01 or higher.
In case you are wondering, Netscape 3.0 and Internet Explorer 3.0 browsers were released in 1996 and were out of date by 1997.
I’m continually amazed that businesses and professionals ignore or take for granted what a positive or negative impact their website has on their business. If I didn’t know better, I’d assume most of these businesses were out of business long ago and their website is just a ghost on the internet, and I would keep shopping.
You don’t need to redo your website every year, but you do every decade. Realistically, with the speed at which the internet is changing, you should consider redoing or updating your website every few years. Further, compounded by the explosion of hand-held devices, if your website isn’t user-friendly to phones and tablets (no big shock none in this review are), you are literally giving business away to the competitor that has optimized for mobile devices. That one clue alone, mobile readiness, is reason enough to redo your website in 2014.