In marketing terms, having a bad website is like giving a presentation with your flies down.
No matter how articulate your communication or compelling your proposition, no-one is listening – everyone is looking at the gaping hole in your trousers.
Whatever channel your company chooses to attract new business, sooner or later most prospects are going to look at your website for final confirmation that you are the supplier for them.
It will be their last impression of you before making a decision and you really don’t want to look like you got dressed in a hurry.
Those fancy posters, clever radio and television ads, expensive brochures, and exotic stationery all drive people to your website and, if it’s rubbish, you might as well be walk around in your underwear.
If your website is not on-brand and on-message, as my colleges in the marketing fraternity like to say, you’re better off taking it down. So why are so many web lemons left on-line?
Theoretically, a company’s website should be the easiest communications device to keep up-to-date, yet most are forgotten soon after their launch.
Websites are not like those promotional mugs with your old logo on, that loiter in customer’s kitchens years after the rather ill-conceived marketing campaign they were part of has failed.
You don’t have to use up copies of a website either, like the mountain of brochures in the stationery cupboard with a picture of the now ex-MD and an illustrative case study of a client you’re now in litigation with.
If you set it up correctly, you can change your website everyday, with minimum financial consequences.
It is possibly an out-of-sight-out-of mind issue, as many company directors are of an age where they don’t go on t’internet very often. When looking from above, you can’t see your trousers either, so you’re unaware that immediate action is required.
Often, there are internal fractions within a company that prevent this action. No one can agree on what style of new trouser the company should be wearing, and as a result they keep wearing the old ones with the dodgy flies.
It’s not easy telling someone they are ‘flying low’, without causing embarrassment.
Telling someone their website is damaging their brand and they need to fix it before anyone will take them seriously has to be done tactfully, and ideally not by someone who wants to sell them a new one.
Like old friends, existing customers can always be relied upon for their honesty and polling their opinion of your website will be a good reality check.
Or at least review your website before adding its address to other publications. As all experienced orators know, not checking your flies before a presentation is always folly.n Chris is managing director of internet consultancy WAA WebXpress. This and other unedited articles can be found at webxpress.com.