How to Lose Friends and Alienate People with Your Website

Once upon a time, I needed to rent a tuxedo for my teenaged son, who was a music student. I’ll end the suspense right now by saying that I succeeded. Not only were we able to rent the suit, along with the needed shoes (for some reason they’re not allowed to perform in sneaks) and tie and so forth, but we were able to sign him up for a special musicians’ plan. Musicians can just call and give the date of their gigs, and have everything packed up and waiting for them on the day.

This was such an excellent service that I would have gone to that shop on purpose in the first place had they mentioned it on their website.

As it was, only complete chance took us to that particular shop.

Here’s what happened

On Saturday morning, my son and I set off to find the needed tuxedo. We began, naturally, by typing in “tuxedo rental Fayetteville Ar” at Google. That’s where we live, and that’s what we wanted, so that’s what we did.

There were some directories there, with descriptions that suggested that they would be those fake directories which exist for grayhat SEO purposes, so we ignored those. There were a couple of places, though. We clicked on the first. It gave an address, and a nice picture of a bride which was in fact an ad for another business. No hours. No prices. No other information of any kind.

I noted the street they were on and returned to the search results. I saw a company name I recognized. I clicked and was taken to their corporate page, which had no local information. In fact, it listed locations only in Washington, Idaho, and Montana, all of which are too far away for me to drive to for a tuxedo rental.

Disgusted, I tried local search and saw that there appeared to be a couple of options on the same road as the mysterious one with the picture of the bride. No hours, no details, nothing helpful like that, but I had addresses.

We sallied forth and drove from one end of that road to the other. There were no tuxedo rental places visible.

A little cell phone work allowed us at last to find a place, hidden in a strip mall. They told us about the musicians’ plan, money changed hands, and we were out of there within minutes.

You might think that I would give those nice people a link here, or at least tell you who they are and where they are, just in case you find yourself in Fayetteville some day needing a tuxedo for a concert.

Nope

Their website only mentions locations in Washington, Idaho, and Montana, anyway. And I don’t know whether they have musicians’ plans in those states or not.

Here’s how to make certain that your website irritates local customers, keeps them from visiting you, and causes them not to link to you just for spite:

  • Don’t give your hours. Keep your location as vague as possible. Don’t include a phone number if you can help it. If they can’t find you, they won’t be able to visit.
  • Don’t mention any of the advantages of visiting your place of business. Don’t have photos of your products, mentions of your special offers, or any hint that you provide service of any kind.
  • Give no information that will allow a visitor to your website to compare your business with any other. Don’t put information about prices, selection, or policies. That way, if anyone does visit you, just out of desperation, they have an excellent chance of needing something completely different from what you offer.

Don’t follow the advice above. Turn it on its head and do just the opposite. You’ll be amazed by how much difference it makes in your business.


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