If you have a poor quality website, is it better than nothing, or would you be wiser to take it down until you can arrange for a good one?
The owner of the website shown above approached me in the spring about his site. I’m pretty confident that this site isn’t doing anything for the owner’s business. He hasn’t taken steps to improve the site yet, so we have to wonder: is it better to have a website consisting of one sentence, or to have no website at all?
Britain’s 1&1 Internet, Ltd. recently did a study of attitudes toward the internet among British shoppers. The website in this example is a European one, so the study may be relevant. A full one third of British shoppers say that they would have “concerns” about doing business with a company that had no website. While I haven’t seen U.S. studies on this point, most research shows that Americans are heavily reliant on the internet. I would be surprised to learn that American consumers were less concerned about a company’s web presence.
Not having a website brings up questions for your potential customers. Is your company some sort of fly by night place that hasn’t even got a website? Are you so old-fashioned that you can’t use a computer, or so unconcerned about your customers that you won’t use the most convenient information source for them? Are you about to go under, leaving them stranded if they’ve come to rely on you?
I think the time has come to admit that every business needs a website.
And yet, a website that gives a bad impression could be even worse than going without. A site with poor spelling, bad design, old-fashioned code, and out of date information — or a site with empty pages — can’t give a visitor confidence. The 1&1 study found that the average British consumer is “unforgiving” of poorly designed, slow sites. I’ve seen the same in testing here. People looking at a bad website in a test situation typically want to leave. “I’d leave and look at their competitors” or “I want to go find someone else.”
If you have a terrible website but a good domain — www.yourbusinessname.com, for example — you might consider having your web host put up a good park page for you instead of your current bad website. Creating a simple image with basic information takes little skill or effort; I did this one in ten minutes:
If it were my site, I’d have my designer make me a beautiful park page, but even this sort of homemade image is better than nothing — and better than a truly bad website. Post something like this at your web address until you can get a good website up.
If you’re not sure whether you have a good website or not, I’ll be happy to send you a free website analysis. If you know you have a bad website and you’re ready to change that, I’ll be happy to help.