“This is the point,” I told the client, “where I tell you that your website is horrible.”
I was joking, of course, but only slightly.The example here is from Deviant Art, a site where artists share their work, and I don’t think it has ever been a real website. Most websites we work with aren’t this horrible, but they’re not doing their job. At some point we have to talk with their owners about why they’re not bringing in leads, patients, or customers.
I have had to do this in person several times recently, because for some reason I have a bunch of local clients right now.
Usually I send these things off by email, couched diplomatically in words like, “Your website doesn’t seem to do your wonderful gallery justice” or “You might not have realized that your meta description says, ‘Add a description here.’” If people are shocked and horrified, I don’t have to see it.
Often they email back after a bit saying, “We had noticed these things, too. What can we do about it?”
In person, it’s different. I met with a nice realtor recently, and he kept calling out to people in nearby offices, “Our website is awful! I can’t believe this!”
“That’s okay,” I say soothingly. “We’re going to fix it.”
At another client’s home office, we were gathered around the screen looking at the problems. “See,” I pointed out, “the search engines can only see what’s on this screen. They can’t see your pictures, or hear your audio clips, or read the words in your Flash introduction. This is all they’re seeing. They have no idea what you do.”
These clients were silent, their brows furrowed in distress.
So when I brought out my printout (really, it’s worse when we do it on the screen) and pointed out all the problems to the third client in a row, I felt a bit apologetic.
On the other hand, I also got to visit a client whose beautiful new website just went live. She’s going to be taking care of her own blog, so she needed a little bit of training. She was very excited. She gave me a hug.
It’s a before and after experience.
If you suspect that maybe your website is horrible, you can email me and I’ll tell you the truth.