The sorry state of contemporary websites: A non-developer’s assessment
I am not a web developer. Fortunately, we have people on our team with those skills. But as a marketer, I have some strong opinions about the current state of the web development.
On the surface, today’s plug and play web templates look great. They are typically inexpensive, are contemporary in their design and aesthetics and appear to be a great solution for every company’s need for a viable website. Unfortunately, as the expression goes, beauty is only skin deep. When one peels back the layers, many deficiencies are often uncovered.
Before our agency gets substantially involved with potential new clients, we almost always do assessments of their sites. The results are often quite enlightening to say the least. Here are some of the most common shortcomings we find.
- Poor site navigation
- Inconsistent design and styling
- Slow page speeds
- Minimal content focused on important search keywords
- Missing or misnamed meta descriptions
- Low SEO scores
- Broken links and errors
- No SSL certification (or expired license)
- Poor responsiveness across platforms
Another shortcoming that I find particularly problematic involves the lack of alignment with the organization’s branding. Plugging in a logo is not the answer. A logo is not a brand. A brand is built upon the totality of the company’s brand strategy, messaging, tone and fundamental brand standards. Again, these are important elements that are often overlooked in the “just get it done” world of plug and play web templates. It is imperative to peel off the layers, peak behind the curtain and generally look deeply into every aspect of the site’s code and infrastructure.
To me, it’s the classic “form vs. function” dilemma. The marketing team may not have the technical skills to identify deficiencies or potential opportunities. On the other hand, even if an organization has skilled IT professionals on staff, they may not always look at the site from a marketing standpoint. As a result, the firm’s website may lack the coordination of efforts to achieve the balance essential to delivering a positive and productive visitor experience.
There’s also the all-important issue of search impact. Those same IT pros, no matter how strong they may be on technical matters, may not have the level of awareness of best SEO practices. Without a robust and sustained application of those practices, the site could lack the visibility and “findability” required to produce strong search results and drive potential customer visits.
Your firm’s website should be viewed as the mother ship of your marketing program. Properly nurtured, your web presence can enhance your brand, reward your potential and current customers and produce substantive results, including maximum search impact. When it comes to your web presence, “good enough” seldom is.
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