Does Your Website Suck?

I don’t know the answer to that question yet. And I certainly don’t assume the answer is “Yes”.

Sometimes it’s obvious; you know it, I know it, everyone knows it. But fixing it is waaaa~~~~y down your list of priorities.

At other times, you might think there’s nothing wrong with your site but a little analysis could reveal that, yep, it sure does suck.

Or it might be all fine and dandy.

The goal of a website – as I’ve been banging on about for years now! – is NOT to simply look pretty and showcase your products or services. It’s to get people to BUY from you.

And there are more ways for a website to suck than you can poke a stick at, frankly. Let’s start with the obvious ones, which I’ve broken into two main categories:

Look and Feel

  • If it’s not immediately clear to visitors what industry you’re in (sometimes, even a ballpark guess is impossible!), your site sucks.
  • If your site was developed before the turn of the millenium, I’m confident – sight-unseen – it sucks.
  • If your website was developed in the last 5 or 6 years by an “internet marketing firm”, it probably sucks.
  • If your site has flashing graphics, icons, smileys, etc. it sucks.
  • If your site has a tiled, patterned background image, it sucks.
  • If your site has a “Hit Counter” at the bottom of the page (or worse, right at the top!), it sucks.
  • If your site has a fancy Flash intro (with or without “Skip Intro”), it sucks.
  • If your site has a fancy Flash intro and doesn’t have a “Skip Intro text link, it sucks double-time.
  • If your site uses Microsoft Clipart circa 1994, it sucks.
  • If your homepage says “Welcome to our site”, it sucks.
  • If your site has a black background and a kaleidoscopic array of coloured fonts, it sucks.
  • If your website has LOTS AND LOTS OF THINGS WRITTEN IN CAPITALS, it sucks.
  • If your site breaks in certain browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer, which is the worst browser in history), your site sucks. [Internet Explorer sucks more, but visitors don't care. To them, your site sucks.]

There are hundreds more design travesties just like these, but let’s leave it at that for now.

Functionality and Content

  • If your navigation breaks without javascript or — even worse — is in a Flash object, your site sucks.
  • If your primary navigation links are broken or take the visitor somewhere else, your site sucks.
  • If your navigation links don’t give the visitor any idea “What’s behind door #2″, your site sucks.
  • If your site is built entirely in Flash, there’s a very, very good chance it sucks. (Exceptions are rare)
  • If your site completely breaks on a smartphone or a tablet PC, your site sucks.
  • If your site starts every other sentence with the word “We”, it sucks… big time.
  • If your site uses a lot of graphics for blocks of text, your site sucks.
  • If any page on your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, your site sucks.
  • If your site doesn’t have an XML sitemap for the search engines, it sucks.
  • If your site has an empty category yet there’s a link to it in your main navigation, your site sucks.
  • If your site makes users register for everything (e.g. comments, helpdesk tickets, etc.), your site sucks.
  • If your site is written in wildly technical jargon because you’re a subject matter expert and you assume everyone else needs that kind of detail, too, before making a buying decision, your site sucks.
  • If people have to hunt for a way to contact you (via email, phone, or mail), your site sucks.

Again, we could go on and on for some time, but I’m sure you get the picture.

Please Note:

All of the website atrocities listed above don’t even address the single most important question of all:

Does your website actually make money for your business?

So you might be wondering…

“If my site sucks… do I need to pay a bomb for something whiz-bang to replace it?”

Do you need something fancy?