As a web designer and mobile software developer, I frequently use the tools and expertise at VandalsSmile’s disposal to scan and analyze the websites of small businesses in the local area I frequently interact with as a consumer.

In fact, for the last 3 months, I’ve been meticulously doing so for every restaurant, bar, home contractor, doctor, dentist, lawyer and more that I patronize from week to week.

To date, I’ve analyzed dozens of websites for their effectiveness when it comes to content freshness, web traffic, SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (search engine marketing, or digital ads) and technical SEO (i.e. the good or bad technical configuration and site errors of each site).

The results? In 99% of the cases, the websites I’ve analyzed are:

  • Out of date/date/have incorrect info (even phone numbers!)
  • Configured incorrectly from a technical standpoint (Almost all are not even being indexed by Google)
  • Not getting the volume, right kind of traffic they should be getting
  • Don’t show up effectively in Google search for the right keywords and phrases
  • Are insecure or have malware on them (where customers can get infected)
  • Don’t effectively capture website visitors as leads
  • Have broken forms, links, and images
  • Display too little content for search indexes or potential customers
  • Not integrated with social media profiles
  • Don’t leverage digital ads at all or effectively (i.e. wasting marketing dollars with little to no ROI)
  • Have no backlinks or toxic “junk” backlinks

And that’s just the “top 10” of the issues I’ve found. Most sites even have ALL the issues outlined above. What’s worse, regardless of the number of problems the sites have, in all cases, it means they’re not doing the job they were put up to do in the first place:

to attract new customers and keep old ones loyal and coming back.

In today’s digitally-driven world, either you can compete on the web and mobile or, well, you will suffer. You might even go out of business eventually. Sooner or later, companies without sites that do more than simply look good will find themselves “selected out” of being competitive on the web, mobile and social media. It’s digital natural selection at work – and it’s a process that’s accelerating at a rapid rate.

So How Do Business Get Bad Websites Anyway?

For most small business, it all sounds very simple. Just get a domain name and a website and then customers will find you. What can go wrong? Well, that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. Plus, it can be lethal these days.

The false sense of security you created by thinking, “well, I have a site, so I’m fine” can cause you to waste critical time while companies that really “get it” establish market dominance. It can leave small business owners scratching their heads wondering “how” and why” until it’s too late.

You see, for owners who fall victim to this way of thinking, their first mistake is to head to GoDaddy, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace or any one of a thousand other “bargain basement” site providers and either DIY their site or pay very little to have the hosting company outsource it to their offshore/foreign support teams.

So why is this bad? After all, FREE or $9.99 a month or $50 a year all sounds great, right?

The harsh reality is that getting a website that really builds new business for your company takes a whole lot more than you think. It costs a lot more time and money too. In fact, it’s very nearly an everyday commitment to:

  • Make sure your site is indexed properly by Google – and stays that way.
  • Ensure your keyword strategy is the right one to ensure maximum traffic over competitor sites.
  • Generate fresh, properly-written content regularly to ensure you rank higher (this is THE biggie with Google).
  • Adapt your site to new technologies (such as AMP) and changes to Google algorithms (they change about 500 times a year).
  • Collect and evaluate visitor metrics to better understand your customer behaviors (and whether you’re doing well or not).
  • Address new customer segments and needs as the market changes.
  • Rise to meet new competitors and high-performing websites as they enter the market.
  • Update technologies and components as new versions arise and security issues inevitably develop.

Think these bargain companies are gonna spend to handle all these items for $9.99 a month? Think again.

The average web developer salary in the United States is over $80K a year. Really good ones make over 150K with ease. That means the only way these companies make money is to sign up as many people as possible and spend as little time on each site as possible. It’s just a fact.

And what of “doing it yourself?” Well, let’s just say that, unless you’re a web developer and digital marketer yourself, the task of getting and keeping your site up to a “lead generation” standard is next to impossible.

So, that deal you think you’re getting? It’s just further lulling you into a business-threatening sense of security.

 

Want to Do Better for Your Business?

Contact VandalsSmile today and get a healthy site for less than you think. Just click here to get started!

About the Author

Jason Polancich

Jason Polancich is app designer and digital marketing lead for Musubu.io. Polancich is a linguist, software engineer, data scientist, intelligence analyst, and real estate broker and investor with his wife and business partner Rebekah. He's also the founder and lead architect of VandalsSmile, a data-driven, small business marketing and lead generation network making big data work practically and usefully for owners. Polancich also originally created HackSurfer/SurfWatch Labs (Pre-VC), a cyber analytics firm founded in 2013 that provided highly accurate, timely and actionable information to businesses regarding the cybercrime threats they face. Polancich is a serial entrepreneur focused on solving complex internet commerce, data analysis, and cyber-defense problems. Novii Design, a company he co-founded in 2005 with Rebekah Lewis-Polancich, was based on his contributions to cloud architectures, distributed computing, data analysis and systems integration. The company assisted the U.S. Intelligence Community and Department of Defense in building some of the largest data warehouse and analysis systems ever put into operation within the government and defense contracting sectors. Novii Design was sold to Six3/CACI in 2010. Polancich is also a service-disabled veteran of the U.S. Army. Amazon Author Profile.

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