How a bad website can hurt your business

This week, I mentioned that I needed new business cards to a colleague who has some really striking ones. He told me all about a local company that does his printing – raved about the great customer service and reasonable prices, and their fast turnaround time.

Sounded wonderful. I asked if they had a website and they did, so while I was waiting on something else I went to check it out. Here’s what I found:

  1. Not a bad logo, but it was very pixelated.
  2. Many spelling and grammar errors – on every page I checked.
  3. Inconsistencies – like the main menu had both sentence case and lowercase items in it, and when you entered a submenu the font style, color and size changed dramatically but not in a way that worked well with the rest of the menu. That is, it was hard to tell where you were.
  4. In the shopping cart, all the text was right up against the left side of its container. There was no whitespace between the borders and the content of each page.
  5. No prices were listed until you added an item to the cart, and then you got a warning that you had to “select by product variant” (no explanation of what this means) in the previous screen.
  6. Slow cart response time between screens.
  7. On the backend – no SEO at all, huge code, all tables.

This site was built in Joomla! CMS, but it was never really formatted properly – the company (or their designer) chose a template or built one themselves but it’s not in any way a professional-looking site.

If I didn’t know that this was a great company (per my colleague), and I saw this website first, I would never contact them. This makes a bad first impression and I don’t think too many users, not knowing anything about this business, would go further than a couple of pages on this site. Too many errors and an unprofessional appearance are invitations for your customers to go elsewhere.

The thing is, none of these mistakes are big ones. Many can be fixed quickly and without a lot of effort – and I believe the fixes would have a huge positive impact on this business’s site.

My guess is, the company got a copy of Joomla! and had one of their employees build this site. The intentions were good, but the product is not… Maybe they haven’t ever gotten much business from the Web and therefore haven’t bothered to spend much effort on it. Is it because their clients tend to come in in person? Or could it be because their website is so lacking?

1 comment

  1. I am a web designer and I agree some sites look like a schoolboy designed it. I also get a lot of work from businesses whose sisters son’s friend has designed it and they now want something professional.

    I also use Joomla. It is not a matter of the CMS, as it is not HTML that makes a bad static site. There are many free Joomla templates available that are professionally designed, or you can get a template customised on the cheap.

    It is the business, and those who make the decisions (if any made) on the type of presence they will have on the World Wide Web. The design starts a long time before anything is put to the screen. Can you post the link to me, I would love to have a look at it.

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