Web Site Horror Stories

Grab a flashlight, blankets, s’mores, and some matches. This will be a blog to remember—full or horror, evil spirits and… sunken costs? Yes, a business’ worst adversary—wasted money. For most of your customers, your Web site is the first touch point they will have with your brand. First impressions are everything, whether it is a handshake or a welcome page on your site.

We could talk about first impressions for hours. It’s a very popular subject in the marketing communications industry; but, instead we’ll focus on where people go wrong with their Web sites and their budgets. These are the two most common “horror stories” we’ve heard at SRJ Marketing Communications.

  1. The do-it-yourself fiasco. Have you ever gone to Home Depot to begin a project like painting a wall in your house, fixing a cabinet in your kitchen, or putting together a jungle gym for the kids? Good. Those are appropriate do-it- yourself projects. 

    Now, have you ever gone to Home Depot to begin building your house? I didn’t think so. Use the same rationale when considering building your own Web site. So many people think they can build one on their own. In theory, it’s a great idea; but trust me—it’s not a “do-it-yourself’ project. Much like building your home, a Web site for your business is meant to be done by professionals.

    I do suggest, however, that you have a Web site implemented with a content management system that easily allows you to go in and add content. You’ll want to have the autonomy and freedom to do things yourself when you need them done quickly and without much expense. Be aware, though, that content management systems do have their limitations.

    If you’re planning to create your own Web site without professional help: Be afraid, be very afraid. 

  2. Counterfeit Web site “designers”. Finding a Web site “designer” is as about as difficult as finding a Starbucks in Dallas. They are everywhere. Unfortunately, I can rely on Starbucks to have quality coffee every time. Don’t be so sure about Web site “designers”.

    So what’s the opposite of a Web site “designer”? It’s easy—a Web site designer. (Notice the lack of quotation marks.) When searching for a true designer, look for the following attributes: 

    1. A diverse portfolio of work. Ask the designer to provide some samples of work performed in the past. Is there a pattern of one template? That’s a bad sign. You want the designer to create a unique look that fits with your branding, not a streamlined Web site that looks like your best friend’s WordPress site.
    2. Use of social media. A lot of people understand HTML, and understand design. However, not everyone is up-to-speed with the latest trends in online marketing. You’ll want your designer to be familiar with social media. Whether or not you plan on using a social networking campaign or not, you’ll at least want to test a potential designer on how fresh their expertise is. 
    3. Price. Everyone wants a good deal, but for a moment let’s consider the deal that is too good to be true. No one can create you a quality Web site for pennies. It’s simple math. If you are thinking you are getting to-good of a deal, ask more questions and make sure that the designer is credible. There’s a good chance that he or she is not.

I can’t tell you how many people have come to SRJ to have their Web sites redone. A Web site is an investment—perhaps the most important marketing investment your company will make. While we would be happy to fix your horror story, we would rather just get things done right the first time. Call us at 214-528-5775and we will make sure that neither of these horror stories keeps you up at night.