An open letter to all businesses

Dear, everyone

It occurs to me that many businesses/people/organisations etc have not yet concluded that your website has become to people today what your storefront window was 20 years ago. When people pass by it, they are either intrigued and delighted by its appearance and therefore want to travel further into the experience that is your business or they are put off and dissatisfied at their first engagement with your business/organization etc.

Website look and feel matters! Beyond anything else you do online, if you are a business, this matters most. Those first three second when a user lands on your page will be the difference between them using you or relegating you to the file in their head called; “Dinosaurs — extremely dangerous — avoid”.

The horrible fact of this is twofold:

  1. You, as a business/organization, will not receive the interest that you may very well deserve.
  2. A user may be missing out on a great opportunity to use a service/product far superior to the one they chose to use simply because the packaging of yours is crap and the, possibly inferior, competitor is good.

This fact is most applicable to Small business where having the “epic” real world front store is massively expensive but, in comparison, having an epic online experience could give you a competitive edge.

I use this in reference to myself where I am searching for a decent local course in creative writing and the following happens:

Me: Search in Google — “Creative writing courses”

Google: Results — Top three AdWords then Organic results

Me: View all top three AdWords results

Landing page experience: 2 are crap, one is acceptable

Result: Close two crop ones, submit query to the acceptable one

Moreover, as a business, you are applying a budget to appear in the AdWords results! In my humble opinion, what the hell are you thinking? I can only imagine that the drop off rates are atrocious and conversion even more so. You are WASTING your money!

All you are doing is burning funds when you could take a step back and put together a short plan to get better results. At the very least do the following:

  1. Get onto google and search for what it is your business offers.
  2. Look at the results, nationally and internationally.
  3. See which sites are appealing, modern and relevant and those that are easily identifiable as old or hopeless. Make a note of these sites.
  4. Now open your site and consider everything you just went through. Is your site at least:
  5. Good looking
  6. Easy to navigate
  7. Easy to see what you do
  8. Easy to contact you
  9. If you are confident that you are ok then good for you. If not get yourself a decent developer (WordPress will do as a content management system) and a great Designer.
  10. Be willing to pay a decent amount — cheap just means broken in three months.

Now, as a bare minimum, you are ready to run some form of online advertising that will not scare, terrify, dishearten, annoy or possibly result in your users eyes spontaneously combusting into flame and thereby a potential lawsuit.

Please, as a consumer, I want to feel I am working with the best.

PS: When in doubt ask friends and family what they think — it’s the only “cheap” marketing that may be acceptable.

Good luck


Originally published at mediarocket.co.za on January 29, 2016.