In this day and age, everybody has a website. You have a website, I have a website… even your mom probably has a website. Whether it’s just a page on Myspace or a professionally-designed web masterpiece, nearly everyone has some sort of presence on the internet.
This internet presence is especially important for businesses which often rely on their website to provide information to first-time customers. In many cases, a website is the first contact a customer has with a person or business. Thus, the website serves as a first impression–a handshake between a professional and the outside world.
Unfortunately for some, that first impression is a bad one because their websites are at the lower end of the internet food chain. Poor design, lack of information, and low search engine visibility plague the websites of many small business owners and professionals, but a few stand out as being infamous for having less than impressive cyber showings.
- Doctor. They make 80 bazillion dollars a year, and yet most physicians’ websites look like they were designed by their eight-year-olds. Then again, with the high cost of malpractice insurance, maybe an eight-year-old webmaster is all they can afford. While my own doctor’s website isn’t that bad (except when it’s broken on occasion), it could use a bit of search engine optimization because it’s ridiculously hard to find in Google search results.
- Restaurateur. National restaurant chains have some of the flashiest websites around; but when it comes to your local eatery, you’ll be lucky if it even has a website. All too often I’ll do a search for a restaurant’s site and only come up with newspaper reviews or directory listings. All I ask is for an online menu so I know what’s cookin’ and for how much. A web designer could make a serious killing in my city alone just bringing its many small restaurants into the 21st century. The Thai restaurant across the street has an excellent website with useful information that is easy to navigate, but I can’t say the same for the Japanese restaurant next door whose website hasn’t been updated in four years.
- Teacher. My wife is studying to become a teacher, so I’ll make sure she has the best darn website on the whole playground. That shouldn’t be hard considering the local competition.
- Clergy. Here’s our church’s website. It’s fairly well-designed if you can look past the giant picture of our pastor. You can check out our old parish’s website for some “just added” pictures of Easter 2004!
- Blogger. Say it ain’t so! Sadly, most providers of quality internet content couldn’t HTML their way out of a paper bag. But that’s okay because there are plenty of pre-made templates out there so that even your grandmother can blog about her yarn collection. If you look hard enough, though, you’ll find a couple bloggers who really know how to design a website.
Comment below and share your local websites that could use some professional polish. Then learn HTML and charge them $1,000 to do the job!