Last month Barry Adams wrote a terrific article about making websites – crummy ones, that is. I’ve summarized a few of Barry’s points below, and added my own take on how clients and developers contribute to the trend of low quality websites.
To perform well online, a website needs to be more than just pretty pictures. Unfortunately, not many clients seem to understand that. They think building a website is just about making the interface look okay, not taking into account that there’s a long list of functionalities that have to be developed.
The problem is, these people have limited knowledge of what a website should be. They think of it as an image just sitting on the web, one that should somehow be able to attract millions of users and convert them into customers, despite having zero functionality. Sorry clients, but the truth is this: websites don’t work like that.
As Barry mentions, clients also tend to ask for way more than their budget allows. They expect Hollywood results, even when all they’ve got is a garage studio budget. Clients, please use common sense, and don’t forget the old adage “you get what you pay for”. If you want a comprehensive, robust, and sophisticated website design, it’s going to cost you.
Barry points out that many developers are treating must-have digital marketing features as “extras” when offering site packages to clients. The bare necessities should not be optional features that come at additional fees. A business website is not a static presentation, it’s a hub built for interaction.
Developers, it’s time to set some standards. Stop selling websites that aren’t fully functional. Your “basic” package should include all of the digital marketing tools necessary to make a functional website that is beneficial to both users and the owner. If your client doesn’t want to pay what that’s worth, then educate them first instead of simply removing features. Don’t let them think that a basic website is anything less than what you’re offering.
And if they still want that crummy website for cheap? Show them the door. Your career and portfolio will thank you for it.
In 2016, a website isn’t complete without the following:
1. Mobile First: responsive mobile-friendly design that can be used on different devices – ideally designed with mobile as the foundation
2. Fast Loading: quick loading times for users on all devices even with slow internet connections
3. Tracking Enabled: web analytics tracking traffic as well as goals and conversions
4. SEO Ready: all important on-page SEO tags and elements, including schema and XML sitemaps
5. Conversion Optimized: tools for clients to create campaign landing pages with conversion in mind
6. Powered by CMS: a back-end Content Management System that enables publishing and editing content
7. Email Marketing: email capture forms synced with client’s email marketing system
8. Social Media: integration with relevant social media platforms
9. Strong Security: fundamental security and privacy protocols, such as basic security checks
If clients and developers can work together to meet these minimum standards, we’ll see a major improvement in the way we do business and connect with potential customers online. Let’s all do better – using a little common sense and some good communication, we can build a better web.