I was making small talk with a friend at the gym and mentioned a friend (Let’s call this person Friend A) of mine. Friend A has a job which would be very helpful for Friend B and, overhearing, she jumped over and asked me for a favor. Would I please tell Friend A about Friend B as it would really help her career?
Friend B is a customer as well as a friend so I say, OK. She comes back a moment later with a scrap of paper with a URL on it asking me to pass her website over to Friend A.
So, a few days later, I go to email Friend A. I take out the scrap of paper and pull up Friend B’s website. It is the most busted website ever. Literally, not a single link works. I actually manage, though guess work, to load a couple of the pages by guessing at what the links *should* say but its totally useless. A few pictures, no mention of what she does, pretty much nothing on the site but a few under construction links and pages you can’t get to anyway because the links are broken.
Broken links are bad. Busted websites are bad. But you know what is the worst? Nowhere, anywhere on the site is their contact info. Not an email address, not a phone number, not even a snail mail address.
This is this person’s business and they are using their website as their main point of contact. After all, she gave me that URL to pass on in favor of an email address or phone number. That website not only isn’t doing her business any favors, if anything its turning away potential customers. They arrive, see the site is broken get annoyed and leave, never to come back.
Now, I’m going to run into this person at the gym again and give her a heads up so she can fix it. But I’m the exception. 99% of her visitors aren’t going to say, “Poor lady, her website is so busted” they are going to just walk away.
If you are setting up a website for your business, your contact info is the most important thing. Before you make it pretty, before you add in bells and whistles, make sure customers can contact you. And, above all, don’t actually send people to your site unless it’s in at least basic working condition!
This was not only a website design and networking FAIL, this person called in a favor from me and basically blew it. I don’t want to pass her onto my friend now because I am viewing her as an amateur and passing her on can make me look bad with Friend A. So she basically called in a favor from me and wasted it.
So consider this my warning. Before you send someone to your website, make sure it’s worth seeing.