Internet Marketing:Is a bad website better than none at all?

by Halisi

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”~Mark Twain.  In a previous post we discussed how it was important to make sure that your website represented the personality of the company.  Equally as important is that the website represents the image of the company and that it leaves the impression that you want.  So, I’ve decided that a bad website is not better than none at all.

The above site is a new site for this church.  They have some handy tools like the Podcast feature and the Polling feature.  What is disturbing is that two of the questions in the poll refer to this being a new site and is it going to be kept up to date.  This screen shot, by the way, is the home page.  This thing has the personality of a piece of dry white toast.  If this is the new site, what did the old site look like?!?  This site gives me the impression that this church is being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.  Yes they have a site, and yes they’ve added 2.0 features.  However the lack of creativity in the design says that this is a stodgy old church with a “that’s the way we’ve always done it” attitude.  If their objective is to motivate someone, whose only impression of the church is this site, to come and visit – I think they’ve failed miserably.  Now I could be wrong on my assessment of who this church is, but that’s irrelevant.  The only thing that is relevant is the impression that this site gives.

The other point, being kept up to date, is important.  There are plenty of low cost ways to create a good looking website that is functional and easy to update.    Clover sites offer churches an easy way to create a good looking functional website for $1000 + hosting fees.  Clover sites also comes with a CMS (content management system) editor to allow you to quickly update, add pages, and pictures.  There are other companies that offer the same kind of services for for-profit companies.  Start your search with “cms site builder.   A WordPress blog site can also be a better alternative to the 1999 website that you’re still using.

However with WordPress, you need to use your own domain name and get it hosted.  Using www.yourcompany.wordpress.com is NOT professional and tells people that you may not be serious about your online presence.   If you have someone who’s a little more savvy, joomla sites also offer a low cost alternative with a CMS editor for easy updates.

Which ever route you take before starting, have a plan; regardless is if this is your first site or a redesign.  Ask yourself these questions.

1.  What are my objectives?

2.  People should leave the site feeling that my company/organization is?

3.  What special offerings should the site provide?  e.g. ordering online, etc.

4.  What are the different needs for different target audience members?

5.  How will we measure success of the website?

6.  And finally who will handle site updates?

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