June 21, 2016

Broken links. This is one of my pet peeves. When I do research on my podcast guests I “kick the tires” on their websites. I’m amazed at the number of broken links that I find. Really? Aren’t they trying to run a business? So full disclosure. I’m a software engineer and I’m detail oriented. You have to be otherwise the software you code may not work and that would be really bad. And embarrassing. And costly. So when I go to a guest’s website I click everything I can possibly click. I find broken links to social media sites mostly. If you’re going to have a link, make sure it’s working. If it’s not, remove it. You can always put it back once it’s fixed. Also, why would you want a link to your social media if you’re not active on it? I’m raising my hand right now because I too am guilty of this. But not as bad as some. If I go inactive on a social media site, it’s usually just for a few months. I’ve seen some social media links that haven’t had a new post or video for YEARS! Really? Why do you have that link on your website if you’re not active on it? Ok, you don’t have to be active on LinkedIn but hopefully if your resume is out there it’s up to date.

I have most of the major social media links on my website but I’m only active on a daily or weekly basis on a few. I know I should be more diligent. Remember you can do your social media in as little as 10 minutes a day. I’m trying to take my own advice here.

That’s another thing. When I network with people many say they need to do more with their social media but never get around to it and don’t want to pay someone to do it for them. This could be the difference between small business and small successful business. But I’m getting off topic.

Broken links. To me a broken link means that you’re not maintaining your website or asking your website admin to make sure it’s up to date. Folks, our websites are our first impression to potential clients and customers. If I go to a brick and mortar store to buy something, I’m probably going to pass up the seedy looking establishment for a more polished or at least pleasing experience. Safety first. A website that’s not kept up is like a rundown looking store. Some of the light bulbs are burned out, the windows need to be cleaned, you get the idea.

Websites should not only be maintained, they should be updated periodically. I’m not only talking new content, although that’s a given. I’m talking new look and feel. Google search likes stuff that’s changed frequently and doesn’t pay much attention to sites that have been static for a long time.

Does it cost money to keep your site up to date or make changes? You betcha. Unless you’re a do-it-yourself-er like I am, then the cost is only time. Most of us who have had regular jobs at one point in our lives had to go on some job interviews. I know I’ve never shown up for a job interview in jeans. So think of your website as a job interview and dress it up appropriately.

Every business person with a website could give a local teenager some soda and a pizza and ask them to check their website weekly and report broken links or other anomalies. Think outside the “pizza” box.

Question: what are your opinions when you visit a website and it looks kind of dated? I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not a fan of Wordpress but even I have to admit that Wordpress has a lot of awesome themes and makes gorgeous websites. There’s really no excuse for a dated looking website if you’re trying to promote and grow your business.

I know, I know, some businesses are so successful that they don’t need to worry about what their website looks like. Good for them. Most of us aren’t that lucky.

Ok, it’s analogy time. When I was looking at new cars four years ago with the intent to purchase said new car I went to my local Audi dealership. I made sure to dress up and wear the most expensive looking jewelry I had (thanks for the diamond cocktail ring Aunt Lucy). In the conversation with the salesperson he actually mentioned that he looks at what prospective buyers are wearing in order to gage whether they can afford an Audi and if not, he doesn’t spend much time with them. I passed the muster but I bought a Subaru. Vroom, vroom! Anyway, yeah there are lots of people with lots of cash that dress like bums. And lots of people that dress very nicely living from paycheck to paycheck. But first impressions do matter.

So here’s your homework. Go to your website and make sure all of your links are good. Check your content and think about adding some new stuff. Maybe update some pictures of you or your team. Airbrushing wrinkles is allowed. Contact your web admin or your next door neighbor’s web savvy teenager and have them update your site. Spruce up the content on your social media sites. For goodness sake, just tweet. Would it kill you to tweet? Then sit back and let the satisfaction of staying current wash over you.

Hey, it’s only my opinion.

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