Small Business Web Sites — Pretty Sad
Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Land and a nationally known and respected SEO expert reported recently on his experiences with some pretty sad small business web sites. He wrote about his recent move from Europe to California, and describes many of the things he ended up searching for as he got settled in. He tells the story about trying to get some pizza and coming across the site for a local pizza joint that ranked well for his query, but when he got to the site, all he found was a malware message, indicating that the business had not been taking very good care of their site.
“Trying to help, I even called and explained that something really bad was happening with the site,” says Danny. “I was told the owner would call back. I didn’t think he would, nor did he.” Danny also noted that the town where this took place is a big tourist town, and would likely cater to a lot of pizza eaters who would be using search engines to find places to eat. Duh!
The Moral of the Story according to Danny
Especially with a worsening economy, ensuring you are in front of potential customers in every way possible is more important than ever. Search is one of the best ways to do this, and the problems I’ve described all involved free listings. Free traffic, free opportunities that were allowed to go to waste. It shouldn’t be like that. In 2008, I shouldn’t see local businesses still acting as if the web and search are as far away from them as they thought in 1998.
He then recounted a similar story about a locksmith whose site was “not found”, but whose domain went to a holding page from a yellow pages company. They had even created a second site for the company, but told Danny that they intended to get the other one back as well. Danny laments, “The things I wanted to ask. Why did you ever build your business around a domain you didn’t control? Why isn’t your developer doing everything possible right now to get that domain back? Can you get the hosting company to do a temporary redirect for a fee over to your holding site? How are you going to handle the aftermath of building up two different sites for your business? Will you redirect the temporary one back to the main one after you get control of that?”
He left his email address with them along with an offer to talk to their developer free of charge. They didn’t contact him. It’s astonishing to think that these two businesses who clearly have troubles with their online presences were offered free consultation from THE Danny Sullivan and didn’t even bother to get back to him. Meanwhile, their sites are probably still in miserable shape.