No one wants to think that their website sucks.
And no one wants to admit that it might, even when it does.
But what does that even mean?
At its core, a website has to do something for you, otherwise what is the point of having one? Just what it “does” for you is, of course, up to you to decide.
Are you selling a product or ebook? Are you building a portfolio of content to impress Editors, Publishers, and Literary Agents? Are you building your personal ‘brand’ by establishing yourself as an expert?
Whatever your desired outcome, you need traffic (site visitors) to achieve it. You need them to come to your site, and stay there long enough to help you achieve your goals.
So if you’re not getting enough visitors, and/or the ones that do come to your site don’t stick around, then your website might just suck.
What to do?
Sure you could hire someone to re-design your site, but before you run off and spend money, don’t you want to know exactly WHAT it is about your site that sucks, and how to fix it?
To find the answers you need, grab a copy of a new eBook called “Why Your Website Sucks“, by Kelly Erickson and Andy Hayes. Although it’s written primarily for those who sell a product (such as travel websites), there is a lot of great information that can apply to any website in any genre.
By breaking down some of the very basic concepts of good (e.g. “non-sucky”) website design, Andy and Kelly make it easy to understand where you may have gone wrong, and how to get back on track. Unless you have an extensive – and successful – background in online marketing, you not be familiar with the fundamentals of outlining your goals, writing good copy, structuring a clear navigation, paying attention to usability issues, and including a clear call-to-action (even if that’s just to sign up for your subscriber list). “Why Your Website Sucks” teaches those concepts and provides action items at the end of each chapter, as well as a worksheet to help you identify your goals and take the steps needed to achieve them.
What I like most about this eBook – and all of the TOP Mastery Guides – is that you won’t find a lot of confusing jargon or technical terms……it’s written so that anyone can understand it and come away with some tips and techniques to improve their website, even if they’re not selling a product, and if you are selling a product, you should see increased sales.
So if you have a sneaking suspicion that your website could be doing better, on any level, you should take a look at “Why Your Website Sucks“, and while you’re at it, have a look at some of the other TOP Mastery Guides, such as “Understanding Google Analytics” (an excellent guide to understanding what is happening with your website), or “DIY SEO” (great for learning how to attract more site visitors via search engines).
Then you won’t have to lay awake at night wondering if your website sucks – you’ll know that it doesn’t!
Do you think your website could be doing better? Share your thoughts!
I don’t think my website sucks but I do think this ebook brings up some good points. Usability and navigation are very important as well as a clear goal. I think the clear goal is really important. I built a website within a few days and it is 3X as successful as a website I’ve built over the course of years. Why, I think because it had a clear cut agenda where as my other website well…even I wasn’t sure the direction it should take. I’m dedicated to making it work though and using tips like these from this book are helping it to get back on track, I hope.
.-= Michael´s last blog post: Submit a Link to our Free Travel Links Directory =-.
Excellent point, Michael! You’ll definitely glean some good tips from this ebook, but if/when you do a site re-design on your older site, there are two ways to go….1) Baby Steps – making small changes over time so that regular site visitors don’t bounce away thinking they’re at the wrong site, OR 2) Major overhaul – make all your changes at once, but send out an announcement to your subscriber list, and have a prominent, new “Welcome” message on your landing (home?) page so that regular visitors understand what’s going on. New visitors will, of course, never know the difference but can often be impressed that you’ve put so much effort into your site.
Thanks for the review, Trisha. I had been looking at the SEO guide they do, but didn’t realise there was a new guide coming out.
I think I need this guide, as I am setting up new websites at the moment and I like to do it right. I am also thinking about changing my existing website, so reading about this guide is great timing! :)
.-= Maria Staal´s last blog post: My Mind Is Reeling With The Possibilities… =-.
Thanks Maria! Both the SEO guide and this new one are excellent resources, and honestly so are TOP’s “Write Right Online” (about making your content work to bring in more search-engine traffic while not sounding stilted or like you’re writing just for Google) and their “Understanding Google Analytics” (about how you can improve your website’s performance by understanding the statistics that the free Google Analytics product provides) – I found them all to be very useful.
Don’t forget that you can post questions in our Forum as you’re building your new site – I’m very excited for you!
Michael, it’s funny how once you get some time behind the wheel, you find a lot of ways to do your site better, isn’t it?
Maria, let me know if you’ve got questions, I’d be happy to answer them. :)
.-= Andy Hayes | Travel ´s last blog post: Why You Website Will Never Meet Everyone’s Expectations =-.
Hey Andy, I’ve ordered both the ‘your website sucks’ ebook as well as the SEO ebook. Will let you know if I have any questions. :)
I love this book and I love the Title even more! I found many pointers to be useful when reading Why Your Website Sucks. It made me think about who exactly my target audience is and what we are trying to achieve. I have found all the books from Andy and his partners to be very useful.
.-= Dave and Deb´s last blog post: Toronto Photography Tour at Kensington Market =-.
Great name for a book! I want to learn more about web design so I can “tweak” my websites. Some web designers don’t understand graphics. My graphic design background will come in handy.
.-= Rebecca´s last blog post: Freelance Writers Improve Their Freelance Writing with Affirmations =-.
Hi Rebecca! You have a good understanding of website usability, so I think you’ll get a lot out of this book – and be able to implement most, if not all, of Andy’s suggestions. Let me know how it turns out!
Sounds like an interesting read I am very tempted to buy it and give me some inspiration and strearage on how I can make my own travel website better.
.-= ross´s last blog post: Holiday & Flights To Majorca =-.
I found many pointers to be useful when reading Why Your Website Sucks. It made me think about who exactly my target audience is and what we are trying to achieve.
I must say, even if your web sight doesn’t suck, you will benefit from reading this book.I though I understood my target audience and how to reach them, it’s amazing what a little insight will do. Thanks for the good post!
I do want to know if my site sucks and I take any critics as I want to do things better!
I think the first points are the problem with a lot of sites today. They are up but they have no purpose. Without a purpose it just becomes useless.
I haven’t actually had time to check out the book (Why your website suck) but I’ll definitely do so! I often fear of bad reviews and having not so good content, but I guess we should just take it as a learning process to make us better at what we do, right? Thanks for the tip though!
It’s always hard to be self critical and unbiased, but like most things, the more you work at it, the better you get. I believe it holds true with websites, and certainly with writing the content.