Not to be rude, but, there’s a decent chance that your website sucks. Admittedly, it might not. Maybe your company is one of the few that understands that your website should be designed to meet the needs of your customers rather than your management. But then again, maybe not.

Whether you run a professional services business, a retail store, a medical practice, or a software company, whether you are a commercial enterprise or a non-profit, your website is your front door.

I grew up in the northeast Bronx, in a typical urban neighborhood. When my parents or grandparents needed something, they simply walked down “the avenue.”

The avenue was lined with shops

The candy store, pizzeria, butcher, bakery, bagel shop, delicatessen, greengrocer, variety store, beauty parlor, hardware store, shoe repair shop, doctor’s offices, and clothing boutique. Each shop had a front door, and everyone in the neighborhood knew what to expect from each shop.

Whatever kind of business you run today – whether you sell to consumers or other businesses, whether you offer goods or services – your website is the equivalent of the neighborhood shop’s front door. Your site design, how friendly or formal it is, how easy it is to navigate, the words and images you use…all of these elements create a package that tells customers and potential customers volumes about who and what you are. You can’t afford to get this wrong.

Websites have democratized commerce. Nearly every business has one. The barriers to entry are low. But not every website uses its website effectively. Does yours?

If you answer “no” to more than one or two of these questions, it’s time to give your website some TLC:

  • Is your website less than five years old?

  • Is your website responsive? (Translation: Does it render appropriately on a mobile device?)

  • Is your homepage free of clutter: many different fonts, colors, and images?

  • Is there plenty of white space on each page?

  • Are the images crisp, contemporary, and reflective of you and your customers?

  • Have you recently gone through the site to check that all of the links work and that there are no typos or misspellings?

  • Is every page is populated with relevant content?

  • Do you have a separate landing page for inbound leads?

  • Do you have a form to collect email addresses of leads?

  • If you collect inbound leads, do you follow up with them immediately?

  • Do you update the content on your site at least monthly?

  • Do you have an active blog?

  • Does your site provide links to your social media pages?

How’d you do? Did you answer “yes” to most of the questions? Great! Your website probably doesn’t suck.

But if you had more negative than affirmative responses, use the checklist as your guide to update or even re-create your presence on the web.

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