Does your website work?

Everyone, every business and every place needs a website.

Whatever your digital marketing strategy, a website is the foundation for it. It’s the destination your messaging drives the public to and the place for web tire kickers to check you out.

It’s unfortunate that the majority of website owners are so bad at their messaging and content management. An extraordinary number companies, events and destinations throw a site on the web and think they’re done. At least that’s how they act.

According to there are 1.8 billion websites in existence. That’s one site for every four people on earth. And new sites are added, on average, of one every two seconds. That’s almost the birth rate.

Of all the websites in the world, only 172 million are considered active. Meaning they have regular updates and additions to content. This is down from 177 million active sites in 2015. So less than 10 percent of websites are active and have fresh content. And even then, less than one million sites account for 50 percent of all web traffic.

Interestingly,  among the top websites are The New York Times(29thplace), BBC (42nd), The Guardian(48th), CNN (50th), Huffington Post(51st), Forbes(65th), Washington Post(89th), The Telegraph(87th), Daily Mail(94th) and Reuters (95th). The leaders in on-line information and visitors are legacy media. These people have shown their ability to drive eyes to their information pool. Not only have they a large pool of information, what they post is accurate. Can that be said for your website?

Accuracy is not a universal trait in websites. The bulk of websites get no traffic beyond their owner clicking in, and even then, a lot of web owners don’t seem to check the value or accuracy of their content. For example, three years ago research lead me to the website for a large (470+ room), well-known ski resort. Among room amenities it lists in-room bathrooms! Is this a joke by the webmaster which was never caught or content provided by wildly inexperienced staff? However it made it to the website, in-room bathrooms is still listed as a guestroom amenity! How has no one in management caught this? Obviously, the property doesn’t/hasn’t read their site. So as a potential guest or corporate client, would anyone trust the information on the rest of the site?

Another issue for hotels and resorts is the inability to book accommodation. Again, a well-known U.S. ski resort’s website has the ability to book ski passes, but not a room. That property is building their competitors’ businesses.

These examples should lead website owners to a simple question: Is your site working for or against you? Is it accurate, does it tell your story and is it useful to existing and potential clients?

How many website owners have conducted an independent audit of their sites as part of a plan to maximize their investment in digital marketing? Destination Doctor performs such audits for independent hotels, chain properties and destination marketing organizations.

By allanlynch