Creating a Website that Does Almost Nothing.

business successs secrets

I’ve worked with hundreds of business owners in creating websites for their business – and often discover during the process that there’s a lot of “magical” thinking out there when it comes to web site development.

Many business owners just assume that by simply creating a website, they’re going to automatically experience floods of traffic from qualified prospective clients/customers.

They expect the website to collect and process leads while acting as a 24/7/365 sales force that never sleeps.

Of course all of the above is possible – but only if you build the website with accomplishing those goals in mind.

In Steps to Starting a Small Business, I advise small business owners to:

Remember, when you’re starting your own small business everything is going to take longer and cost more than you planned.

Chances are, you aren’t a MASTER at all of the jobs you’re going to need performed in your small business, so you should probably plan on farming out at least SOME of the work.

One of the jobs I recommended you farm out is the development of your website because there truth is, unless you’re an experienced web developer, the first website you create is going to be a piece of shit.

(Sometimes even experienced web developers need a little help at seeing “the forest for the trees” which means, it’s possible for an experienced web developer to create a piece of shit for themselves – even though they “know” better!)

Whether it’s your first website or your first blog, you wil no doubt be FILLED with pride when you complete it.    If there were such a thing, surely your website would win the “good for a beginner”  award.

The problem is, no one is “grading” this project.  This is your BUSINESS we’re talking about!  If your business is small, then you REALLY want to do everything you can to make your business look – professional, established and trust worthy!

If money is tight, the last thing you want to scrimp on is your web presence!

Here’s one of the first websites I ever created – talk about long ago and far away: WADERS.  I created these web pages by hand using Notepad.  I thought WYSIWYG HTML editors were for the weak and addle minded!  (Turns out they were MAGIC for those who charged by the hour!)  The site was created when you accessed the internet via dial up and a 28.8 baud modem was FAST!

When you come to those pages “organically” there isn’t anyone explaining my beginning programming status.  There’s no commentary saying, “These were created without an WYSIWFG HTML editors.”  “Look ladies and gentlemen, she’s an economics major performing low level (HTML) programming!  Let’s hear it for her!”

Thank goodness the websites I later created for pay were better than those I created in my humble beginnings!

If you’ve read more than 2 blog posts on this blog, you’ll know that I’m all about “integrity”, “authenticity” and most of all “trust“. I believe that trust is the foundation of any successful business.  I am CONVINCED that “branding” and “TQM” are attempts at QUANTIFYING the trust a company has established with its customers.

The Exclusive Concepts website features a blog post headline:  Bad Advice in the Wall Street Journal: Creating a Website for Almost Nothing. Scott writes:

Instead, the title should have been, “Creating a Website that Does Almost Nothing.”

The Wall Street Journal is offering bad advice to millions of small business readers by recommending an “on the cheap,” “don’t bother to think it through” approach to the 64% of small businesses (businesses under 100 employees) that don’t yet have a website.

I find it ironic that while the WSJ continues to tout the fact that the web is changing the world, the author, Vauhini Vara, would have you think that your company can capitalize on this by launching a cheap website that is nothing more than a hope and a prayer.

After reading the article it is clear to me that “objective” experts informed very little of the information provided. In fact, the first thing I did when I finished the article was to see if it was labeled as an advertising supplement.

Scott goes on to THOROUGHLY dissect and dismantle the article.    He’s brilliant, he’s articulate and he’s right on the money.

Because I recognize the TRUTH in what he says, he’s already gone a LONG way towards building trust with me.  Not because he’s referenced in an article oniMedia Connection – because he’s writing and sharing his expertise.  I recognize the truth in his analysis and truth leads to trust.

Building Trust is What Blogs Do Best!

Scott was inspired to share truth (one of the signs of a good SEO practictioner, according to Ron Belanger’s article) instead of hiding behind a veil of secrecy.   In doing so, he’s instantly gained my trust – while alerting me to a reason why the WSJ doesn’t deserve mine anymore.

There are SO MANY small businesses with websites that do almost nothing.  When they start looking for answers – they find websites that shouldn’t get an ounce of trust.  These peoploe don’t know what they don’t know, so it’s buyer beware time.  They’ll spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on empty promises.   If they survive long enough, they might find the answers they need.

It’s one thing when a no name nobody slaps up a one page sales page and buys adspace to promote this garbage.  However, when the Wall Street Journal presents it as “news” – well – this comes at a time when I thought my opinion of the press couldn’t get any lower!



  1. Hi Kathy – The WSJ does have its strengths – political commentary and corporate reportage. It’s curious that they would even venture into the small-business realm. This example smacks of a half-baked filler approach more than anything. EXCEPT! Someone at the WSJ might be paying attention to the economic vulnerabilities of formerly stalwart corporations, now undergoing layoffs, stock devaluations, and a host of other calamities related to the economic tsunami. They may have realized that these outfits are hemorrhaging talent – some folks even leaving by choice! And they may have seen a statistic that indicated however many of the nation’s new jobs are provided by small business. Like any late party guest, they’ve got half the story.

    Most start-ups find themselves in the sucker line at one point or another. There are so many opportunities out there for someone to divest you of the little money you have when you’re new, and even with sound experience you can be taken. This post specifically reminds us it doesn’t have to be that way, and to choose our guides carefully with the long haul relationship in mind.

    On the other hand, is it so wrong to want your competitors to implement this WSJ advice immediately? 🙂

    Betsys last blog post..WISDOM

  2. Betsy,

    Of course it’s natural to want each and everyone of your competitors to fall for that hook line and sinker! But where would the fun be in that? 😉

  3. LOL I remember my first web site, built in 1996! I thought it was beautiful; now I cringe at the thought of it. Beginner web sites are usually horrendous.

    It’s too bad the Wall Street Journal didn’t take a more responsible attitude and encourage professionalism – would they encourage businesses to climb on a ladder and paint their own billboards? Way too many people think it’s easy to build a web site, optimize it and market it on the Internet without professional help.

    SEO Divas last blog post..Free Stuff is Good for Business

  4. LMAO at your Waders site Kathy. Your design skills have improved alot since then. I’ve definitely created worse though.

    I was just writing a post similar to yours, only attacking local designers, not the Wall Street Journal. We have web designers where I live who even make me look good. They bang up sucky sites that do nothing, telling their customers they need a web presence.

    Like you, I get so pissed off with them. They’re charging folk a fortune for some crappy site that does their business no good and just fills the Internet with junk. And really – anyone not using a blog platform for their website nowadays is totally crazy.

    Cath Lawsons last blog post..Barrack Obama – A Leader In Twitter Use

  5. @SEO Diva
    LOVE the “would they encourage businesses to climb on a ladder and paint their own billboards”

    That’s it – my next post.

    Our minds seem to run on a similar track. What is it they say about great minds? 😉

  6. Hi Kathy. I agree that you “shouldn’t” scrimp on starting a business. I came out of the starting gate earlier this year all starry-eyed as I launched a nutrition consulting business. I spent a whopping $1,500 for a logo design and business card. Coming from an advertising background I understood the importance of this. I hired a lawyer to review my marketing materials, and so on. Sometimes it’s not enough. I wish I’d known then what I know now as I start business #2 though, cause now I am counting pennies. But, I don’t think my website is half bad, considering…

    Davinas last blog post..Akemi Gaines On Intuition, Dreams And Spiritual Guidance–Interview Part 1

  7. When you’re starting a business, everything costs more than you think it will and takes twice as long!

    But remember – if it were easy, anyone could do it! 😉

  8. Karen Salter says:

    One of my main issues/problems when I first started to sell online after opening up my own business was ranking. I just couldn’t get into the search engines, and when I did my company wasn’t anywhere that would really benefit me. So after a few months I did some research and found a company called Spear who specialised in this magical element of SEO. Didn’t have a clue what it was but I knew it was something that I really needed to get my website ranked. Fair enough it did take a few months but now I realise the importance of having your website optimised because the sales started to pour in after everything had settled down. PPC is also something I don’t know a great deal about that I would like to look into.


  1. […] – if you’re looking for a business that doesn’t know enough about the internet to create a website that can be found by the search […]

  2. […] problem is that most small business owners have websites that do NOT come up when people are searching for answers to their GDP – Goals, Desires and […]

  3. […] The REAL reason you should be blogging (instead of having a website that does almost nothing)…. […]