Contact Forms R Us: Broken Forms & Content No-No’s

I was referred to a business the other day, so I popped on over to its website. The home page was professional looking with clear navigation. It had three boxes for three separate audiences, along with hyperlinked bullet points in each box. So far so good. I appreciate sites that effectively “talk” to multiple audiences and direct said audiences accordingly.

But then everything went to hell.

Those clickable bullet points? Yes, you could click on them, but they brought you to EMPTY pages that simply said {Content}. Ugh. It wasn’t one or two pages. It was ALL of them. At first, I thought it might be a glitch–perhaps the whole site was having an issue–but the home page was fine, and the two bio pages for the two principals were fine as well.

And then I went to the Contact page.

There was a form. And this line was above the form:

“This contact form is not yet active. Please call 555-555-5555 to contact Great-Biz-With-Crappy-Website at this time.” (And no, there was no email address anywhere on the site.)

Listen, if your contact form doesn’t work, then do this: Take. It. Down. Consider how much business you’re losing. Think of the people who don’t even see your disclaimer line and they go ahead and fill out the form, hit submit, get an error message, and don’t come back. How many people are going to think, “If these guys can’t make their forms work or put content on their pages, how the heck are they going to do the job I hire them to do?” (Not to mention what the search engines are going to “think.”)

And why on George Clooney’s good green earth would you prominently display links on your home page that lead to nowhere? Why? Why in 2009 am I looking at a site like this? Why, why, why, why?

I understand that writing effective, compelling content ain’t easy (trust me, I really do feel your pain). Have a smaller site. Don’t mention every single one of your services. Focus on three to four core services, and on each one of those pages you can list some of the other related services (without links), for now. You can write 3-4 pages, right? Or hire someone to do it? Kick your web person in the butt and get him or her to fix the darn form or remove it completely. Include your email address.

Your website is your marketplace. It’s your virtual mortar and bricks. If you went to a store, and all its shelves were empty and no one was manning the register and you kept hitting the little bell thingy to get someone’s attention, but it didn’t work, what would you do?

Right. You’d walk out.

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