Illinois Renewable Energy Fair

Illinois Renewable Energy Fair


It was a pleasure of mine to be invited to the Illinois Renewable Energy Fair in Oregon, Illinois this past weekend.  As you would expect, the economy did take a toll on turnout for this years even; however, it was a full of creative ideas and many different business introducing their alternative energy ideas.
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Now, you may ask, “why post this on a professional blog about web design?”.     Allow me to explain.

Most of the sites produced by these startups are doing them no benefit.  The average site we found throughout the fair scored around a 12 on the website grader tool offered by Hubspot.  Needless to say, the sites were offering almost no marketing value to their owners.  We conducted the general B2B scenario of offering our services and lending advice where it could be given, but we consistently ran in to one of three issues that continue to prevail with local companies.   With this post, I’d like to take a moment to point out two of the main site issues that we are finding with small business sites:

Built in an Auto Builder:


Whether it be Godaddy’s Website Tonight, or Cpannels Site Builder, there tend to be some horror stories of automate website builders.  These builders, usually relying on a basic Java system, are usually comprised by nothing more than images and almost no text.   If you are attempting to view one of these sites without scripts, you’re likely to see nothing but an adblock warning. This can be found often with the “Local Hosting Companies” as well.  Don’t get me wrong… Not all of them are crooks, they just usually charge far more over a period of time for a sub-par site than would be paid for a good, one-time build.  When checked, many of them have no Meta Data or Keywords to optimize them for search.  The usual result of this is a site that people only reach when they have either received a business card or have someone direct them to the page.  While it is imperative for the modern business to have a page for regular clients to view, this does little if any to bring new clients.  The concepts of inbound marketing require that a site be accessible to those who would normally never hear of your company other than through net traffic.

To Much Flash:FlashLogo_4

With al of the advances in content management, jQuery, Content Galleries, and SlideShoPro(just to name a few), why do companies continue to abuse themselves with large, long-loading, and usually unrelated flash based websites.  It’s like the “Cornflower Blue” joke from Fight Club… The Flash is played out and doing your site a disservice if it takes longer to load than a persons attention span.  Many at even the highest reaches of the professional world have yet to learn this basic theory.  It has been estimated that for every second of load-time your site waste, you loose another 10% of prospective viewers.  With inbound marketing being the most common reason for a business site, why would a company purposefully turn away prospective customers?

I’m not saying that Flash is evil, and I certainly do not have a battle with Adobe.  Flash has served the web community in various ways for over a decade, but at some point, businesses should realize what a detriment it can be when potential customers are lost to time needed for the site to load(another post coming on flash this weekend)

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Comments (4)

  • Danforth Design

    Website-builder sites also look make you look like an amateur. Why would anyone think you were a legitimate business if you didn’t even have a legitimate website? You’re also locked into a very generic cookie-cutter design. Show off what makes your business unique with a unique design created by a professional!

    Another thing to note about sites using images instead of text is not just that it hurts your site traffic. It’s also not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. How is a blind person supposed to read the information on your site when their screen reader can only read text?

    August 10, 2009 at 10:54 pm
  • Daniel

    So, is it Illegal to not have a site that can be read by someone who can’t see?

    August 25, 2009 at 4:09 am
  • gaseshefs

    Just want to congratulate you guys for the success. Are you going to try for the entire Chicagoland area? If so, will you go for all of the Burbs first, or straight to the city?

    September 4, 2009 at 5:42 pm
  • dcamosr

    So, shouldn’t another fair be coming up soon?

    April 1, 2010 at 9:43 am

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