Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dude, Your Site Is Boring No Links For You

At last week's SMB Unleashed Conference in Houston someone asked what was the hardest part of my job as a link builder. Was it the:

Massive amount of time involved in competitive research? Or -

The massive amount of time involved in negotiating space? Or -

Developing new and creative content that continually attracts links?

Nope, no and no again.

IMO, the hardest part of my job is telling someone you won't be able to secure the authority links they so desperately want because their site is a boring, forgetable mess. That doesn't mean I would muster up low quality links either, I just wouldn't work for them period unless they were willing to make some changes.

No matter how I spin it, when I tell someone " your site is boring and lacks credibility as a result. No one will link to it unless you make some changes..." that doesn't go over well with most people. It's easier when you have something tangible to point to like poor design, poor usability, outdated content, broken links, over-use of Adsense and no About Us page. But you're not always that lucky and it's never that easy, sometimes it's just a case of dull and boring.

It's easier to define credibility than "dull" since "dull" is somewhat subjective. Boring content is unemotional, unattached and one dimensional, so it stands to reason you're not going to find motivated people creating captivating pages that elicit credibility. Take dull and now add lack of trust and you have one dud site to try and secure links for.

To me, David Hasselhof is boring.

Vin Diesel is not.

Hamburger is boring. Kobe beef is not.

Birkenstocks are boring (and ugly). Jimmy Choo's are not.

Canned sales verbiage is boring and lacks credibility. Product reviews and testimonials are not.

You can say "boring" is a matter of taste much like beauty is in the eye of the beholder but really... when it comes to selling yourself and establishing credibility online, would you attract more confidence and links by:

  • Hosting information on David Hasselhof eating burgers in Birkenstocks Or --
  • Vin Diesel noshing on Kobe beef with a date in Jimmy Choos?
I'm betting the latter - unless of course you're Amish or somehow challenged.

OK so the example is a little extreme, but you get the point. Your link building and content generation campaigns shouldn't be where you scrimp on costs or creative energy, they're key to your overall online marketing success.

You can't afford to have a dull site or one lacking credibility if you want to attract links, build brand and drive targeted traffic. If you don't have content to use as a hook or the site lacks certain credibility elements then you need to spend the money and have them created otherwise, no one will link to you.

Old and stale beget no links and sales . Don’t skimp on paying for content.


RedEvo said...

This is music to my ears. When will people get it? I've lost count of the seo reviews I've been asked to carry out on content poor sites.



Diane Aull said...

People often seem to think of their websites as their "children." Telling someone their website is boring is sorta like telling someone their child is ugly. It's tricky to pull off without causing hard feelings (or sending the "parent" into denial).

Rachel Phillips said...

MMMMMM. Vin Diesel. For that matter, mmmmm Jimmy Choos. :) lol. Great analogies Debra. I love your spunk and your wit.

Debra Mastaler said...

@redevo...Surprisingly, there's still a contingent of people out there that believe you can throw up a site and the people will automatically come with no promotion. They're usually the ones that try and nickle and dime you on services when they do ask for help!

@DianeAull - I agree and all babies are beautiful but there are some really butt ugly websites out there!

@Rachel Phillips - you always say the nicest things. :)

incrediblehelp said...

very good point. That is why I dont even consider building links until on-site stuff is fixed first.

Danny Ashton said...

I disagree, "Hosting information on David Hasselhof eating burgers in Birkenstocks" sounds like on helluva good link bait title hehe.

Debra Mastaler said...

@incrediblehelp - I feel your pain.

@Danny Ashton While David Hasselhof, PeeWee Herman and Bob Saget all give me the willies, it's the Birkenstocks I really object to. I. Will. Not. Wear. Ugly. Shoes.

Debra Mastaler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd Mintz said...

There is a great reluctance to tell somebody their site sucks; however, in the long run, you will be doing them a disservice if you don't.

Tim said...

You mean a picture of a company's building, a really fluffy mission statement and an awesome flash splash page aren't interesting enough to link to?

I thought that was the 1-2-3 combo to internet success.

Duh Only said...

Great idea for a post! I encounter this all the time from clients. I like what Aaron Wall had to say (which is how I found this post): "I ask "If you did not own this website why would you tell other people about and/or want to visit it at least once a week?" I'm going to be using that answer this very afternoon.