Do you judge a company by its website (or lack thereof)?

So here I am trying to find a day spa in the city where my mother lives, to order a pedicure gift certificate for her for Christmas (I know, I know, I’m way behind).

And I’m looking online at the day spa listings for her town. Out of 21 listings, SEVEN actually have websites listed (but two of those are for the local beauty college, and I’m looking for more of a luxurious experience, so let’s just say FIVE actually have websites listed), THREE have websites that actually function, and NONE have websites that aren’t (IMO) ugly and ultra-cheesy.

(Earth tones and elegant fonts, people! And for pete’s sake, can the dancing icons! You’re advertising a SPA! :smack: :wink: )

So I’m going the next town over.

Call me a snob, but I simply can’t trust a spa with a day-glo website.

Are you the same way?

In the sense that I would expect the website to be on par with how nice of a place it was, yes. If I was looking for something elegant, I would agree that a place advertising with a neon website is probably not the place to go.

I do.
There are several sites recently where I went to find the local store to match their mail flyer ad pages.

But they had only a single Welcome page and nothing else. Or sometimes a business news page about their stock.

But no store info. And no store info on the ad itself. They sold me with the ad, then lost me with searching for the store. Yeah, there are on-line yellow pages I could have gone to, but I lost interest at their site. So they lost a customer because of a bad web site.


A couple of years ago I wanted a wooden box of a certain style and size, so I looked online at a bunch of places that sold wooden boxes: if the website was too amateurish, I didn’t get past the front page. The place I wound up ordering from didn’t have a sophisticated, polished site by any means, but it was easy to navigate and it clearly presented all of the information I needed (and it looked like it was designed by a grownup).

I don’t judge the company per se, but a company with a website is more likely to get my business. I don’t like to run all over town to find something so a website with good info and pricing will get my attention the fastest.

A pizza place temporarily lost me as a customer when they decided to kill their website.

The site came up 404, so I assumed the business itself was gone. Wasn’t until a few months later that I was in their area and saw that they were still open.

Fry’s always made me wonder what was going on - For years, the Bay Area’s premier retailer of anything ranging from resistors and wire on up to servers and home theatre systems did not have a website at all. They have one now - apparently they were waiting for to become available. Of course, they’re still wonky - resistors are listed under Integrated Circuits, and office equipment cleaners are lost in the world of Electronic Components. Come to think of it, that pretty well describes their stores.

If it’s a small business, I try not to. I know from personal experience that a lot of small businesses just don’t have the budget for a professionally-done website, so if they want anything at all, the job falls to somebody’s 15-year-old nephew who kinda knows about computer-type stuff.

That’s no to say that a simple and cheap website can’t also be tasteful. If the website is in obviously bad taste, like neon blinking fonts and dancing hamsters or whatever, that’s more of a danger sign.

I have found that big corporate websites often look slick and polished but are very hard to get useful information out of. So I don’t judge a company by its website … clearly, no one out there knows what they’re doing.

Case in point, Zaxby’s, which has a long and pointless Flash opener that did nothing for me or the company. Plus my power and phone companies’ websites. All suck, alla time. Geesh. In fact, it’s HELL to find a contact phone number on my phone company’s web site. What the hell is up with that?

I expect a good bussiness to at least have an email for corespondence and a telephone number online. I helps to put a brief page up listing services. I’m happy when stuff is priced online and ads are online also, but it’s a lot of work and I don’t get mad that they don’t

I do, and I don’t really spare smaller companies from the judgement. In fact, I think it’s more important for a small company to have a web presence. It’s probably easier for them, too.

I expect places that do have a website to demonstrate good use of their web presence. If you overwhelm me with early '90s web design aesthetics, or if your “website” is just a welcome page and some bad photos, then you’re far less likely to get my business. Generally, my thought is if a business is going to half-ass their advertising, they’ll probably half-ass their service and products too.

Mostly, I look for good design and thoughtful implementation, and not exhaustive content. Like, for online ordering, I care more that the ordering system is implemented well than I care that they have online ordering at all. Pretty much the only things I consider required are contact information (email address and phone number) and business address.

If you have an “I-Have-A-Website Website” –ie: one page with an email link that never gets answered, or a big splashy homepage where every link has been flashing Under Construction since 1999 – you really are better off just having email on a business card.

What if that’s not bad design? What if that’s exactly the way they want it???

No website is better than a shitty website. At this point, even places without a website will be searchable, thanks to and the like.

I think any large and well-known company that sells things to the general public, or at least to a large and varied trade clientele, is doing a great disservice when they don’t have a website. People tend to look for it anyway, using “”, and then get bombarded with malware, popups, spam, etc.

Yes, but websites that don’t work or are uninformative are aggravating. I think the spa theme is common- a lot of spa websites I’ve tried to search for come out strangely. You’d think this would be a big way to generate business for them. But- worst of all, I hate unprofessional websites. It can be tacky or cheesy and while I may raise an eyebrow, it’s always better than flagrant misspellings or Cum 2 r stor!! We r kewl!! Makes me squinch my shoulders up and feel like my skin is crawling…

I do.

If you are a business that takes orders from more than one country, do not restrict your website’s forms to your own local format for things like postal codes and phone numbers.

Hint for Americans: no-one else calls it a ZIP code. And some of us use letters in it.

Hint for Europeans: we do, too, need the province or state name in our addresses. Make it optional but let us include it. I don’t want my shipment going to Toronto, Ohio, instead of Toronto, Ontario.

And people, people! It’s not called the World Wide Web for nothing! Use proper international format for your phone numbers, with country code preceded by a plus sign, and all the optional parts and brackets left out. Country code 506 is Costa Rica! If you mean US area code 506, for Pete’s sake put the one in front!

Come to think of it, these are good rules even if you are only doing business locally. People from abroad may still want information, and they may be about to ask a relative in your country to place a nice fat order. But if they can’t get info, they’ll pass you by.

This also goes for catalogue sites that require the viewer to enter some sort of postal code or address information before they will let you see any kind of product listing.

Yes, I know why you do it: you have different product availability and pricing in different markets. But, again, if my friend from New Zealand wants to get me something, and will be here next week to buy it, what’s the harm in showing what’s available? Just put the damn listings up and tell us where things are available. Rogers and Canadian Tire, I’m looking at you!

I do, up to a point. Basic utility is much more important than appearance. For instance, I was going to a local go-kart place, so I looked up their website. It’s not really pretty or anything, but it has their hours, their full price list, and directions. And it’s easy to get to that stuff. Pretty good in my opinion.

The real problem is places that feel the need to have a fancy website, but don’t want to really do things in public. Like almost any jeweler. They should keep it really simple, but instead they fill their sites with manufacturers junk and zero pricing.

The company sucks either way then. And I figure it IS exactly the way they want it, in the case of most big corps. Cheaper to do the stuff via Web.

Um, yeah. It’s like FILLER FILLER FILLER FILLER [size=1]pleasephoneifyouwanttodoREALbusiness FILLER FILLER FILLER. You also get that occasionally in industries (such a collectibles) where the seller wants to be able to wheel and deal without a paper (or email) trail. If I email someone about business matters and they say, “phone me”, I’m automatically somewhat suspicious, just on general principle.

I do, very much. I sell Web sites to businesses (well I design them…). I know how much they cost, what can and should be done, and what was done poorly/settled on.

I feel that a good Web site is important for customer relations. If you have a Web site that sucks, then you don’t care as much about your customers as you could. The number one thing we ask our customers when they are embarking on creating a site with us is “what do you want this site to do for your customers?”

Oh, and if a company’s email address is something like “” or “” I don’t even bother with them. Seems shady and unprofessional.