I visit websites — lots of websites — many of them belonging to ad agencies. I’ve found that browsing an agency’s website can tell me a lot about the company — How big are they? who are their clients? do they specialize in a particular vertical? Many agencies will put their employees on display in ‘bio’ sections (showcasing personality and talent is a home run!) so I can get a sense of who I’m speaking to before I make a call. These details help me foster an image of what the agency is like and help me break the ice during that initial phone call. I love all agency websites that are full of information I need; if it’s there, I’ll wade through whatever interface you throw at me to find it. The problem for you, the ad agency, is I’m not your customer.

It’s not a surprise to anyone that a sexy homepage creates curb appeal for your company. One CurrentTrack® client recently landed a national account because “[they] liked [our] website.” If we all know how critical it is to your business, then my question is: why do some (a lot) of ad agencies, who are trying to help clients promote their goods and services, have confusing (even irritating) websites? I have a couple guesses as to why agency sites go out of control, but that’s not what this article is about.

Here are my top 5 web-peeves (sorry):

1.) Intro – If you give us a flash intro and include [Skip Intro] at the bottom of the page, everyone’s going to skip your introduction. If it’s not important, and can be skipped, should it even be on your site let alone the first thing visitors see?

2.) Flash – It simply doesn’t run well on computers and isn’t built for the mobile web. Apple® sold 15 million iPads over the 2011 Holiday season and I assure you not a single one of those users will be able to visit your site if it’s built in Flash. Avoid this technology.

3.) Music – Midi versions of elevator music are decidedly unhip. I provide my own music when browsing the web, you should suspect that many people do the same and avoid jarring them.

4.) Spelling and Grammar – Maybe working with a grammarian proofreader has turned me into a stickler but really, proofread your site’s content; then proofread it again.

5.) Updates – Old blog posts are sad, irrelevant and leave visitors searching for a pulse. If you’re not going to regularly update content, don’t post a blog or space for updates to go stale.

Incidentally, the Second Wind Network has put together a handy new website guide.

Agree? Disagree? Email me or comment below!

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