Next month I am going to learn all about trail riding in a State Forest down south. I have the helmet, boots and goggles — now all I need is the bike! Like most of the world, when I need something, I take to Google. I put ‘Trail bike hire Sydney’ into the search field. I hit ‘go’ and am happy to see there are loads of options out there for me.
On the second website I see exactly what I’m after. And even better — they have an online booking system! After spending several minutes plugging in all the relevant details, rummaging around for my passport (passport??) ID number and figuring out how far I plan to travel, I hit ‘reserve bike’.
I’m met with the website equivalent of dead air. A bunch of random characters on the screen. No ‘thank you’; no ‘you have successfully reserved this bike’. I find the phone number and give them a ring.
‘Oh, we haven’t updated our website. We no longer have that bike. Or any of the bikes listed, except for a couple of large sports bikes. Sorry about that.’
Mildly frustrated, I check the next website. And the next. I see what I want, call the listed number, and — both times — I am told the same thing. ‘Sorry — our website is out of date.’
What does this say about these businesses? They wasted my time in making promises they couldn’t keep. They brought me down from the buzz of taking the first step in making my adventure happen. They sold me short on my dreams, and looked unprofessional in the process. I had never heard of these businesses before I started my Google search. Now I know all about them — for all the wrong reasons.
Keeping your website up-to-date is a critical part of maintaining a professional online presence. Ignore it at your peril. If you think you don’t have the time as you are too busy working IN your business, hire a professional, like me, to do the work for you. What you outlay in fees you will recoup handsomely in reputation and referrals. Your satisfied customers will recommend you to their friends. And your professional image will remain rock solid.