Yeah, yeah, yeah, we hear you. And we hear this all the time. This is both good for us and bad for us. It's good for us sometimes because the client's not talking about us. It's obviously bad for us when they are talking about us! But we can take it. Sometimes it is actually our fault … sometimes.
Is this how you feel? I bet it is. Unfortunately, most people do feel this way. They look at their website more than anyone else does. They usually overanalyze it more than a prospect or customer would. Plus their expectations about the website and the benefit it will provide to them is the most unrealistic.
This inevitably leads to second-guessing why you hired these weird website people in the first place. At this point, I advise you to look at yourself. What were the instructions given to the website designer? Did you instruct them like you would a construction contractor or a furniture mover or even a physician when you describe your ailment? Or did you tell them exactly what your site had to have and exactly how it had to look? Or even worse, did you just tell them to design it to look better than competitor XYZ?
With a physician, you may tell her that your knee hurts, what you did to hurt the knee and why you need your knee to function properly in the future. The physician may then prescribe some medicine, some rest and some ongoing treatment to build your strength back in that knee. Your primary objective is to get your knee back to full strength so it can produce what you need it to — maybe it's as simple as pain-free walking, or it could be jogging or getting up and down stairs. The immediate, short-term goal is less pain, but once you get through that, you'll probably focus on the long-term goal of getting back to normal strength. Also, you most likely trust this knee doctor because she's an expert in knees, let's assume.
Try to think this way about your website: you have some immediate pains and it's properly surface-level stuff — the content hasn't been updated in a while, the pictures are old, you hate some of the colors. That's all fine and good. But once you get past that, it's time to think about how the site should perform and what it should accomplish.
In the case of websites, it is not true that if you build it they will come. You have to build it, that's a given. It's not even an option to not have a website these days (although only 64% of small businesses actually have a website, which is crazy to me!). But you have to do more than just build it. In many cases, you didn't hire your web designers to drive traffic to your site. You hired them to design and build you a beautiful website, right? You were also probably pretty opinionated during the design process, weren't you? Don't be embarrassed, we know you were, everyone usually is.
The question you have to ask yourself is "what do I want this website to do?" The answer is not to make you feel good, or make you proud, or please your spouse or kids or nieces. For most people, the answer has to be something around helping you spread your message to your audiences, educating future customers on what you provide and helping you sell (or service) your products and services.
That last point is the most important. Your website should look and obviously function to your liking. But the most important thing is that it needs to accomplish the goal of helping you grow your business. If it doesn't do that, then changes need to be made. You need to work with trained professionals on a website that actually produces the desired results, not your desired feelings.
If you hired your website designer to just design something pretty, and now you're upset that it doesn't produce, the fault is on you. If you hired experienced online marketing professionals and you both hate your website and it's not producing the results that you paid for, then the fault is theirs (usually).
It doesn't stop there though. You need to be working on your website all the time. Don't think of it as a static online brochure. Your website needs to be fluid. You need to constantly update it. Use the site to answer the questions that your customers have and address the obstacles you hear during the sales process.
Look is important, to a certain degree. However, function is much more important.
We do a pretty good job designing and building websites for small- and medium-sized business. We do a better job of driving traffic to these sites that convert into marketing qualified leads, and that's how you should be judging your website designers … err, online marketing partner.