How many times have to searched for a local business' website, only to find a half-completed site and a lot of "under repair" signs? Some businesses plan out pages that never manage to get finished, or a redesign is only half completed, or a few links break somewhere and several pages of the website become inaccessible.
It's a common problem, especially for very small locally-based businesses. And, unfortunately, these broken or unfinished pages create some big complications. For starters, your site won't look as professional as it could, and that affects how people are going to see your business. Consumers expect that your business will have a website, and that the website will be in working order. If the site is only half-completed or has broken pages, many customers will assume that the same lack of care will be given to other business matters, such as customer service or in creating a reliable product. It's a matter of trust, and half completed sites don't that.
A broken or incomplete website also creates problems with search engines. If search engines can't find the pages that should be there, they won't rank the website as high as they could. Also, leaving pages blank doesn't take advantage of the opportunity to post keyword-rich content. Broken websites also usually have navigational challenges. If pages are missing or incomplete, it's hard to get to where you want to go. This is frustrating, especially when you're looking for something specific.
It's also harder to convert traffic to sales if your website is incomplete. Part of this comes back to the trust issue, but part of it is also a matter of not being able to see what is available or learn about a company before ordering. It's frustrating to go to a product page only to see that the page is still in the process of being built. Just because local customers can stop into your physical store or contact you to learn more about what you offer doesn't mean that they don't want to look at your products online first. They'll go check for a similar business that does have a full product page, especially if they're just browsing. Unfortunately, the better site is likely to get the sale when that customer is ready to buy.
If you have a small business, you need a complete and functioning website. This is especially true for business with an actual physical location; you rely on local business, and the best way to bring in that business is to have a stellar web presence. You can't have a broken or incomplete site if you want to make the most of your online business efforts.
What frustrates you the most about locally-based business websites?