For more than 8 years I'm already a web developer and working in my self-employment, there come more or less known sites, technologies, CMS and stacks to eyes where you think to yourself "Hey, that's WordPress!" or "OMG, that's Joomla/Typo3 :O", some websites you can see that directly, with others I only need to read briefly in the header of the page source and know what this page is built with, what I'm dealing with, what theme is behind it, what plugins are used and who adheres to the DSGVO/GDPR or not, yes, I have so found some websites already, where the Google Analytics anonymous_ip was not set 😉 . But no one pays me to report other sites, nor would I get money to take care of the errors of another site.
Recently I clicked on a job posting on Facebook of a company page and got a Typo3 page crash right away. I was able to diagnose the problem within 5 minutes, and it was due to Facebook's fbclid URL parameter attached to the link. Since I know the company and had contact with the IT department a few years ago, I simply wrote them via Facebook Messenger, where the problem is, a link to a page where you can learn how to solve the problem and friendly greetings to the colleague who had trained me there in Joomla at that time. Although the message was read, I did not get an answer or even a thank you. Probably I can still be thankful that they did not report me because I discovered a system bug on the website. I just checked, the crash doesn't exist anymore, but the URL still doesn't work and redirects to an overview page. Well, at least they read my message and dealt with the problem.
And now we come to the real topic, Vertical Farming companies and their necessary rework on the web. As part of my new service, the Vertical Farming Directory I'm looking for companies in the vertical farming industry in different areas and I've noticed some things where I think, does this have to be? Do you have to gamble away your potential and findability in this way?
Business entries without functioning website
A classic, on LinkedIn I hand search company pages and have found multiple times companies whose website button linking does not work, the website is different from the page description, or the page no longer exists.
This is particularly annoying, because you come across dead companies that you can't have removed from LinkedIn. Such dead bodies then occupy company names, which perhaps someone else would like to use and then? Then there are page names that have nothing to do with the actual company name and thus unnecessarily complicate the findability on Linkedin. Why? If a company no longer exists, it must be easy to report it, so that this dead end can also be closed in the future.
Social media without website
That's something like the personal horror for me, when a company is only active on social media, acts hip and wants to reach a lot of people, but doesn't reach the actual industry at all, because you just expect a website where you can find information about the company, instead some companies only have an Instagram profile, probably cheaper to get a social media junior than an IT team that takes care of the website. And then? Then there, you find a website via LinkedIn, you click on it, but there is only one error, DNS Error, with working internet connection, I interpret here that the domain is no longer connected to the server IP address and there is no website anymore. I could even buy the domains and start a new business under that name, 😉 well, doesn't make much sense to me. Of course I would then like to contact the website owner, so that one informs about the problem, not always national companies outside the western world have an imprint or adhere to the European DSGVO/GDPR regarding the imprint obligation / accessibility, and so you can not find any information on how to contact the owners (some companies give only the city and country on the website, but there the post office is then happy to search 😀 ), if you have good luck, then about the LinkedIn profile...
As a web developer, I then look up the domain registrar and what do you find:
It's not that I don't think privacy is important, but it should at least be obvious to those who want to read domain data who the registrant is and "Redacted for Privacy" is really unnecessary because it's a company. Annoying, but really.
A website without information
Then there are also vertical farming companies that have a nice site, with great pictures, partly stock images, it should look professional and startups must also be allowed to save some money, but the content of the site, says virtually nothing except marketing buzzwords: IoT, Blockchain, Industry 4.0, NeXt Generation, Controlled Monitoring, supply-chain, industry leading technology, state of the art, etc..
I mean, I don't have to be an entrepreneur or web developer to see the problem, a website that throws around superlatives but doesn't even say who this company is aimed at, what the product is, how it works or even explains the point of this company, then you can't be surprised if you go virtually broke because no one bothers to ask "Hey guys, you really have a mega website, but what do you actually do?"....
It's not uncommon to use a website builder like Wix where you can't really do anything wrong and everything important is taken care of, but many companies still don't manage to set the social media links correctly. Yes really, I want from a company page on their Facebook page, because which company still writes blog articles? The hip ones want to be active only on social media...., and the link leads to: facebook.com, yes, fine, I know that when I click on the Facebook icon that I come to the Facebook page, but I want to go to YOUR Facebook company page. And then that doesn't work.
For one thing, you lose users because they leave the site altogether, your potential conversion rate drops, and you rank lower on Google because you don't link social media properly.
Social media should be used actively
One criticism I would actually like to level at all companies is that if you want to reach people, you need communication channels, and unfortunately that is primarily social media these days. Whether an industrial company necessarily has to be on the tumor platforms TikTok, Snapchat or Instagram is a moot point. But where a company should be is on Facebook. Facebook is the largest network where it's not just about short videos, but where posts are shared elsewhere and you reach people in groups through them. Well, maybe I'm just too old, soon to be 28, to understand TikTok's young generation.
My recipe: Website First, Social Media Second
It's true that social media has become indispensable, but finding information there that is useful, that you can work with and that is up-to-date is difficult or even impossible, or people don't look at social media for such information. Apart from LinkedIn.
If you are an entrepreneur or planning to start a website, plan it first, no one likes half finished websites, it looks unprofessional. Build a blog, it sounds outdated, but it's absolutely not, try to find a specific post on social media, I've failed several times. With WordPress you can create wonderful company websites and share information/posts via the blog function.
And social media?
That's the trick: automation. There are web tools like IFTTT, Zapier, Make (formerly Integromat) that allow you to program automations. You don't have to go to each platform and manually share something there. Using RSS feed from your WordPress website (WordPress delivers RSS feed with latest posts (not pages) by default), you can share them automatically to many social networks. This saves time and you still reach your prospects.
Vertical farming companies often say how digital and technologically advanced they are, this may be true in the industrial sector, but if the website looks unprofessional, this consideration psychologically affects the user also on the products from the company and it really does not need. There is enough potential to give away, but you can also do it right and if you do not know better, it is not wrong to ask for advice.
Self-promotion: If you need help with your website, then send me an Inquiry via the contact form.