website graders – that’s a joke, right?

My peeve is with sites like websitegrader.com, which, while they can supply you with some valid information and advice, are not able to tell you the ‘marketing success’ or ‘ marketing limitations’ of your site.  There are gobs of information out there about your site – if you know where to look.  And yes, most of the information can and is used when judging how well a site markets.  But key factors that are not available to the general public that have a great influence on the effectiveness of a site are either 1) not available to machines or 2) cannot be assessed by machines.  

Don't put your brain in a jar.
Don't put your brain in a jar.

You can have the best ‘grade’ for a site, but if it’s so ugly or so user unfriendly that no one wants to be there, it doesn’t matter.  Likewise, if your site is beautiful, but has no SEO or SEM, it won’t get many looks because no one knows it’s there.  

Machines also make mistakes that humans would not normally make.  Websitegrader.com didn’t ‘find’ my contact form, even though it is linked through menus, content and a sitemap, with no mystery meat involved.  Therefore, it dinged my grade.  Even if it did find my contact form, how would it know if it were being used, and being used by humans, not just spam bots?  It wouldn’t.  Only the human looking at the form output would be able to say with accuracy that true conversions are coming in via the form.  Further more, to know if you are getting a ROI, it would need to know what you invested in the site and what you’ve invested in marketing, along with the calculated returns from the site.  I hope this information is not available on the Internet – it shouldn’t be.

My synopsis is that these sites like websitegrader. com offer a non-service service.  The real goal is for them to get you to buy their marketing services.  Kinda like an auto mechanic that offers free engine checks – and invariably finds things to fix.

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