Website Design is an art form and a science, get the mixture just right and you end up with a stupidly amazing website. Today I want to talk a bit about Yell.com Websites and why no small business should ever have one. Really, NEVER EVER EVER! Many of you know that I, Andy Kinsey, am a website designer alongside being an internet marketer. One of my pet hates over the past few years has been Yell.com, the online wing of the Yellow Pages. In specific this is a hate of the websites they create, for businesses of all sizes but mainly they pry on small businesses, which are a waste of money and certainly not good for that business.
I began designing websites in 2005, since then I've lost many potential clients to the jaws at Yell.com. This narks me off, especially when the service they offer is crudy, they sell by pressuring potential clients and their prices are simply extortionate for what is on offer. So, in todays post I want to tell you a few things about Yell.com and the websites they design for small businesses.
Do they get found? The short answer is not really. Yell.com websites have a habbit of not being found on the first few search results pages. Also, ask yourself how many people use Yell.com to search for a business online, the answer isn't many - most people use Google or Bing! Oh and despite what they may claim, Yell.com nor anyone else has a "special relationship" with Google, its a load of hoot!
Are they well designed? Again, No. Almost all of the websites rolled out by the, so called, Designers at Yell.com are templates - most look exactly the same minus a few colour changes. To be asked to pay huge amounts of cash for this kind of service is ridiculous. Yell.com may have a big name, a big reputation as the Yellow Pages but they certainly don't have a big reputation for good design or customer service at Yell.com
Are they well coded? Once again, No. Sites from Yell.com are pretty much all the same, crap when it comes to coding. Unless maybe you get lucky and don't have a template... but this means you've probably paid thousands of pounds ... but other than a tatty website I doubt you'd get very much for your pennies. Bad coding means unreliable behaviour in web browsers and certainly unreliable search results. (See Update 10/8/12 for more on this)
Website Tailored to the Business? Erm, No. Yell.com like many other companies that cold call people who sign up for their Free Basic Listing upselling them don't ever find out enough detail from their clients. Their websites are at best generic and at worst ... well suffice to say if the websites they "show off" on their website aren't with Yell.com any more, it tells its own story.
What about content? Well a quick sweep through businesses in the same industry will find the same content reworded, bad enough. Take a look at the keywords and key phrases they target and they are ALWAYS the same for an industry. They claim to research your competitors, but they don't they copy your competitors who use Yell websites. It's duplicate content and your website will suffer for it.
But Yell.com know what they are talking about? Do they? mmm No. Yell.com like many other companies who sell websites again via cold calling are paying their staff on a commission basis. This is why when you get a phone call you are told you must have a website that does this and we can offer it to you for this price. If you say No, they ask to call back or don't but call back anyway, they operate sly selling tactics at the best of times - simply remember the person on the phone is a salesman and knows nothing about website design. They once called me to ask if as a website designer I needed a new website, they went on for half an hour (I wasted their time) and I tripped them up around 22 times by asking simple questions - they lied multiple times and for some simple things like Meta Tags they knew nothing at all... so for calling their sales people experts Yell.com have a lot to learn.
Good Value for Money? Erm, well you can make your own mind up from the above and this little bit of information. I used to offer websites to small businesses from just £95. This includes basic SEO from day one, including search engine submission, adding of Google Local / Places entry and more. Oh and you get complete access to all the code and content, you can update it when you want see website analytics when you want - and I'll never cold call you. So are Yell.com websites value for money? you tell me.
Prices correct at time of publication 2/8/11.
- After some research, around 1000 websites with the tag "web design by yell" I have discovered at approx 65% of the websites use a single template, approx 20% a second template, 10% a third template and 5% are a mixture of all 3 templates above. The main difference's between the sites in each template is the colour and imagery used, information is always in the same place and the html code very similar, only the content is different. Most pages within these website seemed to have less than 300 words per page and most less than 100 words. This would explain why they don't rank so well and why Yell Web Design have a habit of "pushing" and "strong arming" people into using adwords via them at a large cost per year.
- Yell are to be rebranded Hibu (High boo) in an attempt to clean up their image and given they are image consultants it's pretty clear they think that they can't go on with a brand like yell which is stuck in the past and now seen more as a rip off than anything else.
- Who would have thought that Yell/Hibu would be writing their own reviews... some 6000 of them indeed. Read more on