Last week we discussed how a sucky B2B website can make happy people sad and sad people drunk. My friend Aileen, who uses her website as a proxy for her failed marriage, is doing much better. She’s starting to shower again and is giving back to the community — mostly by donating her ex-husband’s books, hockey equipment, tools and Xbox to her church rummage sale.

We looked at how New York used little things, like cleaning off the walls, to spruce up a whole neighbourhoods, Here is another thing that happens a lot in New York: people toss their gum on the sidewalk. I know that happens everywhere, but in New York, crews are out in the night steam cleaning the Juicy Fruit off the pavement.

I don’t think it reduces crime or even gum chewing (don’t get me started on that), but it makes the overall experience of walking about a little less disgusting. And that’s what Step Two is about: a website less disgusting. Here are some things to do once you’ve fixed all the windows in Step One.

  • Replace your images – all of them. It’s the website equivalent of fluffing a house and it works. Even if you buy those dreadful images of white people in suits high- fiving each other in airports, they’ll give your site a new look (unless you have already used the White People In Suits Collection, in which case you should consider the Abstract Things Made of Metal Collection). The point is, a new bunch of images in your headers will help. Remember to tag them properly.
  • Fix your dead ends. Every page should have a way out of it that doesn’t involve the back button or a life decision. If you can’t think of a way out of a given page, you probably don’t need it. Here’s a great post from Marketing Profs on this weighty subject.
  • Shorten your forms. You probably have a few spots where clients and prospects are expected to cough up some information. If you haven’t looked at your site in a while, I’m going to bet, you still have forms with more than five mandatory fields. Go get rid of those. All you really need is a name and an email or phone number.
  • Set up your Google Analytics: It’s free, it’s not difficult and it’ll give your summer studentsome numbers to play with. Plus you’ll know the top pages your customers are landing on. See below for why that matters.
  • Set up a process that updates something on your top five inbound pages once a week. Even if you just rearrange your messages a little, it’ll seem different. And different is better than sucky.

All of this, of course, won’t actually solve the underlying suckiness of your site; that’s a big, complex thing to solve. But it’s a start and it should get your self-esteem high enough to see the end game. We’ll discuss what that looks like next week.