WHAT is the first thing you do when you want to check out a company?

If it’s not whip out your phone and look at their website I’d be very surprised. Shocked even.

You need to know what products or services they have got, right? Not to mention prices and procedures and, without question, reviews.

It is important to know why Sally from Sidcup was left raging by the clowns who bodged the installation of her new bathroom suite. Fuming she is.

I digress.

The truth is we all do the Google trawl for anything and everything nowadays, especially in this new corona-inspired third-world UK thing we seem to be building towards.

Is that new curry house any good? Are car prices still ridiculous? When will my new sex swing actually get here? And so on and so forth.

Let’s go ahead and assume I am right, and we all like to reassure ourselves we’ve done enough due diligence to splash our increasingly dwindling cash on anything over, say, four stars.

So what does your business do?

And more to the point – what do those online sleuths see when they come across your website?

Tell you what, I’m going to stick the words ‘Sidcup’ and ‘plumber’ in the Google search bar to see if we can’t find Sally’s (for the avoidance of doubt – fictional) bathroom batterer, and see what it spits out.

This is a live and genuine test people – I will not load the dice. You have my word.

Okay, I’ve found one near the top. It’s not 100 percent humour gold but it illustrates my point.

Herewith is a cut-and-paste excerpt of one Saff London firm’s ‘About Us’ section [any comments sitting in these square brackets are mine]:

“There’s always something else to learn! [That is honestly their starter for ten. Giving it the big ‘un with an exclamation mark, a staple of the can’t-write-will-write-anyway crew]. convinced that the traditional plumbing repair companies were not the best solution for all the work that needs to be done around the home. [This is the sentence as presented – it appears to have been a thought that started out on a journey but just never got there]. Why should a homeowner have to call three or four companies to repair or remodel just one room in his house? [A whole lot of speculation here on the required job. And god forbid you are one of these new-fangled female homeowners – get yourself back in the kitchen please, pet]. Why should they wait for days on end for the workers to come or even weeks until everything is done [It’s not me playing fast-and-loose with the lower-case letter starts to sentences, absent full stops and errant question marks btw.]. A one stop service offering! [Bang in another exclamation mark as the compelling closer.]. Today this is still plumber sidcup motto [It just feels like all effort had been abandoned by this stage with a motto light on inspiration and heavy on follow-up questions].

Look, I haven’t got a dog in the race here. I don’t hate this firm. I don’t know this firm. In fact, I really do wish them the best of luck and I hope they are laying pipe like billy-o.

And I’m sure they would laugh longer and louder at the two, PTSD-inducing, self-inflicted water leaks I caused this summer while decorating a bedroom.

But their website case study does illustrate my firmly-held belief that so many companies, clubs and individuals present themselves in a far from optimal way to the waking online world. Needlessly too.

I’d be willing to wager this company’s vans are clean and nicely sign-written. You can probably still see the logos on their polo shirts and their representatives are probably friendly, competent and professional.

So why haven’t they taken five minutes to ask someone like me to take a look at their website, rewrite a few bits, and ensure their huge potential online market does not move swiftly onto the next search result?

If your website is crap (go on, take a look now and be painfully honest with yourself) then feel free to drop me a line. I tend to know what you want/need to say, even if you don’t. It’s one of my few gifts. Like the universe’s way of compensating for my lack of DIY prowess.

I’ll make sure you are presented to the world in the right way so that anyone eyeing you up on their phone this evening does not rule you out on grounds of hilarity alone.