Why websites work better than Yellow Pages

I love this cartoon from Hubspot, one of my favourite social media websites. I love it because it’s so true. I’ve worked on a few websites recently for companies who have relied on the Yellow Pages and other printed directories for years. Those marketing routes used to work for them … but now they find that their competitors are doing more business – and guess what, those competitors have websites!

Yellow Pages et al won’t admit what’s happening. You know the yellow book that dropped through your letterbox the other week … the one that’s smaller and thinner than in previous years? The publisher will have you know that it’s a new handy size, pocket size, more manageable, more convenient to use – when in fact the simple truth is that it gets smaller every year because more and more businesses realise that it’s just not worth their money any more.

See, people who have computers don’t tend to use the Yellow Pages any more. They don’t even really use the online version, Yell. When they want a service they google for “web designer oxfordshire” or “bookkeeper london” or cake shop bradford” and see what comes up. Those businesses that have a website and are reasonably high on Google will get a shot at the gig. If they’re listed in Google Places, so much the better, because they’ll get a listing further up the screen. The Yell page for those types of business might come up and you might give it a cursory glance and perhaps follow a link to someone’s website from there – but businesses that don’t have web links are likely to be ignored. Which means it is really important these days to have a website, however basic.

You could build your own site – Google offers free websites, as does BT and other suppliers. However, your site is likely to look fairly amateurish and certainly won’t show your professional products or services in a good light. A better option is to use a CMS (content management system) like WordPress, which uses themes to create simple yet good looking websites that are flexible, adaptable and easy to use. Better still, speak to someone like me, who specialises in low cost web design using WordPress, and I can build you a site and show you how to update it yourself.

The offline directories are losing out on business … don’t let your business lose out too!



  1. A great article and very true. I never understand why people pay for Yellow Pages anymore. There are so few people that actually use it (generally the older generation).

  2. I downloaded the Yellow Pages App for my phone as I thought about time they caught up with the rest of us, but the first two searches I carried out threw up businesses I wouldn’t use. They don’t even let search engine trawl for links, pointless!!

    1. Hi Alison,

      This is something that I also learned after my team hit the streets of Melbourne to ask random men on where they go first if they want to look for information. From the results, it looks like they want to type and click to find out about things that concern them, and not to flip pages anymore.


      Got the same thinking, maybe those older folks are more comfortable using it especially if they are not that computer savvy.


  3. The problem with most website designers these days is that they don’t tell the truth.

    They don’t tell their customers that most websites they build aren’t worth the trouble or the expense and that these days it is comparable to building a house in Antarctica and expecting all roads, highways and communication links to be at the front door.

    Another mysterious thing is that most website builders won’t include a free tracking, metrics or analytics tool….why? Because they don’t want their customers to know the truth that most website traffic is horrendous.

    Be transparent if you build a website for advertisers. And if you get this Alison to build one for you then make sure she includes an analytics tool as well.

    Oh yeah, don’t expect to be found for your favourite keyword phrase in the first year either. Don’t get me wrong, you will show up for your business name soon but don’t count on showing up for anything else past that anytime soon….

    1. Interesting comment. Just to clarify, I always include Google Analytics tracking in every website I build, as well as basic SEO (though I am not an SEO expert). My point is that if you want to do business with a specific company you’re more likely to search for them on the internet nowadays, and if they don’t have a presence then they seem less credible. Even having a one page brochure site that is only found when one searches for your company name is surely better than nothing at all!

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