Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The world doesn't need any more websites

Video via commoncraft.

A friend of mine (Una, I use this term very loosely), mentioned this evening that her consultant friend was planning to put a website together.


For the most part, websites are relics. They are static, inflexible, costly and clunky. They represent a time when the internet was still one-way. Websites were useful when your intention was to put up all your information and leave it untouched for the next six months.

Today, your online presence is about content. People come back to read (or see) what you are doing. To see what you are saying. Even to see what your visitors are saying.

So - dump the idea of building a website. Start a blog. Add videos. Allow readers to comment. Link to others with similar or different views. Make it interesting. Keep it updated. You can be up and running with your blog in under 20 minutes.

And it costs nothing except your time.


Pat Quirke said...

I agree with you if the site in question is a "brochure site", which a lot of service industries have. If the content of the site changes regularly, i.e. at least daily, and it has RSS, then other than allowing comment, it will tick all boxes. A simple link to a blog from the homepage would add the comment facility and expand the reach of both sites.

Una Herlihy and Lucy Masterson said...

Paul, this is the greatest load of rubbish I have ever read (is that ok?). Now, Mr Nice Guy, how's that for honesty?

Una Herlihy and Lucy Masterson said...

Paul, this is the greatest load of rubbish I have ever read (is that ok?). Now, Mr. Nice Guy, am waiting for your reply!

Sinéad said...

I think that in a business context blogs are a great _companion_ to a website, but because of that same temporal nature of blogging that you highlight as a positive, for someone trying to sell services or themselves it can mean only their most recent ideas/products are being looked at.

Paul Dervan said...

thanks for the comments guys. In particular Una. Twice? - clearly you feel strongly about this...

Hi Pat, I guess my point is any online presence worth visting more than once should have regular new content.

Hi Sinead - for permanent content, could you not just label it "Our services" or "Consulting Services" and this will always feature in the side bar?

Apart from large, e-commerce led sites like Amazon / dell etc, I find it hard to see any benefit of static pages anymore.

Daniel Oyston said...

Paul, I agree with Una. A load of crap. No thought on what purpose the website serves?

I can tell you that people feel comfortable going to a website do to dome basic info searching and then maybe purchasing. They do this because they don;t want to get stuck on the phone with a salesperson and/or unhelpful staff member.

I think your point should be "only set up a website if it clearly delivers value to your customers".

Paul Dervan said...

Una, look what you started. I might be in the minority here. But yet to be convinced.

hi Daniel, I agree with what you say about customers but still don't see the benefit of a static website (with exception of e-commerce) over a blog for these instances either. They can browse a blog, and decide themselves what level of interaction the are comfortable with.

Una - can you find out more specific reasons why your friend wants an online presence and see if a blog cannot do the trick?

Una Herlihy and Lucy Masterson said...

Paul, I agree with Sinead. I think Clients do want to see a snap shot of the services you offer but also (and here I do have to agree with you - even though it kills me) if the content is engaging enough blogging can add a layer of real engagement and a forum for conversation which is hugely valuable. I have at length spoken to Ms X regarding same and there is another issue with a blog vs a website and that is time. To be constantly updating your blog must take up a huge amount of your time and for me personally I don't think I would be able to commit.

Anonymous said...

Paul...Una doesnt get it does she...maybe this quote from John Haydon will help?

"Google is not in the business of serving up stale, crappy web-pages. Blogs allow for frequently produced content; websites tend to go stale each time the intern quits."

Paul Dervan said...

Lovely quote. Thanks Conor.

Una, Conor means no harm. Feel free to pop over to his blog and slag off his articles. You wouldn't be the first.