Please do not feed the zombiesDo you have a zombie web site?

You know the kind — looks bad and no one wants to go near it. Stinks. Has serious cooties.

In fact, people run from it.

But your web site just won’t go away, zombie that it is.

Signs you have a zombie web site.

  1. Dead since the 1990s. Or maybe even 2010.
  2. Painful to look at.
  3. Moves slow.
  4. Doesn’t listen.
  5. Doesn’t change.
  6. Chases your customers.

Your web site has been dead since the 1990s. Or maybe even 2010.

A potential new client called recently about his 1998 html web site. Sells vintage items to a specialty crowd. May not be fancy, but it works, he says.

The thing is, his web site does work. To the tune of half a million dollars a year.

We can call this man’s web site “plain Jane” and he’ll cry all the way to the bank.

I can totally understand that he doesn’t want anything to change.

Thing is, this man also knows that he could start losing customers to mobile web sites. If you haven’t been living in a cave, you know that Google has put its foot down: be mobile or be gone from mobile search results. Because 60% of us apparently use phones and tablets to surf the web, Google thinks it’s high time we were better served.

Bad news for a zombie.

My potential new client also knows, somewhere in his heart of hearts, that the web site could actually look good without looking expensive.

Your web page is painful to look at.

Do I really need to talk about this?

Let’s compare some images. The first is a 1994 image of whitehouse.gov and the other yesterday’s snapshot of the same web site 21 or so years later. The second set is amazon.com’s 1995 web site launch, compared to today’s snapshot of a similar page 20 years later.

Whitehouse.gov 2015 (top) and 1994

Which web sites gain your attention?

Your web page is slow and clumsy.

These days, two things can happen when your web page isn’t built without knowledge of pix and pixels:

  1. It loads slow, because the designer didn’t know how to size the images properly.
  2. The slow loading signals to Google that your web site isn’t up to snuff, and your web page ranking tanks.


Your web page doesn’t listen.

Amazon 2015 (top) and 1995Everyone knows that a zombie just doesn’t care about anything except eating your brain. Zombies don’t talk much, and they never listen.

If you try to converse with a zombie, you’ll find it’s a one-way street. Zombies want one thing.

Must have brain.

It’s much the same with web sites that don’t appear to care who you are, or to know anything about you.

I’m regularly stunned by web sites that insist on telling you what they want and who they are. Not caring who you are. Not helping you get the info/product/service you came for.

Zombie web sites don’t care that you want a better washing machine experience. They just want what they want.

Must have brain.

Your web site doesn’t change.

Gosh, didn’t this web site look exactly like this five years ago? The owners must not be able to afford to market.

If they can’t afford to market, maybe they’re not doing so well. Do I want to buy something from a company that isn’t doing well?

Your web site chases people.

There’s a splash page and an immediate sign-up that demand your attention.

As soon as your page loads, so does a pop-up demanding that you sign up for special news and deals. Some pop-ups demand that you sign up before you can look around.

Have you been to wayfair.com and onekingslane.com? Following the lead of One Kings Lane a few years ago, home decor sites use or have used this technique.

I thought perhaps that the practice would have tapered off as more home decor sites entered the arena. But I just checked One King’s Lane, and they’re still at it.

Sure you can unsubscribe later. But why should you have to? And who’s to say that you even trust One King’s Lane to really delete your subscription info? Why should you go to bed with someone before you know them a little better?

It’s all no good if you chase people away, now is it?

Conclusion

Sometimes there’s a good reason to change a web site, even though it still makes money.

  1. Your html design (if we can call it that) is losing some percentage of customers. Guaranteed. Maybe a small percentage, but a percentage nonetheless.
  2. Mobility. If your web site is circa 1990s or even 2010, you look pretty bad on a cell phone.
  3. Just plain looks. Increasingly, people don’t tolerate ugly web sites. They’d rather go somewhere else, somewhere that looks as though it understands them.
  4. Keeping up with your customers. Sure, your web site may be million-dollar business, but if it doesn’t cater to real people instead of offering long lists of inventory, it will gradually lose its following.

Do you have a zombie web site?

by susan time to read: 3 min
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