The Internet Junkyard
If you have ever visited a large junkyard, then you will remember the seemingly endless amount of rusted metal, tin cans, long-forgotten car parts, tires and heaps of useless items that at one time where part of something. People go to junkyards looking for a replacement part or something that might just work for a project. They are looking for stuff at a good value, yet most of what they see remains junk and never leaves the yard.
A part of the Internet is beginning to resemble a junkyard, cluttered with old, clunky Web sites that lost their value long ago. These sites have not been updated in months, or even years, and the information is outdated and stale. Businesses that allow their sites to become "junk" are missing a great opportunity to improve their marketing efforts and gain a competitive advantage. The difference between the Internet and a real junkyard is that junk can only be recycled, but old Web sites can be brought back to life and developed into efficient marketing tools for your business. If your Web site is a part of the Internet junkyard, here are a few things to consider when restoring or re-designing your site.
"Our Web Site is Embarrassing"
If you are embarrassed about your Web site than ask yourself this question: "How many people visit our Web site?" If you have no site visitors, then there it doesn't matter. However, you will be amazed at the amount of traffic a Web site can attract. Many sites average hundreds of visitors or more per month, even sites that have not been marketed extensively. Get an accurate count of the number of visitors that come to your site each month and this will help you understand the impact your site is making on your target market and the importance of designing a new site. Your Web site hosting company can provide you with site traffic reports.
"It is Too Expensive to Re-Design Our Web Site"
Every business has fixed costs, variable costs and opportunity costs. Opportunity costs have to do with the cost of not taking a particular action. In this case, a poorly designed Web site has two big opportunity costs. Firstly, the potential customers that go away because of the lack of credibility a poor site communicates or they simply do not find what they are looking for on your site, and secondly the loss of new customers who are so impressed by your site they call you to pursue your business. Smart companies understand that money invested in the business will return a profit. A strong Internet presence is an excellent way to develop great marketing return on investment (ROI). It may too expensive not to build a new site.
In our seminars, we put Web sites in front of the group and ask for reactions to the site. Oftentimes, this is the first opportunity for the seminar participant to see a group reaction to the site. If your Web site is really bad, then it may be doing more harm than good and you may want to bring it off-line until it can be updated.
"Making Changes to My Site is a Pain"
The way changes are made to many Web sites contributes to the Internet junkyard. Site owners are too busy to make updates and developers don't have the knowledge to update their client's sites. The end result is outdated sites with old designs. But don't blame your site developer. They are doing the best they can with what is given to them and the skills they bring to the table. The key is to turn the site over to a project manager who can generate content and material for the site or hire the right people to get the job done such as marketing consultants, photographers, graphic designers, content writers and others.
Here are a few examples of Junkyard Web sites:
The visitor to the site does not understand the message or how to use the site.
IT manages the Web site with little design or marketing input
The site is ugly with a poor lay-out, colors, graphics, photos and small fonts to busy noisy and cluttered
The site breaks or has empty pages and links
The site talks about the company too much with no meaningful content
The site is over-designed with too many images, photos or too much design
The site is not updated on a regular basis
No contact information on every page
Does not have a secure connection
Two Sides of the Internet
There are really two sides to the Internet. The first is the Internet Junkyard, a wasteland of un-kept and poorly designed Web sites and the second is the real Internet where innovative businesses see solid returns for their Internet marketing investments.