Don't get a website?


Recently I read this artcile by Mike O'Donnell, an Ecommerce Manager

A sensationalist headline is always going to attract readers.

While Mike was competing in a motorsport event, he had an epiphany. Speeding past the crowd he notices how many onlookers are engaged with their mobile phones. So many people.. they are not sitting at desktop computers. Conclusion: People don't need conventional websites anymore.

Is it true that the rise of mobile platforms for internet use has been very rapid and he is correct that you should have a mobile optimised website, the same can't be said for this:

"If you haven't really started the online side of your business yet, then forget about building a traditional website at all."

Wait. What? Forget about it? um... ok thanks for that ingenious peice of business advice.

He also casts this pearl of wisdom:

"If your company has an existing web presence, then the main choice is between replicating its key online functionality in a mobile responsive website, or investing in an application built specifically for a type of operating system."

But he's not quite giving you all the options. The absolute cheapest way to become mobile friendly is to create a simple, mobile version of your website. With a simple bit of code, your site will display this mobile version if the user is detected to be on a mobile device - and the full version on a standard computer. Find out more. Next is making your main site responsive so that it can change the way it displays automatically according to the user device. Finally, if budget allows, you can create native apps for smartphones although I would hardly call this a replacement for a website, apps are a different market altogether. 

Finally this: 

"For the thousands of small to medium sized businesses out there, there's an even better option. That option is using one of the free online content management systems like Wordpress or Tumblr."

Tumblr is a microblogging and social networking website. Wordpress is is blogging cms system. They are both free, but they are also terrible choices for using as a websie. I'm not even sure what his advice angle is... he's attempting to say don't bother about a website.. and then suggests a couple (from the hundreds) of content-management-systems for.. running a website? 

Basically, the reality is that people still work on computers. All the people who couldn't make it to watch Mikes race that day were probably at work, on computers.. using websites. If you are running a business, then you're going to go into meetings, in those meetings people will give you a business card. It's a simple bit of cardboard with all their contact details conviently on it. On the way home from work when you're tired and can't be bothered connecting your bluetooth you'll probably switch on the radio then flop in front of the TV with a laptop or iPad browsing.. websites.

It seems like Mike is just throwing around various terms like 'CMS' and 'responsive' willynilly to sound like an IT pro. Sounds to me like he's wrapped a useless article under a sensationalist title claiming that websites 'are old hat now.. don't bother.. use a free blog or get on tumblr.' Seriously.. if you are a business and you direct me to your Tumblr driven page - you probably won't be getting any business from me. 

I feel these kinds of articles are really nothing more than an ego-boost for the writers own self-worth to be the spokesperson for the hip and modern. Now I'm getting clients coming in saying 'Hey I read this thing by this expert about how I don't need a website for my business, what do you think about just using Tumblr?' 

Don't listen to Mike, if you have a business you need a website, you need it to be mobile friendly. Don't use Tumblr or Wordpress which are clunky and tempremental. Talk to people who actually work in the web industry for advice on better systems. Mike O'Donnell came last in that Wallaceville Hillclimb.

Jon. Tarr is the creative director at activate design


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