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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What were you thinking in giving me your URL!

I've been reading a book about a particular branch of rock climbing, and in it one of the authors gave a url. I went to it.

Holy Crap! What are you thinking? The site is insanely awful. So bad I can't even imagine the author using one of those instant-website templates or $9 WalMart software to build it. Is this person really thinking anyone will give them money for anything? Or is it one of those elitist snob cases where the author is such an expert it doesn't matter what horror we have to endure to bask in their glow?

Our clients at work sometimes fall into this trap. They have a website made by their wife's cousin's girlfriend who took a correspondence course and is using a cracked version of frontpage 3.0. Jumping scotty dogs catching the email as it zips out of the opening mailbox and all that rot from the windows 95 era when the internet was new and no one knew what it meant or where it was going and they assumed everyone viewing the page was such an idiot that without the zipping letter they would have no clue what the email link was for. My tribute to that era is here:



Then they complain, wondering what is wrong and why no one hangs out at their site past the first page, and why no one wants to come in for a consultation. We suggest they replace the POS website with a real one, and they either:

A) get offended because they, or a loved one, or obligated one, made the site and it is somehow sacred.

B) get offended because what they have is free, and we charge a realistic price.

So the reality is, if you have a clue about business you'll chalk up your website expense to marketing, consider the potential ROI and COA on it (remember that if you do the same to the free site, anything divided by zero = NAN - lol programmer inside joke), and get with the program and get a real site that will at least convince your potential viewers that you have a clue, have a brain, are at least respectable enough to pay for your website with a real designer, are progressive, and actually expect them to pay you for what you do.

Speaking of which, there is a major climbing equipment manufacturer that appears to be hosting at a $9/mo hosting facility with crappy scripting that breaks a lot. I've contacted them about it and they promise they are in the middle of updating it, but golly, you'd never know how major they are by looking at their site...or worse, trying to buy something from them or look up your account details.

Now, I do use their stuff, and I do love it. Use it at least twice a week, but to me it's mostly because I know they are legit (buy their stuff in most retail climbing shops). Wow, and there is a major web clearance-style dealer with a crappily organized site that defies usability that I buy from as well, but I did a lot of research and they are also legit. If only they would become as organized as say, moosejaw or backcountry.

Well, enough griping about these dang awful websites. Let me finish by suggesting they follow the "britney rule" -- "if you're going to expose yourself on the web, make sure you look good first".