As technology progresses and fashions change, these both impacts how peoples websites are built and how they appear to people who find them. I remember hand building websites from scratch in hand coded html over 10 years ago and everyone wanted to fit as much as they could onto a few key pages, they were often very colour heavy and didn’t usually have very many pages, let alone including a blog or e-commerce.
These days plain simple designs are much more popular, making it much easier for a site visitor to read the information on the pages, the navigation is also pretty standardised now with header logo’s linking to the home page, contact forms top right and less important pages listed in the footer or sidebars. It’s also become virtually unheard of to hand code html now, with CMS and e-commerce systems like WordPress which is undoubtedly the most popular for plain websites, Magento for e-commerce and a raft off other platforms and the templates available to make the technical side of the site much easier.
This got me to thinking about some off my older customers and if they were considering any updates or even complete rewrites to bring their website up to date once again, after all web development is what I do!. There were quite a few who’d already done it anyway (note to self: stay in touch with old customers from time to time!), a few who were still using the site I’d built years ago and they were looking quite dated on the whole, but it was quite sad to see how many had gone completely. I guess their business had never taken off, or possibly suffered during the recession and they decided to close it down.
It’s quite sad when you see that someone’s business has not done well. When you’re working with someone to develop a website you need to keep in mind how important it is to them, they may or not know it themselves, but having a nice looking website can make all the difference to the business they win and ultimately contribute to whether they are around in a years’ time or not. I built a website for a lovely guy from Swindon years ago, he’d had a run of bad luck personally and work wise, part of this was the loss of his mother and probably a major contributing factor in everything else going wrong. However he did get a small inheritance. Having been a car fanatic when he was young, he decided to invest in a nice car and start up his own chauffeur business, he did some taxi driving while this was all starting up to fill the gap, but apparently even doing many of the longer runs, the cost of petrol and the commission he had to pay the taxi firm for the jobs meant he didn’t earn very much from doing that. Because he didn’t have an awful lot of money he was also limited to how much advertising he could afford to ramp up the business he got direct.
When he contacted me about a website he knew very little about the internet and how it worked and how popular it had become even back then, but we managed to agree what he needed and the site was live a few weeks later. I ended up doing quite a lot of extra work for him free of charge too, I was pretty quiet at the time anyway so helped with the page copy and we added several additional pages which were focussed on certain keywords to help draw in the traffic. Sure enough a few months later I had an email thanking me for all the work I’d done and how he was now starting to get a few enquiries for chauffeur work direct. I never heard from him again, and sadly, this was one of the websites which I checked back on and was gone. I’d like to think that he perhaps did so well that he got bought out or retired (he was no spring chicken), I guess I’ll never know, all I can be sure of is that chauffeur-tours.co.uk as a domain name is no longer in existence.
Ultimately I guess I’ll never know what happened, however it’s fairly likely that his website began to look a bit dated, perhaps the market shrunk during the recession, or many more people set themselves up doing the same thing, possibly using newer internet technology and probably with a bit of SEO thrown in to give them a bit of an edge. But the lesson I have learnt from this little exercise is to keep in touch with people occasionally after their site is complete and launched. After all if it’s starting to look dated, or if Google changes something significant, like their update to reward sites which are mobile friendly, I am in a position to let them know. I will in future. Who knows, it might just help them to keep growing their business and earn me more work in the process, it’s a win-win situation.
If you have an old tired website or need a new one developed please do get in touch.