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February 26, 2014

Are Websites Doomed to Become Obsolete?

During every cycle of technological growth, someone declares an aspect of our daily culture “dead.” SEO, print media, blogging – even the internet itself – they’ve all been tapped for extinction. Yet we still have newspapers to read, we still have search engines to please, and blogs now number over 152 million.

This does not, however, negate the sentiment that some (or even all) of these mainstays are on their way out. If you think of death more as a transformation into something new, then print media is definitely experiencing that process. As is SEO, blogs, infographics, and even the mighty website itself.

It’s an obvious truth that websites as we know them are a thing of the past. They are evolving out of necessity, and in a sense, into utter oblivion. Why? Because that’s simply the nature of technology; it’s anything but static. And if your website is static, it’s an endangered species.

Why Websites Must Evolve or Die

Think about a typical website, say circa 2005. It’s a hub of information, yes, but a pretty flat and stagnant hub. Sites in this vain trying to compete in today’s marketplace have an insurmountable challenge. Look at dynamo apps like Flipboard and Facebook’s Paper. They are alive, by comparison; bursting with images and media, multifaceted, and far more engaging. Even the most successful blogs, updated daily, can’t compete with this kind of freshness and relevancy.

Technology is central to our lives because it flows at the pace of human evolution. Things that are static will always fall away, because life requires energy and movement. If you’re finding yourself stuck in the evolution of your business, take a look at your reliance on static pages and information. Remember that the internet in many ways mirrors the methods of our minds. It’s always firing, also sending new information. The most successful examples of online media these days matches that vibrancy.

How Social Media Breaks the Mold

Sites like Twitter and Facebook are not traditional websites because every second spent on either brings about a new experience. They are the polar opposite of static media, with streams of data and information available every nanosecond.

Furthermore, social media is insanely popular because it is highly customizable. If you were inundated with every tweet and status update, social media would cease to be relevant. Because you can choose whose information you are presented, it’s tailored to your liking, and engenders immense loyalty.

Is it any wonder why Google is fervently pushing folks to Google+? They understand the evolution taking place. We as business owners should too.

Consider a dynamic feed like Twitter’s juxtaposed with a static website. On the former, you could get lost for hours consuming fascinating details. On the latter, you’ll get the entire download in just a few minutes, and be ready to move on.

Companies that still cling to the notion that singing their own praises will amuse the masses are already finding success is fleeting. Given the choice between an ever-changing flow of excitement and a self-centric diatribe full of hard sells, it’s easy to see why social media is spelling death to the static website.

Adapting Your Online Business to the New Paradigm

If you want to think like a trendsetter, reevaluate your business with an eye to a new presence. The old way looked like this: build a website, do everything possible to make search engines rank you, launch numerous marketing campaigns, and essentially work your tail off trying to get attention. The problem is, consumers aren’t all looking for your services like this anymore.

The new game in town is found in the ever-present flow of dynamic media. If you want to compete with any sense of longevity, engage your future customers into a dialogue first. Hook them into your sphere by providing multiple channels of relevant, unique, and quality content offerings. Use social media to have a daily stream of industry-related blasts, creative reveals, and various other ways of joining them in the daily flow. In other words, meet them where they are at, with information they actually want to consume.

Websites of yesteryear are like stop signs now. They’re always there, espousing the same information. And they’re expecting users to find them. It’s your job to find your audience, and to do so in a manner that matches their day to day behaviors. It’s your job to offer your audience things with tangible value before they become your customers.

The Good News and the Bad News

The more challenging aspect of this new stream-like way of marketing is obvious: it’s new, it’s different, and it requires more effort out of the gate. But the really, really good news is that the customers you do retain through this method are likely to remain fiercely loyal, if you provide a good product and service. Marketers in the modern age have to, in essence, romance their future customers. Once you do so with integrity, people are likely to keep coming back, because an actual relationship is formed.

In many ways, this is bringing more honesty to marketing. Since we really do have to work harder and harder to acquire new customers, we need to make darn sure we never take them for granted. Follow-through is as essential as the initial content offerings – all these pieces create the perfect company model. Balance is integral.

The sooner you dive into the new paradigm, the more likely your business will thrive. Change is always inevitable, and the true success stories are those who dared to shift focus before mass consciousness caught up. There’s still time to be an early adopter – step one is evolving your dying static website.

What are some key creative ways you’ve already evolved your online presence?


Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

41 Responses to “Are Websites Doomed to Become Obsolete?

    avatar SAK says:

    nice way to persuade Website and Business owners to update to New Paradigm which is now Mandatory for each of them,

    avatar BobP says:

    In my opinion there will always be a place for websites with static content for basic business that frankly has no place in social media. Say you own a drain cleaning service, does anyone want you breaking into the party to announce 10% off for cleaning clogged drains? Basing a business website on being twittered doesn’t sound like a plan, including it, maybe.

    avatar ben says:

    Social media is annoying. Why do people that don’t run sites know this?
    I refuse to do anything more than open an account with fb and g+. Twitter can go $!@# themselves for continually shutting down new accounts I make for no reason. Looks like who ever wrote this is trying to control the future of the internet, but seriously people need a break. Social media as far as I see it is for ugly teens and undateable desperate adults. That’s the way of the world I guess. If you have time to sit on these media sites, you need to get a job. Mom and pop operations with simple static sites shouldn’t become obsolete. What kind of controlled world are we becoming. A complete loss of creativity if you ask me. At least making your own site is creative. Paying someone can still get something unique, but all on fb with nothing but photos and changeable bits and peices to self promote oneself’s lack of self esteem and creativity can’t continue surely…?

    avatar Troy Johnson says:

    Ben, people don’t know because they have not vested interest. YOu might find this article interesting:

    avatar Ray Close says:

    I cant imagine websites diminishing due to social media.

    The website today acts as a central hub where all twitter, facebook and google plus information centralizes. A website does not tie you into one social platform but enables you to engage multiple social platforms and still have a place to roost if one of the social media platforms change or go under. I could not imagine Microsoft or hp running everything on social media accounts. I also could not imagine the local plastering guy or a pannel shop or a company like BHP for example using social media solely either. Have a look at the amount of activity on those large company facebook sites…It just doesn’t work for them.

    Perhaps for retail or affiliate marketing where the company is irrelevant… sure.

    The social media aspect enables an easy broadcasting facility. This replaces the old email marketing system – thats the main advantage of social media, real time broadcasting and feedback. Also the SEO component of a website PLUS the social media is much more powerful than just social media alone. Personally i would be very reserved about buying a product from a Facebook page without seeing the companies website first. I want to know about the organisation, who im dealing with etc.

    avatar Troy Johnson says:

    Your description sounds perfectly reasonable, but that does not match much of the behavior I’ve observed. For example many business use a facebook page as their internet presence. In fact social media is diving many content providers to publish content on social media because they are unable to attract visitors to their websites.

    avatar Darren says:

    Websites will be around for a long time to come.

    It took years to come up with an alternative to the post service, so can’t see websites going anywhere fast.

    More and more websites though are using CMS’s though to update content and it makes them look much more professional.

    The other week I was on a website and I thought it had been long abandoned because it was so basic and still based on HTML rather than PHP, SQL and CMS, but then when I looked at the events I realised the events were for 2014. I was really surprised.

    I seem to recall as well about 5 years ago now Steve Jobs announced that Flash and Java were dead technologies and HTML5 was the future.

    I’m still waiting to see a proper switch from Flash to HTML5 for sites like YouTube – they do have a HTML5 option but it’s not the main option and it’s still in “beta testing”.

    All his announcement did though was annoy people with handheld devices and cause them no end of problems because no Apple device would run Flash and Adobe stopped making Flash for Android and Linux without offering any proper alternative to viewing these sites that need Flash.

    Having been at many presentations from fledgling IT companies such as Cisco, Microsoft, Amazon over the years I can confidently state one clear parallel with them all – the general population and even most of the expert press did not understand what these technologies would mean for them or how they would change daily life. Little wonder then that business owners find it hard to grasp how fundamentally these ongoing changes will affect the way consumers use technology for their buying choices. The mobile revolution is well underway while social media is on the wane as our time is too precious for too much chit chat and advertisers had started to employ ever more intrusive techniques. Nothing says ‘buy me’ as convincingly as a friend recommending something so this has to be core to every business strategy. A website is merely one tool in the arsenal that every business must employ to be successful, it will remain in the mix but to think it is the only method of attracting sales is misguided.

    avatar Ferry says:

    The influence of social media can not be separated from the success in terms of marketing a website or blog.
    And indeed it is not allowed to be excluded as well as a way to optimize SEO also

    avatar Troy Johnson says:

    Interesting. I got an email clicked a link to read this article on an old fashioned static web page.

    I never would have discovered this article on social media, because I use social media to engage with friends and promote my own business.

    avatar Quincy says:

    its nice to know I was not the only person that trip on to this page but I have really enjoyed the blog and to see what people think about the evolution of the web page vs social media I truly believe that the web page is here stay and like troy social media is just a way to keep in contact with friends but my visit to FB is a very quick over view and then usally back to work or school

    avatar Mike Cannon says:

    Websites as a whole for businesses are not always just a content storage and marketing facility. Like our company, many have harnessed website technology in the form of application architecture to organize and improve system processes in the cloud which I don’t see disappearing anytime soon.

    avatar Alan Fanning says:

    If the product is good (and good value for money) the customers will come – even if the website is a little clunky.
    There’s no question that given a choice all website owners would love to have the time and money (and know how) to evolve their websites and maximize their exposure (and sales)
    Agreed keeping customers is essential and is a combination of excellent treatment in person and on the internet.
    Owner of Almara B&B Dublin (est. 1991) oldest B&B in Dublin.

    avatar tony says:

    @Troy – I could not have put it better myself

    avatar ostiore says:

    @troy – agreed. the opposite is happennig to be true. twitter doesn’t work and facebook live to adds. neither do represent a business as it should.

    avatar Daniel says:

    a business cannot rely on a third party platform.
    we all saw the changes on Facebook’s algorithms that crashed pages updates (apparently corrected), what if the changes on other Platform change, where would you stand.
    building a powerful site and creating things on a unique way is hard to come buy on third party platforms they are an aid, not the source

    avatar patrickf says:

    Usually something becomes obsolete when it is replaced by something better. Unless the entire internet gets replaced by something else, I do not see websites becoming obsolete. The argument here is that social media will replace websites. Even though social media is widely accepted as a prime communications link, static websites will continue to be a supporting platform to launch these social links.

    avatar Tony says:

    A website is like a business card they will continue to exist!

    avatar Mick says:

    Sorry, that article is nonsense.

    If you are in the business of entertaining people then social media is for you as users will be likely to mention your entertaining article or business.

    If you are in the business of making money then a website directed at making sales and properly marketing it is the route to go.

    Social meda is a mix of people who are interacting with friends with no interest in your business and marketers shouting at each other.

    avatar Ion Saliu says:

    My opinion is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Think of MySpace. It took the ‘Net by storm because it offered every layperson disk space to create a free website. MySpace is dead now for all intents and purposes.

    Enter Facebook, a MySpace clone. Facebook would be now dead for all intents and purposes. Unfortunately, it was a tragedy that popularized Facebook. The mass shooting at Virginia Tech University in 2005 brought Facebook to TV. The victims at Virginia Tech were able to communicate with family and friends by posting to Facebook. It was like closed-circuit TV or phone conferencing.

    That catapulted Facebook’s fame. Millions of people signed up immediately. I did too at that early stage. I abandoned Facebook soon thereafter: It was completely cumbersome! It asked people to create content that was more like classified ads, much like CraigList today!

    Websites will ALWAYS be on the Internet, provided they offer truly worthy content. Facebook, all social media, only offer frivolous content. Social media displays a nauseatic amount of LOLs and frivolous pics, with lots of pets, even sexual innuendo, or even downright sexuality… not to mention bullying…

    Internet will always be about content. CONTENT IS KING – LONG LIVE THE KING!

    avatar Troy Johnson says:

    Content should be King, but it has been dethroned by money. Money is king and social is the king of kings.

    We really like the direction of this article but it is clearly anti-website. We feel that social media and the emerging dominance of apps are a necessary component of the adaptation of a “website”.

    For example, a website with a supporting app being more dominant that a website without, seems ideal.

    In your example, I disagree with the notion that stop signs are somehow , or will be, extinct. Some form of controlling traffic will always exist.

    Websites, are more like a corporate office with an app being an outside sales rep.

    Even if we do away with websites, where do you get the apps?

    Love the article! It makes waves!

    avatar Norm says:

    Great article. I think the point you’re trying to make is to evolve, and adapt your marketing presence. It needs to keep up and even lead your audience. Now of course if ones audience is not online, doesn’t have cell phones, and doesn’t subscribe to cable –then the business owner tailors his/her efforts to that audience. But this is not the web of the late 1990’s and the majority of business owners need to adapt and adopt accordingly.

    avatar Ron Panzer says:

    While you raise some good points, information is still king and if the website is filled with the information that is needed, the website will still be visited, just like Google itself is visited. Why? Because Google is a major source to get the information people want and need.

    Some things like Facebook will change or evolve and some will even find their thrill with Facebook to wear off. Information will never wear off, that is why we are #1 in the niche we fill. Information is king and always will be.

    avatar Michele says:

    Have not seen Google or any other engine shifting their algorythm concentration solely to facebook, twitter etc. – simply because there is no search-worthy CONTENT.

    I built my first site back in 1993, evolving, redeveloping and keeping up. But since business is far more intricate than one-liners and chit-chat, I notice rather a reversal trend, even html5 is only a variation of a websites fundamental premise.
    It will always exist because it is the ‘mother’ of all of internet. No matter what the clouds say – websites are here to stay.
    When we all are over-killed with one fast flash after another, man [and technology is nothing more than discovery by man] mankind will always return to it’s simpler roots when everything else that mushroomed only to crash or extinct itself.

    avatar Troy Johnson says:

    @Michelle, I agree with you about search worthy content on social media.

    But Google has been ranking my social media above my website for over a year. 6 months ago I gutted my facebook profile and it continues to beat my site on a search on my name. My 16 year old site has FAR more information about myself.

    Google absolutely favors social media, Wikipedia, and Amazon too

    avatar Lottery Guy says:

    I love the comment of Michele above.
    “It will always exist because it is the ‘mother’ of all of internet. No matter what the clouds say – websites are here to stay.” Brillant!
    Of course, we have to update, improve the code, add interesting content, fresh news (from time to time), video or so.
    People always will come-back, tired of that flash and “fashion” new web-sites. “Simplicity” is the mother of beauty!.
    Perhaps fashion or music web-sites needs social buzz. Screw-driver manufacturer do not need 10,000 followers on facebook (unless these are bought ones!).
    In the article: “And if your website is static, it’s an endangered species.” Old species are prized well after some time, let’s keep our old web-sites! (improve them, but keep them!).

    avatar Romano says:

    Are we replacing junk mail with junk feeds? For me Social media is a leisure activity and if I do find something I like it usually leads me to a website to make a purchase or read the full article.

    ‘Consider a dynamic feed like Twitter’s juxtaposed with a static website. On the former, you could get lost for hours consuming fascinating details. On the latter, you’ll get the entire download in just a few minutes, and be ready to move on.’

    I think you are talking about consumer facing media only. In B2B I find the opposite is true – you want facts from the horse’s mouth in minutes and not have to wade through cluttered ‘social opinions’ spouted in seconds and with little meaning. In B2B a well designed static web site gets you to the facts you need quickly and you are sure of the source.

    avatar James says:

    I disagree with you on multiple levels. Just like ‘Facebook is dead’, but really they are still experiencing growth. Just like December 12th 2012. Writing an article saying that flat sites are dead, doesnt mean they are. People still need static information. Being a web developer, I make dynamic applications with personalized experiences and such, but like a newspaper… People will still read static.

    avatar Marcel White says:

    For me it’s difficult to understand how a 140 characters post can be viewed as a “stream of data and information available every nanosecond”. No offence, but I believe that only a minority of those using Twitter are able to write something worth reading. BUT, I understand if all that people think exactly the same about what I write on my static site. In the end they’ll win because they largely outnumber people like me.

    avatar Matt says:

    A website can be an online employee. The social media connected to the website is like the business’ cocktail party everyone is open to attend – some useful info, door prizes, some humor, other subjects of interest. A lot would have to change for the website to be replaced altogether and still most businesses would want to maintain custom control of their brand image through their own website. I do concede that the lines between social media and web presence will continue to get closer together.

    avatar Ion Saliu says:

    Marcel White:

    You are absolutely right, axiomatic colleague of mine. It is insane to even think of conveying any valuable information in 140 characters. Forget about content! Facebook realized the stupidity of the 140-character limit and they made their “social media” more flexible lately.

    I do have a Facebook profile page. I only have 130 “friends” — I can barely keep up with all that fast-moving garbage. I eliminated a dozen of them “friends” who were posting an insane amount of meaningless picks on my “timeline”. One of them posted 100 pics in a short period of time! I can’t believe there are people with thousands of Facebook “friends”! That’s an addiction that, fortunately, is curable.

    As I said about MySpace, these things can’t last long. Such fads are alive because we humans are struck sometimes by compulsive-obsessive behavior. I remember when AT&T was broken up as a monopoly. To stay alive, AT&T advertised heavily on TV counting on compulsive-obsessive behavior. “We must keep talking,” was the theme. Pink Floyd created a great song where you can hear AT&T’s TV ad “spoken” by Stephen Hawking: “Keep Talking”, the “Division Bell” album. You can listen to it on YouTube, which will also crash because of blatant piracy.

    Facebook, Twitter and the likes relay on the same message of compulsive-obsessive behavior. They will go the dinosaur’s way, for sure. It happened to even greater computer companies not long ago. Forget about MySpace. Just think of Lotus, WordPerfect, dBaseIII+, even IBM…

    On the other hand, good websites with useful content are there because they serve a very important social service. The books will never die (albeit in digital form only). The good websites will never die. They are like the good books, only in electronic form. Granted, there are also gazillions of terrible Web sites — millions of them die every year. Good riddance!

    I have a difficult time convincing my web design clients that they can’t just have a static website any more. They need to build good content and make it more interactive. You gave me some good ideas for how to approach this. Thanks!

    avatar AK says:

    While the article is trying to enlighten us on the trend as far as internet world is concerned, both static websites and social media have different roles to fulfill and it is unlikely that social medial will replace the roles of static websites.

    We use and encourage the use of WCMS for a dynamic and evolving business site coupled with a strong social media presence across multiple social media platforms and it works. One customer reports a 100% increase over one year.

    avatar Scott Sellars says:

    So you are presuming that business owners have endless hours to locate and populate all these new streams you talk about – wake up and smell the coffee! I have been helping businesses understand the online world for nearly 15 years and, trust me, your average business doesn’t even have time to maintain a simple blog.

    avatar Troy says:

    Precisely. But this reality is exactly what is contributing to the weakening of these businesses.

    SEO, print media, blogging is the future. I will built good content, use SEO for our website. Thanks for article!

    You have water, seeds, top soil, popcorn, salt, and butter. Popcorn is a lovely, healthy, enjoyable treat until you add too much salt and butter, such is social media. In the morning after the tummy ache is over you’ll be happy with that glass of water, as you look over the seeds and decide it’s a good idea to dig up some good old fashion dirt. 🙂

    avatar Gaurav kumar says:

    Thanks for article!
    SEO for blogging is the future..

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