Waiting for the Great Pumpkin
Every Halloween night, my family observes a beloved tradition. After the kids have finished their trick or treating, the costumes have been taken off and put away, their faces cleaned, teeth brushed, and pajamas put on, we sit down together and watch the classic Halloween special, "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."
I love this special and have been watching it since I was a child myself, but thinking about the show recently, as I considered topics for my annual Halloween-themed article here on Pumpkin-King.com, I identified something in the story that I had never really considered much before - specifically in regards to Linus and his unwavering belief in the mythical Great Pumpkin.
Despite the letdown he experiences each year and what the evidence before him shows, he refuses to accept the truth. I recognize this misguided faith, because I regularly see a similar belief in some of the people I speak with about their outdated and underperforming websites.
I’ve always felt bad for Linus. I mean, let’s be honest, the rest of the Peanuts gang were pretty mean to him. He is clearly younger than his sister and the other kids and his childhood faith in his Halloween deity does nothing but draw their ridicule. Kids can be jerks sometimes.
While I can appreciate Linus' dedication to his belief, the reality is that he pays a price for that faith - no trick or treating and bags of candy or fun at the Halloween party. Instead, he spends each Halloween sitting in a “sincere” pumpkin patch hoping that this year will be different.
Similarly, companies who stubbornly cling to the belief that their website is working for them, despite evidence to the contrary, are paying a price for that faith as well. This price is much more than just the loss of some Halloween candy, however - it is often the loss of new business.
Websites Don’t Last Forever
Even the best website, built on the latest platform with the most current standards, will become outdated at some point. You may have a dedication to continuous improvement on your website, but changes such as new browsers, devices, or best practices often require changes in websites that go beyond simple updates or ongoing maintenance.
Unfortunately, many companies, few of whom have that aforementioned “dedication to continuous improvement”, convince themselves that their websites are “just fine.” You can show them how their site performs poorly on many newer devices - such as smartphones or tablets, how it doesn’t rank effectively in search engines, or how the overall user experience is confusing, but just like Linus refuses to look at the facts and see the truth, so too do many companies who balk at the thought of investing in their website.
The reality is that if you invest nothing in your website, it will give you nothing in return. Meanwhile, your competition is investing in their online presence and attracting the business that could be going to you.
What You Put In Is What You Get Out
Instead of saying “my website does nothing for my business - therefore I’m not going to invest in it”, you should be thinking “my website does nothing for my business - why is that and what can I do to change it?”
A website is a tool for your business and, like any other tool, it is only worth what you invest in it and how you well maintain it. A free or low-cost do-it-yourself website provided as an add-on by some web hosting company is worth what you paid for it - little to nothing. Similarly, a website - any website - that is launched and then completely neglected will not give you the results you desire. You need to start with a quality website and adopt a realistic workflow for keeping its content updated and relevant.
What you put into a website is what you will get out of it. Start by partnering with a professional web designer or agency that can help you answer that question - “why does my website do nothing for my business and what can I do to change it?”
Get Out of the Pumpkin Patch
Childhood faith in an unseen holiday deity is endearing. Pigheaded insistence that an outdated website will somehow miraculously begin working for your business, thereby requiring no additional attention or investment, is just plain silly. Don’t be silly - get your business, and your website, out of that pumpkin patch and join the party. It’s much nicer here - and we have candy.