Night comes sooner now and Halloween is fast approaching. The spooky season is felt even in the office where we're swapping some frightening tales that happened to perfectly ordinary business owners --like you!
Turn down the brightness button on your screen, huddle up with your marketing manager, and prepare to be terrified!
The Webmaster Who Was Not There
Not long ago, a small company needed to build their first website. A colleague gave them the name of a webmaster who didn't seem to charge very much for his services.
The small company was originally drawn to the low price and then pleased by the attractive site that the webmaster created for them. The new website served the small company well for months.
But as the small company grew, they needed to add some functionality to their site. They emailed the webmaster, but their message bounced back as "undeliverable." The small company dialed the webmaster's contact number, but the number was no longer in service. They googled and even questioned the colleague who had introduced them, but to no avail.
The webmaster had completely disappeared!
Desperate, the small company tried to hire another webmaster, but he took one look at the convoluted code and threatened them with a terrifying choice between two immense invoices: Payment for studying, unraveling and fixing the current site or payment for creating a totally new website.
As the wretched small company was forced to hand over a check with trembling hands, they swear they heard faint laughter echoing around them.
Websites that Live in the Past
In 1901, two women walking in the haunted gardens of the Petit Trianon apparently stepped back to the days of Marie Antoinette. They saw buildings and spoke to people from an earlier century, as if time had stopped in 1792.
Stopped time! Preposterous, you say? And yet, if you were to go online right now, you would find websites frozen in time from 2007, 2004 or even earlier.
Like a ghost hunter, you can explore shadowy websites whose last blog posts are shrouded in cobwebs and whose dusty calendars herald events that happened years ago. These websites aren't dead – they just live in the past, stuck in a real Twilight Zone episode, until someone updates their pages and brings them back to life.
The Invisible Website
One blustery evening, as the dry leaves whirled around them, a young couple headed home from work. It had been a long, exhausting day and they weren't looking forward to fixing dinner.
"I know!" said the young woman. "Let's go to that sushi place we heard about last week. Don't they have an awesome Happy Hour on Tuesdays?"
"No, I'm pretty sure it was on Thursdays," her husband replied.
"Well, look it up on your iPhone."
The young man searched on his iPhone and eventually found a link that looked like it went to the sushi restaurant they had heard about, but when he clicked on it, all they could see was a blank page. No Happy Hour information, no address, no phone number. Just an eerie white glow on the iPhone screen.
The Flash pages might have looked stunning on a desktop computer monitor, but on the young man's iPhone, the pages were completely invisible.
Frightened and confused by the invisible website, the young couple hurriedly shut off the iPhone's display and took refuge in their usual Mexican restaurant, leaving the sushi place deserted.
Avoid being terrorized! Small business owners get the best results by doing a little goal-planning for their websites. Setting expectations, measuring visits and analyzing the results keeps both webmaster and business owner on track and moving forward.
So take the time to work with your Dr. Van Helsing, er, webmaster, to drive out the evil from your small business website. And keep the scares for Halloween, where they belong.