LearnPaul Boag: The Demise of the Website

Treehouse
writes on May 12, 2009

At the Future of Web Design in London, Ryan Carson grabbed Paul Boag for a quick chat. We covered the “demise of the website”, important tips for web designers and how to sell your design skills.

Here are the major takeaway points from the interview:

  1. We’re approaching the “demise of the website”. Your website is no longer your only route to your customers. You should be publishing your content and entering conversations in as many channels as possible including: AudioBoo, Twitter, FaceBook and FriendFeed.
  2. Biggest tip for web designers: Learn how to “sell yourself”. This means you need to be comfortable selling your skills and ideas to potential customers. A large part of this is healthy self-promotion.
  3. It’s important to never fool your customers, even if the end-game is honorable. A great example is IE6update.com. It essentially uses JavaScript to trick users into upgrading from IE6 to the latest version of Internet Explorer. In general that’s a great thing, but tricking people to do it is deceitful. This lesson applies to sales and marketing – never try to fool people – they’ll always find you out.

If selling yourself and healthy self-promotion are key to being a successful web designer, what’s the best way to do it? Please give us your thoughts in the comments.

Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/kurafire

45 Responses to “Paul Boag: The Demise of the Website”

  1. There is a blogpost on here about the new google Wave application. I think THAT is the ultimate website killer, and we will need to think outside the box on how to monopolize and make money off that.

  2. The "demise of the website" is an interesting concept. Obviously websites will be with us for a long time to come. But customers hiring someone to build them a website so they can have a web presence is becoming less and less important I think.
    Also, check out http://deathtoie6.com , obviously the same goal as IE6 Update but the script will explain to the user that IE6 is bad, and will redirect them to http://abetterbrowser.org to help them use something better.
    Cheers

  3. The "demise of the website" is an interesting concept. Obviously websites will be with us for a long time to come. But customers hiring someone to build them a website so they can have a web presence is becoming less and less important I think.
    Also, check out http://deathtoie6.com , obviously the same goal as IE6 Update but the script will explain to the user that IE6 is bad, and will redirect them to http://abetterbrowser.org to help them use something better.
    Cheers

  4. Paul Boag is so right with what he said. a website or a seller should not fool their clients because if you fool your client, then you would not get their loyalty. at least if you know that your consumers or clients are loyal to you, no matter what happens, you would never go zero when it goes to your clients.

  5. It's true that other channels can be used to get people interested in our content, but I think the website is still the fundamental first point of call for many of our users and customers, both new and existing.

  6. If a tool is not working though (examples being the Twitter outages lately, Facebook experiencing some possible technical problem, etc.),

  7. I’ve done a lot of searching on google for this type of content. Glad I finally found this site! Great work.

  8. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  9. As a noob on the subject I learnt a lot from your post. Thanks!

  10. Good web designers make things work in IE6 – not dismiss them as 'uneducated peasants'. Maybe not 100% but so the website functions.

    Some don't have a choice, some don't care, some don't know what a 'browser' is. They just double-click 'The Blue E' and think it is the Internet.

    I wish people would see this and stop hating IE6. It will be around for a long, long time to come…

  11. I'm not sure I agree with the idea that websites are "in demise". It's true that other channels can be used to get people interested in our content, but I think the website is still the fundamental first point of call for many of our users and customers, both new and existing.

    Most of us in the industry have a tendency to forget that average users don't use (and often aren't even aware of) half the technologies that Paul mentioned as alternatives. We shouldn't assume that our website is now less important simply because our own lives are saturated with alternate methods for pushing out content.

    Average users aren't us. They don't use Twitter or RSS the way we do, and if they use YouTube or Facebook it's to watch videos of Scottish singing sensations or share daft pictures of cats.

  12. Hi Paul,
    Thanks for the post… I appreciate it….

  13. I normally like most of what Paul says, but I think recently he (and others) have begun to 'preach' and focus on quantity not quality.

    I think this video is a little off the mark for a few reasons:

    1 – A website has NEVER been the ONLY route to your customers (as you say in point 1) – a website should always be ONE PART of a marketing plan.

    2 – Integration with other mediums is not a new concept – Before Twitter there was RSS, YouTube, etc.

    3 – Whilst it's clearly advisable for Paul to get a high profile on twitter, etc, most business won't benefit to the same degree from this type of online PR.

    I completely agree with Paul's comments on selling yourself though. There's so many talented designers/developers out there that you have to raise your profile, which he is excellent at.

    That's my ten pence anyway…

    James

  14. Demise? I think that is the wrong concept for what is happening. Maybe extending the presence of a web site is a better view of what companies should be doing. I completely agree that companies should use any new tools that further their presence. If a tool is not working though (examples being the Twitter outages lately, Facebook experiencing some possible technical problem, etc.), then a company needs to make sure their site is more than adequate and engaging to customers.

  15. Thank you very much for taking the time to post this. Everyone should know about these things. I enjoy learning new things so I subscribe to blogs like yours. Garnet

  16. Love Paul. But is Ryan Carson like 7 feet tall? Paul looks like a small child speaking up to an adult. Hilarious!

  17. Dave – Great idea. I guess I could try! 🙂

  18. What I don't understand is why someone "high profile" in the web industry (Paul, Ryan I'm looking at you) doesn't ask the BBC if they can go on "BBC Breakfast" and do a slot on the importance of having an up to date browser.

    Surely they'd be open to it. You could frame it as "security". Any thoughts (as this may be a flawed suggestion)?

  19. Hey Ryan! Paul, we've met. 😀

    Sorry you don't feel IE6Update is the way to go. We understand the taboo of duping a UI element, but often times, IE6 users don't understand the difference between their browser and the Internet. Think about that for just a second…

    Done21 is my company, but by day I'm a software engineer at a healthcare consulting firm, and to say that I've worked with large populations of IE6 users is putting it lightly. From my experience, I've found that explanations and education go a long way, but some users will just never understand, or care to understand. IE6Update designed to build awareness through channels they're accustomed to. It isn't right for every audience, and for many, it should be considered a last resort.

    I know we'll probably never agree on this, but regardless, thanks for speaking up and sharing your thoughts. 😀

    Nick Pettit
    Co-Creator of IE6Update.com

  20. badass on May 12, 2009 at 12:08 pm said:

    I would have to disagree on the IE6 part,

    IE6 users are uneducated and are ignoring the web's advancements, I would use a gun if needed to make an IE6 user upgrade!

  21. I did post another reply to you Ryan and it's showing up in the comment count but not underneath yours!

  22. Promote, sell yourself and don’t lie.
    Hasn’t that always been the case?

    Nothing new.

  23. What??? How did IE6Update even fit into that list? Getting really bored of Paul's opinion on the matter being shoved down everyone's throats – it remains, after all, an opinion – and at the moment it seems to be the scapegoat for absolutely everything.

    "oh yeah my cat died last week" – "probably IE6Update"

    "my web design business isn't marketing itself very well" – "definitely IE6Update"

    "I have a strange rash on my left leg" – "you've been using IE6Update haven't you"

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