I used to think that to study websites was to study extremes.
On one side: the flashers, the rock stars, the sites that cost the same as a luxury car.
On the other side: the stagnant “business card” sites that haven’t been updated in 10 years.
That’s true, those exist. What’s also true is that there’s a great, big middle ground of mash up. Some of those flashy sites from years ago need structural updates so badly that they can’t perform. But they cost so much and show so little return that the owners get indigestion just thinking about going through it again. Some of those simple sites are neglected because their owners are so busy doing their actual work that there simply hasn’t been time to change it. Business is good so it seems unnecessary, and little thought is given to what an old, unattractive site does for reputation. There are plenty of DIY sites with varying degrees of performance. The land of websites is a melting pot.
I think it’s really interesting that two of my favorite writers, Anne Lamott and Anne Tyler, have parked domains. No websites. Perhaps it’s because they are already well established and became so before the internet but I don’t think it’s that simple. The internet’s been here a long time and they both have released and promoted books online, just without a dot com after their names. I want to think about that: the gravitas of their writing careers may just be a result of that decision. Neither of them is an average ebook-flash-in-the-pan. I’d bet that unplugging is part of their practice.
Just something I think about. I want the kind of writing career that doesn’t depend on the internet in order to exist.