Tuesday, June 10, 2008

WJMA and the Missing Round Tuit

I checked in on the WJMA website yesterday and discovered (not to my surprise) virtually no change. I've been using our local radio station's website in a series of blog posts as an example of how not to work the web.

Regardless of where you live (and we do have some international readers), I've tried to make these posts about WJMA relevant. The issues with this station's website are not unique -- they can be found in business sites all over the Internet. And as more revenue moves to the web, potential customers are increasingly less forgiving of sites that simply "don't get it."

So what can we learn from WJMA today? Nothing's really changed from our last visit -- and in fact, not much as really been done to the site since we started looking at it in detail last November.
I strongly suspect that the person in charge of the site isn't a full-time employee -- or if they are, this isn't their full-time job. And that's a huge mistake.

Even brick-and-mortar storefronts need constant maintenance. Imagine the impact on a business if a roof leak went unattended for years -- or if shelves, once stocked, were never touched again, so most of the merchandise had a fine layer of dust coating it.

An unattended website makes the equivalent impression. WJMA's site still bears a 2006 copyright date. Content remains static -- save for the ever-cryptic "headlines." Today we learn that "If you live in the town of Culpeper, you'll be receiving a survey from the Culpeper Police in the next two weeks."?!?

WJMA finally turned off the snow advisory scroll on their homepage but haven't replaced it with anything, so there's now a big blank lozenge in the upper right corner. I'm sure the web person (not sure "master" is the appropriate term here) will get around to it eventually, but in the meantime there it sits. And what's out there on WJMA's site -- not what they're eventually going to put out there -- is the first impression potential advertisers have of the station.

Smart retailers know the value of maintenance. A store that's cleaned daily and continually restocked maintains a healthy customer base. The same's true online. And any business with an online presence needs to staff it properly in order to grow. A Round Tuit isn't the answer -- if you're serious about your business.

- Ralph


  1. It's "round tuit" time over at wjmafm.com. The home page now says "Under Construction", but it doesn't say what they're building.

  2. "Under Construction" signs drive me pluperfect nuts. Either change the site or don't. We're rebuilding ours, but it's all done on a separate server. You'll go to DCDRecords.com one day and voila! No interruption of service, and no one has to know how long the new site was in development.

    - Ralph