Website of the undead

When a website is launched, we say that it went 'Live'. It has a presence on the Internet, taking in visitors and giving out information. It can be as vital and robust as you choose, but even a simple site with just a couple of pages has a life and a purpose.

Unfortunately, many vibrant websites can revert to zombie status in a variety of horrifying ways. Zombie websites continue to exist, but no longer properly serve the business that gave it life. They become undead. Let this be a cautionary reminder of what can happen, and how to take steps to prevent it.

Slow and clumsy

Zombies are slow are clumsy. They keep going in spite of the clear evidence that, to the world around them, they should be terminated. If your website is slow to load, it is killing your online business. No one is going to wait more than a few seconds to see what a site has to offer. The cause of this could be a server problem. If your server isn't properly maintained, with regular security and system updates, your website can demonstrate all the characteristics of a zombie.

Websites are also often slowed by images and other content which are excessively large. Various types of media are essential for conveying information, and setting the look and feel of your website. If they haven't been properly optimized, compressed, or cached, you will have a slow, lumbering hulk of a website.

Zombie apocalypse

You also must update code, and scan for bugs which could generate the equivalent of the zombie apocalypse to your website. You need to look for updates regularly. For open source platforms, such as Drupal or WordPress, version control will allow you to track changes between updates. With version control, like Git or Subversion, all modifications can be reviewed to ensure that changes were done properly. If any mishap occurs, the website can be reverted to a previous healthy state.

Of course, some websites are never rejuvenated. They look exactly the same as they did in, say, 2007 when they were first launched. These sites have no updated SEO, so search engines never find them. They also have graphics and design which, if they are found, make them look as if they died long ago, but no one bothered to tell them. Can anything on the Internet be more gruesome to look at than a pitifully out dated website?

Back from the dead

Finally, there are the saddest zombie websites of all 'Dead Domains! These are sites with once proud domain names which, for various reasons, have been allowed to die and then resurrected. These might be online variations of once larger retailers, or former brick and mortar stores whose online domain was dug up by someone else, and now the website exists to sell for that surviving company.

Don't let your website fall victim to zombies. Take all steps necessary to maintain its survival. It doesn't require voodoo. All you need is a good maintenance program. And brains.

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