The web has come a long way since its beginning, and the capabilities of and potential features for websites seem to be endless now. The beauty of having a custom business website is that you can create it into almost anything you want, which is why it makes sense for your website to be your most important online marketing tool. It can be the thing that represents your company values through an effective design and well written content, can provide important information about your business, and can include useful features that make for more engaging interactions with your customers. However, there comes a time when your website goes from modern and attractive to outdated, both in the technology and design sense. Below is a list of indicators that your website might be outdated, and a red flag that you may be due for some updates or a redesign.
Your Website Isn’t Mobile Friendly
If you pull up your website on a cell phone and have to zoom in and out in order to read the text or view the images on the pages, then this is a sure sign that your website isn’t mobile friendly. Mobile friendly websites are built to reformat for different screen sizes, making the experience of viewing the website much more user friendly on cell phones or tablets. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, not only could it be steering potential customers away from your website, but it could be hurting your search engine ranking. Google began penalizing websites that aren’t mobile friendly in recent years, resulting in those websites not showing up as high in Google searches.
The Design of Your Site Uses Outdated Design Trends
There are a lot of potential signs that your website could have an outdated design, but one of the most obvious signs to look for is if your website still has a hit counter. Other signs to look out for are a cluttered layout, obvious stock photos, little to no variation in text sizes and styles, use of a Flash player, an excessive amount of colors, long sections of text without images or graphics to break it up, bevels and shadows, and as mentioned above, a layout that isn’t mobile friendly.
It’s Difficult to Make Content Updates
Content management systems (CMS) have become a major website trend in recent years, and for a good reason. A CMS is a website platform that’s made with the website owner in mind, as it allows the website owner/manager to log into the website and make content updates with ease. WordPress is the most popular CMS, and the one we prefer. Not only are CMS great for easily updating website content, but there are thousands of developers creating add-on features for them, making the possibilities endless when it comes to website features.
The Proper Security Measures Haven’t Been TakenThe number one sign that your website isn’t secure enough is whether or not your website address appears with https:// rather than http:// at the beginning of the address. Https:// shows that your website has been set up with an SSL certificate, which is something that creates a secure website experience for all your website visitors by encrypting information passed between the website and the visitor’s browser. Other security measures can be set up for your website, but they’re much easier to set up with a CMS like WordPress because they come with the ability to quickly and easily install security features. Aside from these secure measures, you should always make sure to create secure passwords (random numbers, letters, and symbols work best) for things like your web hosting account, email account, and CMS login pages. If you have a WordPress website, you should also make sure to stay up to date on theme, plugin, and WordPress core updates in order to avoid becoming susceptible to hackers.
Your Page Layouts Use Minimal White Space
“White space” is a graphic design term that refers to the empty space around the elements of a design document or web page. It helps to separate elements like graphics and text, and creates a cleaner and more digestible viewing experience. If your website looks cluttered and has small margins between elements, then it’s probably lacking the proper white space to appear modern and legible in today’s standards.
Your Website Is Using a Flash PlayerFlash Players have been viewed as an outdated website trend for quite some time now. For one, they require that Adobe Flash Player be installed on every viewer’s browser in order for the viewer to see the content that the Flash Player is trying to display, which can be frustrating for those who don’t already have it installed. There have also been a lot of advances in web animation technology in recent years, and Flash Player is often a last resort if web developers can’t achieve the effect they want with newer technologies. Unless you absolutely have to use a Flash Player because it’s the only viable option for what you’re trying to achieve on your website, it should be avoided and replaced with something more current.
There’s Hardly Any Content On Your Pages
Although there’s something to be said about being concise with writing, when it comes to websites there’s a fine line between being concise and providing enough content for a good search engine ranking. If your pages are noticeably short (only a paragraph or two), then you may want to consider rewriting your page content or hiring a professional to do so. A professional writer can not only help you write effective content tailored to your business, but will also know the best practices for making your content search engine friendly.
The Navigation Is Confusing or Overcomplicated
The best way to determine if website visitors are having a hard time navigating your website and finding the information they’re looking for is by finding willing participants to navigate your website themselves and provide feedback. If possible, you should find participants that are both familiar and unfamiliar with your industry so you can get multiple perspectives. A large majority of people who browse the internet do so on their cell phones, in which case having an understandable menu and easy-to-find information is crucial for smaller screens. Confusing navigation is a quick way to frustrate website visitors on any device, which can result in losing website traffic.
Your Website Has a Slow Loading Speed
Does it take more than five seconds to load a page on your website? This is a sure sign that your website is running slower than it should, and that it may be driving away traffic. There are plenty of steps that can be taken to improve your website speed, like upgrading your web hosting, optimizing images, and caching pages. You can visit Google PageSpeed Insights and enter your domain name to see how your website speed is doing, and to get insights on improvements that can be made.
Your Website Isn’t Showing Up in Searches
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a term used to refer to steps that can be taken to improve your ranking in search engines, making your website easier to find by showing up higher in relevant searches. A lot of these improvements can be made right on your website, but there are a lot of outside factors that can impact your SEO as well. The more outside links you have pointing to your website, the better your ranking will be over time. Places like online business directories and social media platforms are the most impactful places to list your business website and information because they have such high volumes of traffic. As far as improvements right on the website go, the most beneficial thing that you can do for your website is to provide great content for website visitors, both on your pages and in blog posts.
If any of the above signs ring true for your website, or if it’s just been a long time since your website was updated, we’d be happy to talk to you more about how your website could be improved. Keeping your website up to date with a modern design and fresh content not only makes you look good, but it shows your customers that you care about being professional and up to date. Give us a call or send us an email if you want to get the conversation started about your website, we’d be happy to help!