Having an outdated website is like showing up to a first date with dead flowers.
You start browsing the internet, looking for a solution to a home issue or business dilemma. You Google a few words, look at the search results and click on a link that looks worthy.
But in the time it takes the page to load, you go from anticipation (and maybe a little excitement) to clicking the back button.
You knew absolutely nothing about their operation — it could have easily been the choice with the best service — but you knew, somehow, you wouldn’t be doing business with them.
Now, I’m not advocating for the "not having one" option, but for a majority of potential customers, their first interaction with your company is your website, so it stands to reason you’d want it to be a positive one – not just having a website for the sake of having a website.
I don’t doubt these site owners spent good money a few years ago getting a site up and online, but it’s time to cut bait or establish a better web presence.
For those who don’t know what’s reasonably expected of a current website, or don’t consider themselves a good judge of what a good one should look like, here’s a few questions to help figure it out.
1. Does your website look good on a mobile device?
According to a digital experience survey conducted by Kentico, 44% of users will never return to websites that aren’t mobile-friendly. The survey also found that 76% of smartphone users and 78% of tablet users return often to websites that look good and work well on their mobile devices.
It's already been two years since mobile exceeded PC internet usage for the first time. Having a responsive or mobile-friendly website that is easy for users to navigate will not only contribute to a more positive user experience, but is now a growing ranking factor with Google.
2. Does your website use default colors?
There was a time when we were limited by color usage because monitors were often limited in the colors they could properly render. Not so anymore. Bottom line: if your website is still using default colors, it’s showing its age.
Try to stick to a color palate that is clean and specific to your brand. Make sure you limit the amount of colors you use to two or three main colors, only utilizing select accent colors when absolutely necessary.
3. Does your website give you a headache?
Designers used to be more limited in what they could do, and as a result websites tended to have very crowded, busy homepages. In other words, they lacked ‘white’ space - those blank parts of a website that don’t contain content. Particularly in this mobile world, it’s important that the content on every page has room to breathe. This not only makes it easier on the eyes, but also allows you to deliver a clear, direct message.
4. Is your website slow?
How much is one second worth to your website? According to KISSmetrics, a one-second delay in page load time can result in a 7% decrease in conversion rate. For an e-commerce website making $100,000 per day, that equates to a whopping $2.5 million in lost sales each year.
So speed kills, but lack of speed does too. If it takes your web pages more than 3 seconds to load, there’s a good chance you need to make some updates. Optimizing your images, compressing page components, and minimizing HTTP requests are just a few updates you can make to improve your site’s speed.
5. Is your website using Flash?
Flash is the shag carpeting of websites, and is one of the most common signs your website needs some serious renovating. (We can’t help you if you still like shag carpet.) The majority of mobile devices and tablets don’t support Flash and it’s also very difficult for search engines to scan.
6. Do the images on your website remind you of 90’s clip art or staged stock photos?
You may think they look professional, but low-quality, generic images not only make your website look dated, but impacts its overall credibility with visitors. While many web designers still incorporate stock photos, you want to make sure those photos are of the highest quality and avoid cliché or overly posed images - think someone sitting at a computer and pointing, or a business person standing with their arms crossed.
7. Was your website trendy when it was built?
I can’t tell you how good I used to look in pleated pants. I mean, they looked good…until they looked terrible. Do you remember when your website was first launched? Was it all the rage then? Unless your website was built in the last year or so, there’s a good chance it already looks outdated. A website is an investment, so unless you have the budget to constantly make visual changes, you want to avoid choosing a design just because it follows the newest trend.
8. Is your website’s navigation intuitive?
If you ask us, user experience has always been important, but it’s really received the focus it deserves over the last few years. Do you think visitors can find what they need when they come to your website? Or are they overwhelmed by the number of navigation options? Just like maintaining white space, websites need to keep navigation simple and clean, and offer clear calls-to-action and internal linking to help users find their way.
9. Can you easily update your website’s content?
While not immediately visible to website visitors, a website that doesn't give you the ability to easily go in and update content or add new pages without the help of a web developer is another clear sign that you’re due for a redesign.