10 clear signs your website is out of date – and what you can do about it

26th September 2017

Every website needs an update from time to time. That’s just the way it is.

old computer unitIf your website is more than 2 or 3 years old, and hasn’t been looked at for a while, there’s a good chance it needs updating. It could have problems – that aren’t even visible to you or your audience – which require more urgent attention.

Even if it’s only ensuring core features are up to date, the web moves so quickly these days, that it’s easy to get left behind. Fail to keep things in check now and you could have more serious problems down the line.

How do I know if my website is out of date?

Technical demands, people’s viewing habits and even the way Google ranks your website change constantly. Ensuring users can find your site, navigate comfortably through it and fulfil your business objectives before leaving, requires regular attention,

In this post I want to share some of the most common issues we encounter that indicate a website requires some attention.

10 telltale signs your website is out of date and needs a makeover

1. Slow loading pages

Google pays a lot of attention to the time web pages take to load. Frequently, they rank quicker pages above those with slow loading times. This is backed up by research showing visitors increasingly expect sites to appear at lightning speed.

Use a tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to test your own site. If the homepage takes longer than 3 seconds to load – over a good broadband connection – there’s a chance you have a problem. Don’t panic, this does not mean your entire website needs redesigning. There are usually small edits that can make a big difference to page load speeds.

2. Low ranking for your most important keywords

If you’re not generating traffic from your most important keywords you should definitely consider refreshing your text, re-writing important pages, and presenting them in a way that’s more search-engine friendly.

Optimisation may sound like hard work, but it can’t be ignored. Always use well written text, rich in the keywords that apply to your business and apply meta-tags, headings and clearly-labelled images to every page.

3. Your website doesn’t look good on mobile phones or tablets

Depending on what business you’re in, 40%-60% of your web traffic will be using a phone or tablet to visit your website. If it doesn’t look impressive across all devices there’s a very good chance that human beings – and search engines – will pass you by, in favour of those that do.

how to update websiteWebsites that adapt to different screen sizes are known as ‘responsive’. Any site that struggles to load on a smartphone, or where text, calls-to-action and images are out of sequence, enlarged or shrunk is not responsive and in need of updating.

Google now place such importance on mobile, they provide this free tool for owners to check the ‘responsiveness’ of their sites.

4. You’re not generating new leads online

A website should be your best marketing tool, generating sales, new leads and growing your business on a daily basis. The most successful sites include well designed landing pages, short and precise contact forms, prominently placed calls-to-action and helpful links to the most important pages.

If your website isn’t generating sales, leads or conversions it’s not doing it’s job and it’s time for a change. Check out your most successful competitors and note what they do better than you. Make it a goal to reproduce those same elements on your own website.

5. You don’t have a Content Management System (CMS)

Using a CMS to manage your website makes it easy for you and your team to control its content without having to use code, or require any programming skills. A Content Management System – like WordPress for example – allows you to edit pages easily, write a blog and give multiple users different permission levels and roles.

6. Flash and Java are a big no no

If your website is still using Flash or Java elements stop reading this article and start redesigning it now. Most mobile devices can’t handle either software and Chrome no longer even supports Flash.

This is a classic case of what I mentioned earlier – the evolution of the web. While add-ons such as Adobe Flash used to be the best way to display multimedia elements, it’s been surpassed by quicker, smarter technology.

7. Your Analytics are crying out for help.

Analytics can tell you a lot about your website’s health. High bounce rates or very low levels of time spent on your site should be taken as warning signs. Likewise, if visitors only view a page or two before leaving your site there’s definitely room for improvement.

(By the way, if you’re not already using Google Analytics to measure your website’s performance you really should be.)

8. You’re receiving large amounts of spam email or warnings of attack

This one’s self explanatory. Cyber attacks are on the increase as are the number of people trying to spam your website with dodgy links. Online security has never been more of a threat to business owners than it is now and it’s vital your website is resistant to hackers.

Warning messages or large amounts of email from unfamiliar addresses are clear warning signs, that should be acted on promptly.

9. Your website looks old fashioned and out of date

Be honest, take a look at the competition and ask yourself the question; ‘does my website look as good as theirs’. Then ask colleagues, friends and even clients what they think. Good design may be timeless, but taste and progress often define our view of what looks attractive – especially online.

First impressions are everything and – as the old saying goes – you only have a few seconds to seduce your audience. After that you’ve lost them forever. If your website is out of date and doesn’t match their expectations visitors will simply move on.

10. It offers a poor user experience or has technical errors

website is out of date

Nothing gets visitors hitting the back button faster than hard to find content, links that don’t work or difficulty navigating a website. Explore your site on different browsers and devices. Take the same passage you’d like new customers to travel – through to conversion. Then ask the question ‘could this be easier?’

The purpose of your website is to provide visitors with everything they need to make an informed buying decision. People are searching for answers. If it’s a struggle to find them they’ll look elsewhere.

How to keep your website up to date and relevant

Websites don’t last forever – but conscientious design should make it easy to update and edit them without too much hassle. By far the best policy is to make regular technical checks of your site and address any issues as soon as they’re identified.

Maintain control over your content. If necessary learn how to manage future updates in-house. The ability to test new marketing ideas, add or edit pages and run a blog are important.

Refresh or redesign?

If you’re happy with the overall style and functionality of your website a refresh could be all you need. That usually involves nothing more complex than updating security plugins, or optimising pages for more traffic.

But if your site is beginning to look seriously dated – particularly if it doesn’t look good on mobile phones – a rebuild might be the only answer. This doesn’t have to be expensive. Sometimes simply swapping an outdated theme for something more contemporary can make all the difference.

A full ground-up re-build will cost more, but does have its advantages. You’ll be starting over, with full control of your new website’s look and feel. Giving you the chance to present your visitors with a perfect user experience.

If you’d like your website to work a little harder for you, or it’s beginning to show its age, we can help. Give us a call and ask for Richard or Rachel +34 928 359 902, they’ll be happy to offer you a few suggestions.

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