An Outdated Website May Have Bigger Consequences Than You Think
Chris McCutcheon, Interactive Manager
Websites. We see and interact with them every day, and it seems there is one for just about everything. As an interactive manager at ER Marketing, I’ve seen it all when it comes to websites—the good, the bad, and the oh-so-ugly.
Not too long ago I had someone ask me to look at their website. I pulled it up on my phone and nothing showed up. Thinking it was a little strange, I waited until I got home and found it on my iPad. Still nothing. I knew then that something was definitely going on with this site. She said it was new, so why wouldn’t it come up? Turned out the entire site had been done in Flash, which I discovered after I pulled it up on my laptop. She was extremely disappointed and had no idea the person she hired to do her website built it using old technology.
So, ask yourself a few questions about your own website. Does it look good on mobile? Is the site built in Flash? Still using clipart from 1999? Still relying on misguided keyword stuffing? Is it supporting your brand? Unless it’s been updated recently, it might be time to rethink your website.
Here are 3 reasons why it may be time to renovate your website:
1. It’s not mobile friendly.
- Two-thirds (64%) of adults own a smartphone, which means if your site doesn’t render properly, or delivers a bad user experience, potential customers may go elsewhere.
- Google will ding you. They announced last year that sites will be penalized in the rankings if they aren’t mobile friendly. According to research by online ad network Chitika, Google page one results enjoy a whopping 95% of all search traffic, while 91% of searchers never reach page two.
2. Unknown security vulnerabilities.
- Security flaws affecting an older website are much more likely, as these sites rely on older technology.
- Even if you might not have confidential information you are worried about being stolen, there are other reasons you should be concerned, like letting unfiltered data insert into your database. This can cause a high risk of SQL Injection, which leads to your site being hacked—and unwanted links being injected into your site.
- If you use any kind of third-party software—meaning your IT department didn’t code it—you must make sure it is always up-to-date. Any outdated software with security flaws can cause your site to be at risk.
3. High page abandonment rate.
- Many older sites take forever to load. Sure, you may love the large images and the huge slideshow, but it’s probably making your site lag. 47% of consumers expect a webpage to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.  Google values the length of time someone stays on your page, so if your website has a high abandonment rate, your SEO will be negatively impacted as Google puts delivering the best and most relevant content to users first and foremost above all else.
- Poor navigation. If the user doesn’t know what to do or where to go, you are missing out simply because there isn’t any clear direction for the user.
- Many websites fail to deliver a clear sense of what the company offers. Unless you are a well-known brand, you need to let people know who you are and what you can offer them in a way they can understand and easily access.
Here are a few sites in the building products industry to inspire you and get you thinking about your own site:
- Site is responsive and mobile friendly
- Good user experience
- Nice, easy to navigate design
- Loads fairly quickly, even with a full screen slider
- Offers a clear sense of who the company is and what they offer
- Displays well on mobile devices
- Utilizes a card-style layout for chunks of content
- Mobile friendly
- Easy to navigate