Does Your Website Need an Extreme Makeover??
Have you ever stumbled on a website and thought “What a total piece of crap”. I come across lots of sites on a regular basis where I simply cannot believe that the owner is actually happy to call that their website. The domain is being renewed every year as is the hosting, so obviously the owner knows that having a website is important. They obviously see their site with rose-tinted glasses and consider it to be the most amazing and beautiful website ever made, even though it dates back to the ‘90s and the last time it was updated nobody had even heard of Facebook or Twitter.
There are lots of telltale signs that scream out to me that a website is in urgent need of a makeover or in some cases, a complete redesign. In this article I will go through the various aspects that should help you to decide whether your website needs to be updated, and why keeping such your website in its current state will only damage your business in the long run.
Is your website responsive ?
Have you checked to see what your website looks like when viewed from a smart phone or a tablet ?? If you are not using a responsive theme or template, then the chances are that your website will look like a complete mess and be unusable for most visitors.
If your website is over 5 years old, and in that time you have not updated it, then it is most likely not mobile friendly. Most website templates and Wordpress themes today are fully responsive, meaning that they will work fine on all devices such as desktops, laptops, smart phones and tablets.
If you open your website on a smart phone and see that it looks tiny, has text you can barely read and trying to click a link is impossible unless you have pins for fingers, then the odds are that the site is not responsive. With more than 50% of internet traffic now coming through mobile devices, it is vitally important that you make sure your website can be properly used on such devices. If the purpose of your website is to make money and increase sales, then you are pretty much throwing away half of your traffic.
If you are using Wordpress for your website, then you can simply find a responsive theme and replace it with your outdated existing one. If you have a static HTML site, then you will probably have a bit more work on your hands as you’ll need to remake your website with a new responsive template.
When was your site last updated ?
It is always a good thing to keep your website updated, with photos, news and other useful information that would be helpful to your visitors. If you haven’t updated your site in a while, then it will start to go stale. Are you displaying any information that has a specific date or year related to it ?? If you are displaying a price list of your products or services, are these prices up to date ??
It’s amazing how many times I’ve visited websites such as those for hotels and accommodation, and see that they are displaying their price list with the heading of “Hotel Room Rates for 2013” at the top of the page.
If you do display information for prices of what you offer, make sure they are your current prices. I know of several instances where people have seen a price for a room on a hotel website, but when they have gone and stayed there, they are charged a completely different ( higher ) price. In some cases, the customer has demanded that the hotel honor the prices that they display on the website, and the hotel owner, wishing to avoid any further problems or bad reviews has agreed to this at their loss.
Another thing to check if your copyright notice that usually appears at the bottom of websites. Is yours up to date ?? If it says something like “Copyright 2008 – All Rights Reserved” then this is also another sign that tells me that the website is not updated on a regular basis.
If you have blog posts on your website and your most recent blog post was from 2012, don’t you think that this gives a negative impression to visitors to your site ?? The impression I would get from this is that the website owner simply cannot be bothered with the website any more. That tells me that it might be worth looking for another website that is a little more maintained and updated.
Your content is outdated
If your website is talking about the upcoming 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, or the Michael Jackson concert that you saw last week, then you really need to do something to get your site more up to date. Having information on it that is clearly outdated, gives the impression that you really don’t care and have lost interest in maintaining the site.
Keeping your website up to date and adding fresh content is not as difficult as you might imagine. There are tons or resources out there where you can find information and news related to your specific business or niche, and by spending just a few hours a week, you can start creating new and fresh content that will not only bring your website back into the current decade, but also show your visitors that you are still around and are enthusiastic about your site.
How much space does the website take up on your screen ?
When I first started developing websites back in 2002, the maximum screen resolution that you designed for was 800x600. There were some cases when it was even smaller than this. If you need a magnifying glass to properly see your website, then it might be time to consider remaking it.
Having a website with such a small resolution, as well as being unresponsive in design which I am positive they will be, is a big turn off for me, and I usually just head back to Google and look for another website relating to what I am searching for. The only time I might actually look through a site such as this is for informational purposes, such as researching a period of history. As history tends not to change too much over the years, the information on such sites should still be valid, even if the design of the website itself is something that would feel more at home at the web design graveyard.
The use of Flash
Back in the day, Flash websites were something that had the “wow” factor. Text would fall from the top of the screen and slot into place nicely, while images faded in and out of nowhere. The use of the Flash technology for websites was something that was in high demand, and everyone who was anyone wanted to have some element of Flash on their websites.
I remember back when I started out and was learning how to code in HTML, I was very jealous of those who could use Flash. I did try and learn it myself and at one point ( probably after about 4 days of trying ) I was able to make a word spin around and then zoom out of the screen. However, after reading that in terms of SEO Flash was not something that was good for your sites, I gave up trying to learn it, and carried on with HTML and then moved onto PHP. It was a decision I do not regret !
At the end of 2016 Google made good on its promise to block Flash content on its Chrome browser, and in turn made HTML5 the preferred way to display content. Facebook also made HTML5 the default format for videos. Today if you go and visit a website via Chrome that is either made with Flash or contains Flash elements you will have to enable the Flash Player in the browser settings before you can see them ( and in most cases, it really isn’t worth the effort ).
Put simply, if you are still using any element of Flash on your website, you need to take action immediately.
By animated gifs, I don’t mean the often funny memes that you can find all over the website and across Facebook. I mean things such as a small image of an envelope that opens and closes and says “Email Me” on the top. Or maybe your website is working in multiple languages and you are using animated waving flag images to allow people to switch languages. I’ll put my hand up and admit to be guilty of using such flag images myself when I first started out developing multi language websites, though I’ve long since gone the route of using static images in their place many years back.
These types of animated gifs were the norm about 15 years ago, but they soon became consigned to the scrapheap due to their tacky nature. If your website is using similar animated gifs then it really is time to seriously consider giving your site a much needed facelift.
Is your CTA ( if it even exists ) getting you results ?
These days websites are designed to achieve the best results for the business via the CTA that are strategically placed around the website. These can be for a variety of things and each business will have their own desired results from their CTAs.
Does your current website even have any ? If your website is for your business, it is achieving what you want it to ?? Is your phone ringing ? Are your products selling ? Are people signing up to your newsletter ? Are you getting Likes and Shares on Facebook ?? If your CTA is none existent or not working, then you should seriously consider getting your website remade. After all, isn’t the whole point of having a website to generate more business and revenue for you ?
Does your site take ages to load ?
Loading speed is an essential part of any successful website, and the quicker the website loads, the better experience it will be for visitors. If your site takes ages to load, then there is a good chance that a lot of visitors won’t bother hanging around waiting for it, and will simply click back and find another website. There are a variety of reasons why a website might be slow loading so you might want to investigate this aspect of your site further.
Is there any sign of Social Media on your website ?
Social media is everywhere – its simply unavoidable. It is a very valuable tool for many businesses and as well as providing people with alternative ways to connect with you, it can also be a very powerful promotion tool as well.
Do you have any social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram set up for your business ?? If you don’t have any then go and get started with them right away. If you do have social media accounts, are you showing them on your website ?
You will have noticed that almost all popular and modern websites have their social media accounts shared across the website. Whether they be across the top of the screen, or in a sidebar, they will always be visible and convenient for people to interact with.
You don’t have access to your website
Sadly, this is a common scenario for lots of people who had websites created years ago. Sometimes people have sites built for them by the son of their best friends brother-in-law and now, after 9 years, you can’t find that person to either make the updates you want or to simply give you access to the website.
Alternatively, you may have had your site designed by a professional company that now no longer exists. Whatever the reason, the fact that you don’t have access to your own website should set alarm bells ringing and be the wakeup call you need to realize that you are going to need to do something about it right away.
If you find yourself in such a situation where you simply have no access, then you should bite the bullet and accept that you are going to need a new website. If you want to make constant updates and add new content to your site then you should consider using a CMS ( Content Management System ) such as Wordpress, which is the most popular CMS and one that is pretty easy to use. If you don’t want to have any involvement with the website, and would rather it be developed and managed by someone else, then you should have a look for any local web designers and developers who can create the site for you.
A few final signs that a new website is needed …
There are a few other aspects that can tell you whether or not you need to remake your website.
Are the images on your website small and low quality ?? Years ago bandwidth was a lot more limited than it is today, and images were always compressed to as acceptably low quality as possible in order to save bandwidth charges each month. Today you can use very large and high quality images without having any bandwidth issues ( but it’s best to check with you host just in case ), though you still may want to optimize the images you use for your website as this can sometimes cause pages to load slowly.
If you have any type of form on your website that requires dates, are the year options up to date ?? It’s amazing how many times I’ve seen contact forms on hotel websites, where you have to enter the dates you want to stay and the only option for the year is 2005 or 2006. If you are accepting any date related data on your forms, make sure it’s up to date and relevant.
If the content of your “Contact Us” page features just your email address, then you might want to consider adding a form here instead. If your email address is a clickable link that opens my Outlook program, then I will give you a bonus point, but it’s still something that I find annoying, and would much rather communicate to someone via a form on their site.
If your logo looks like it was designed using Microsoft Paint, then you might want to think about getting a new logo made, and with it, a new website that reflects the style and colors of the new logo. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen websites that actually look decent, but are using a logo that looks like it’s been scanned from a business card dating back to the early 1980s.
Finally, even if you have a really nice looking website, but it’s not actually ranking anywhere in the search engines, or you are not getting any business from it, then it might be time to have a professional take a look at it. It’s all well and good having a website that looks great, but if you are the only one who is actually visiting it, then what’s the point of it ?