If you’re asking yourself this question, then the answer is probably yes. As a general rule of thumb, websites only have a shelf life of about two to five years, after that, they start looking like a hunk of meat that’s been left out for too long. Okay, not literally, but you get the gist.
We all know that first impressions count when you’re going for a job interview or meeting someone for the first time, but did you also know that first impressions have the potential to make or break your web presence as well? If your site is slow to load, not visually appealing or difficult to navigate, there’s a good chance your users will jump ship and go to one of your competitors instead. No one wants that to happen.
But don’t worry; even if your site has passed its use-by-date, it can be easily fixed! We look at how.
Why do Websites Need to be Updated so Often?
The concept of staying still is completely foreign in the digital world. Google is constantly updating its ranking algorithms, users are always expecting more out of their online experiences, and technology is constantly getting re-invented to meet rising user needs.
For instance, computer screens have gotten A LOT bigger. They’re not as fat as they used to be back in the day, but they have gotten a lot wider. Mobile phones have become mini-computers that can do everything your desktop can, plus more, and tablets are now a thing.
Did you know: 74 per cent of Australians rely on their smartphones as much as they do their desktops when searching for information, ideas or advice?
People want to be able to pay their bills, do their shopping, and watch funny videos all in the one place. Everything needs to be just a click away and it needs to be engaging.
Mobile usage is one of the biggest things influencing websites at the moment, and will only continue to grow more prevalent as time goes on. If your website isn’t mobile-compatible it isn’t appealing to the majority of your available market.
In 2015, 15.3 million Australians owned a smartphone, and 11.2 million regularly used a tablet device.
In fact, close to 70 per cent of total browsing time in Australia is spent on a mobile device, so with Australians spending more time on their phones and less time on desktops (especially in the evenings), having a mobile-friendly website is a must.
Your online presence also encompasses more than just a website – it should link in all of your social accounts. Your branding needs to be consistent across every platform, including your main site, any business listings you have, Facebook, Instagram – the list goes on. With 2.1 billion global users, platforms like Facebook are becoming part of an integrated web presence. There are also ways to integrate mobile shopping and website features with your social accounts that can significantly improve your click through and conversion rates. If your website doesn’t link in with your social presence, it might be time for a re-design.
User experience is also a big factor in modern web designs.
Once upon a time, single page websites were the norm, and not all that much thought was put into UX. Now, failing to think about your users is a critical mistake. In fact, 65 per cent of people prefers using a site that is easy to use.
Did you know: 40 per cent of users will exit a website if it loads slowly?
Content management systems (CMS’) have also changed a lot in the last decade. Now, if you’re not using a WordPress site, you’re missing out. As of March 2016, WordPress powered 26.4 per cent of the web, with 500 new sites using the platform popping up each day. WordPress is now Google’s preferred CMS, is regularly updated, has access to tens of thousands of plugins and is the easiest platform to use when it comes to making website changes. Older CMS’ come with a host of limitations, while more and more is becoming possible with a WordPress platform every day.
As you can see, a lot has been going on in the digital realm over the last five to ten years (and these points barely scratch the surface), which means older sites are starting to get left behind.
How Can You Tell if Your Website Needs to be Updated?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is your site mobile-friendly?
- Does your site have clear call to actions and conversion points (call buttons, quote forms and etc)?
- Is it taking advantage of WordPress?
- Can you easily make changes to the back-end of your website (like adding a new page of content)?
- Is the colour scheme and branding appealing to a modern audience?
- Is the website easy to navigate (for example, can people find information easily on the inner pages)?
- Is the site optimised by Google’s standards?
- Does the site load quickly?
You can also tell how old a website is just by looking at its design. If you think about this in terms of home design trends, a website re-design will seem completely logical. For instance, if you were to walk into a house with the same wallpaper, carpet, furniture and décor that were trendy ten years ago, you would probably think it looked out-dated. The same goes for your website. Online design trends change too, and thanks to advancements in technologies, websites are now more visually appealing than ever.
Modern websites will showcase good-quality imagery, graphics and videos, and can have interactive elements and built-in plugins that allow a website to do a lot more than just share information. They’re also more secure.
So let’s look at how websites have changed over the years:
Each of these site designs was the crème de la crème at the time they were built. Now, their original designs seem almost laughable compared to their modern counterparts. Technology has changed, and so has user expectations. To keep performing in the modern online community, keeping up with contemporary standards is essential.
How Can You Fix an Out-dated Website?
There are a few things you can do to bring your website up to modern standards. These include:
- Invest in a WordPress conversion
- Have your website mobile optimised
- Invest in a complete re-design
- Take steps to improve your website’s UX
Updating your website might be as simple as updating the menu or moving some content around, but for most older websites, a complete re-design is required.
If you’re ready to increase how much traffic and revenue your website is bringing in, get in touch with the guys at Webfirm today. We can give you a complete website review that includes our recommendations on how to improve your online presence.