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5 Signs Your Client’s Website is Outdated

How often should a client update their website? Is once every few years enough? These simple questions provide a good start to a larger conversation about websites, their freshness, and what freshness means for us as marketers. The web has gone stale and it is our job as marketers to make sure that does not happen to our clients’ websites.

Why is this important?

Look no further than the recent panic regarding “Mobilegeddon”. Businesses were frantically attempting to upgrade to a responsive website in the weeks leading up to Google’s mobile friendly algorithm change. Why didn’t these businesses already have a mobile-friendly website? The fact that so many were unprepared was an obvious sign that businesses are not giving their websites the attention they deserve.

This is surprising given that websites play such a major role in terms of rankings, traffic, leads, and conversion rates. Businesses must begin to treat their website as their online storefront. Just like their physical storefront, it must be kept in pristine condition to keep customers coming in the door and spending money.

But what does an old website look like? How do you know one when you see it? Below are 5 signs of an outdated website along with helpful tips on how to identify a website in need of a redesign.

1. Copyright Date

The first item that stands out when I review a website for freshness is the copyright date. That probably seems obvious to everyone but you would be surprised how many websites have a copyright date that is several years old. Browse a few of your own clients’ websites and see what it says in the footer. Is the copyright current? If not, this is an indication that the website has not been updated and is a potential candidate for a redesign.

2. Outdated Technology

Technology moves fast, making a two to three year old website obsolete. Think about how quickly your smartphone becomes outdated. From a website technology perspective, there are changes with responsive design, HTML, CSS, operating systems, coding platforms, databases, and other items that cutting edge, front running companies are leveraging.

So how do you test for this? We referenced Mobilegeddon earlier so make sure your clients’ websites are mobile friendly using Google’s Mobile Friendly Tool. If not, then they are in need of a redesign. Not only because this may impact their search rankings, but also because it leads to a bad user experience. Remember, Google has officially announced that mobile search has surpassed desktop. This means that for many businesses, more than half of their traffic comes from smartphones.

3. No Fresh Content

If your client’s website does not have a source of fresh content, such as a blog, then it might be time to have a conversation about a redesign. Why? First, fresh content such as blog posts provide relevant and useful information to website visitors. Second, search engines like fresh content. Matt Cutts, head of the Google Webspam team, has stated, “There’s no excuse for a company these days not to have a blog.”

Each new blog post provides another opportunity for a website to rank in the search engine results and creates another consumer entry point. However, it is important to note that quality is more important than quantity. Do not add content unless it is truly providing a benefit to your website visitors. Consider the various types of content that people consume and provide a mixture such as articles, videos, and infographics to see what works best.

4. Outdated Design

Just like technology, web design trends evolve quickly. Things like large background photos and parallax scrolling are very popular right now. In order to find out if your client is keeping up with the times, simply use the Wayback Machine to get a snapshot of how their visual design has (or has not) progressed over time. If they still have the same homepage and images from five years ago then it is probably time to give their website a fresh coat of paint.

5. Slow Site Speed

People aren’t very patient. As a result, it is important to test your client’s website speed on all devices using Google’s Page Speed tool. If it doesn’t load quickly, people will leave and there is a good chance they aren’t coming back. Pair a bad user experience with the fact that page speed is one of Google’s ranking factors and your client now has a major problem. If their website has a low page speed score, then it may time for an overhaul.

The Takeaway

Many businesses are not giving their websites the attention they deserve. An outdated website not only leads to a bad user experience but also impacts search engine visibility, traffic and ultimately sales. Help your clients avoid the “set it and forget it” website mentality and instead help them implement an ongoing strategy to make their website a more powerful marketing and sales tool.

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