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We at 45th Parallel have spent hundreds of hours discussing website design, coding, search engines, blogs, cPanel, and all things internet. Morning, noon, and night, over a cup of tea, or a walk in one of Oregon's gorgeous parks, we are always contemplating the web – how to use it, how to make it better, and how to make it work for small businesses.

45th Parallel's Web Design Blog

Ten Indications That Your Old (or Not-So-Old) Website Needs a Redesign

Posted December 18, 2012

An outdated or poorly designed business website creates a lack of trust in the minds of your visitors. A lower sales conversion rate earned through a poorly functioning or unattractive website combined with the website’s relative inability to bring in new visitors from search engines will result in lost revenue. Therefore, it’s wise to continually assess the modernity and usefulness of your website to ensure you’re attracting all the (top-quality) business you can handle. Here are a few signs your website is out of date and needs an “e-model”:

1. The website was built in HTML “tables.” Newer sites will have an advantage over older websites that were built in tables in both SEO (search engine optimization) and page load speed (which itself is a ranking factor for search engines).

2. The website was built in Flash. Flash is a web standard that is no longer supported by Apple products (iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Apple desktop machines), and that currently doesn’t work on most tablets. If your site was built in Flash, it will be natively unviewable on those devices. If part of your website is in Flash, then just that part of your website will be unviewable, but it will still appear unprofessional for a chunk of your website’s functionality to be incomplete. Flash also comes with many of the same problems as the HTML tables: it loads slowly and is much more difficult for search engines to read.

3. The website doesn’t work correctly on tablets or smartphones. By 2015 (some even say by 2014), people are projected to view the web more often on mobile devices than on desktop computers, so for this reason it’s important that your website is at least mostly, if not fully, functional on these devices.

4. The website doesn’t match your branding (logo, business card, etc.). This is important, because consistency in your image communicates your reliability as a company. Sending several disparate messages dilutes each of the messages; your brand is stronger when your message is clear and consistent.

5.The website contains “keyword stuffing” or other practices that always looked spammy and amateurish but that are now outright banned or discouraged by Google and other search engines. (Below is an example of keyword stuffing from an old website we “e-modeled”):

example of keyword stuffing
Keyword stuffing example.

6. The website loads slowly, or has broken links, blurry images, or sections that are “buggy” or don’t operate properly in modern browsers. Some examples of formerly common web design techniques that may be slowing your website down include the use of images instead of text to incorporate custom typefaces, thereby making that text invisible to search engines; or the insertion of many separate images to create custom graphics like sidebar borders that slow the website down with their size and additional server requests. Design elements such as sidebar borders or unique typefaces are now routinely created with CSS.

7. The website contains clues that it is not being maintained, such as having a copyright notice dated “2007″ in the footer. This makes a website appear abandoned and makes new visitors wonder if your business is “legit.”

8. The website is missing crucial behind-the-scenes informational “meta” tags that communicate the purpose of your website to search engines. These meta tags – along with the “title” tag – help describe to search engines which keywords your website should be ranking for.

9. The website is lacking functions that would help your business grow. Such functions may include a blogging platform that is seamlessly integrated with the rest of your website (blogging is a good communications method as well as an organic search booster), or a form allowing your customers to sign up for an email newsletter or deal alert.

10. The website just doesn’t look professional. In some cases, even if your website was professionally designed, what once looked like a professional website may now appear outdated because there are so many more design options available to web designers with the latest versions of HTML and CSS that your old site stands out by its lack of these modern elements.

If your website’s design was unprofessional when you had it made, it’s still unprofessional. Maybe your website never looked that great – maybe the site is too “busy” with various competing design elements that are overwhelming and confusing to your visitors. Or maybe the colors aren’t quite right for conveying the message you want your business to convey, or maybe there are too many different typefaces. Maybe the “custom graphics” or photos look old and cheesy and overdone.

Sometimes an outdated logo can make your whole website look outdated, since a business’ entire brand revolves first and foremost around the logo. Whatever the reason, it’s important that your website look professional, because it represents you and your business; first impressions matter.

If you have questions about whether your website was built in Flash, or any of the other items mentioned here, send us the url and we’ll be happy to perform a quick website audit over the phone as part of our free consultation.