Website designs can make or break an online business. An outdated website is something no one wants.

There’s almost nothing that evolves as quickly as technology.

Before you know it, what was once the next big thing is suddenly horribly out of style. 

So while you set about trend spotting and identifying design styles that work, you also need to identify the long-dead trends that you may still be using.

 

Changes are subtle, so it can be hard to recognize them as they occur.

This is especially true if you aren’t outsourcing your web design or use a website management service.

Because if you manage your own designs you might be limiting yourself to your own perspectives.

This may make it difficult to analyze what you’ve gotten wrong.

How Did You End Up With an Outdated Website?

Nothing is constant, except change itself.

There are many reasons why your online presence turned into the outdated website you see today.

Maybe it was never really up-to-date, but chances are high you liked it at one point in time.

So what happened?

Probably one of these:

  • Technology developed and your website is a pain to manage
  • Your business changed and the website doesn’t represent your brand anymore
  • Your products and services changed
  • Design trends moved on and people don’t like the user experience
  • Your conversion rate dropped which impacts your business growth negatively

In this article, we discuss 15 signs you can look for to check if your website is going out of style!

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1. You’re not generating enough leads and sales

Assuming you are interested in using your company’s website to grow sales, the conversion rate of your pages should be your most important success metric.

Outside of paid traffic channels, you don’t have 100% control over the number of people who visit your site every month.

You don’t control Google’s algorithm and you don’t control how many people will see your organic social media posts.

What you do control though, is your web design and content.

If you can’t make your visitors interested enough to buy or reach out to you, what is your website for? 

Track Your Conversions - Outdated Website

 

So have you noticed fewer and fewer people convert on your pages?

If yes, you want to consider a website makeover. 

Of course, you can only answer this question if you track your conversion with tools like Hotjar.

But if you don’t, ask yourself.

How will you ever know how to optimize your website for higher conversions over time?

2. Not Mobile-Responsive? The most obvious sign that you have an outdated website

You might think that that’s a given in 2019.

But unfortunately, the number of websites I come across that are still not completely mobile responsive is shocking.

In 2018, 52.2 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones, up from 50.3 percent in the previous year.

Web Pages Served To Mobile Phones - Outdated Website

 

Therefore, you not only need a website that Google detects as mobile-friendly.

You need a ‘Mobile-First’ web design approach.

Mobile-First Web Design - Outdated Website

 

If you care to get any kind of attention online in the next years.

You need to transform your outdated website into great user experience for any kind of screen. 

3. Updating Your Website Becomes Time-Consuming and Expensive 

The way websites are built today is vastly different from 5 years ago. 

Technology evolved and allows us to create more advanced designs. 

At the same time, managing and updating content on a site doesn’t require a developer anymore. 

However, there are still agencies that build websites on their own content management system instead of using WordPress. 

They then make their clients dependent on them and charge up to 150 dollars for any little update. 

If you are in such an agreement, it is worth it to look for different alternatives. 

It can save you a lot of money in the long term.

4. Your Company Branding Has Changed

Obviously, your business is evolving.

Looking back a couple of years, some things are not the same anymore:

  • Your products and services
  • Your market
  • Your customers

When we take the average website use time of 2-3 years and compare it with the current speed of change in the business world, it becomes clear that we have to stay fresh with our design on a consistent basis.

And I’m not talking about your web design, but also your overall branding.

That doesn’t mean that you need to do a complete rebranding. 

But you need to stay relevant and modern. 

Take Airbnb for example. Their site used to look like this:

Rebranding AirBnB - Outdated Website

 

It was ok for the time but in 2019 you just expect something different.

Instead of just accepting your outdated website, accept that your website will always go out of fashion.

Sooner or later.

5. Your Website is Difficult to Navigate

One of the major issues people have with websites is their site navigation.

Even though many companies believe that design is the single critical factor for good web design.

Most website visitors are looking for ways to find critical information fast and without clicking too many buttons.

In fact:

38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive – Hubspot

Your Website Is Difficult To Navigate - Outdated Website

As Steve Jobs said it so well:

It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

So make sure your site is easy to navigate. 

We believe the only way to be really sure about your user experience is through testing.

Don’t try to avoid the uncomfortable situation to hear constructive criticism. 

Remember that improved website navigation can easily turn into more leads and sales for your business.

Sliders or website banners used to work really well. But as with any trend, the effects can be counterproductive if overdone.

Your Website Features An Image Carousel - Outdated Website

 

The idea is to create a website that incorporates your branding in its colors, themes, and fonts.

When brands attempt to plaster their websites with promo after promo, it comes across more like a bad classified in a newspaper than a good website.

The bottom line is that clutter kills a website.

84.6% of visitors leave a website if it has a more crowded or busy looking design.

Pretty much all expert agree on this point:

Image sliders kill your conversion rate!

You can learn more about the reasons in this article by ConversionXL.

Sliders that feature a clutter of content and images can be a huge turn off for potential customers.

Overwhelming text, unsightly graphics, and overuse of images are a clear, bold sign telling you that your website well and truly is suffering.

7. You Still Use Social Media Feeds On Your Page

This is a clear sign that you ended up with an outdated website.

Look, we know you would love to increase your followings on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and get on top of your social media game.

But believe us when we say that displaying your feeds at random places on your homepage is not doing you any favors, whatsoever.

Social Media Feeds On Your Page - Outdated Website

This doesn’t mean that you should not indicate a social media presence whatsoever.

However, it does give off the impression that you’re either trying too hard or that you simply had to fill up space.

A simpler, much fresher alternative is simple icons with clickable links.

8. You Annoy Your Visitors With Irrelevant Newsletter Pop-Ups

You’ve finally got a customer on your site only to annoy them with an over-enthusiastic pop-up after just 3 seconds.

Don’t get me wrong. Pop-ups still work!

Especially when they are personalized.

Our site pop-ups convert, on average, 5% of all website visitors into subscribers.

The problem is more with:

  • Time of the pop-up trigger
  • Offer on the pop-up

Nobody is interested in signing up for your company newsletter if you don’t provide them something valuable in return.

Irrelevant Newsletter Pop-Ups - Outdated Website

 

Additionally, you will also want to consider the placement of these pop-ups and on what page they show up.

Fortunately, this is easy to fix and doesn’t require a complete website redesign.

But it is part of your overall user experience which doesn’t stop at the design.

Pop-ups that interrupt the user experience without providing value is a clear sign of an outdated website.

Or just a business that didn’t take the time to emphasize with their website visitors and think about ways to provide more value to them.

9. Your Homepage Is One Big Image (That Doesn’t Tell Your Visitors What You Do)

The one image design or a “hero” image, if you prefer, isn’t that bad.

The problem arises when it’s the entire face of your website and makes noticing the actual content difficult.

Often it comes at the price of pushing down essential and relevant content that your visitors actually came to see.

A less intuitive user might even leave the site if there’s no clear enough indication that they need to scroll down to access the content.

Your Homepage Is One Big Image - Outdated Website

 

The central focus of your website needs to draw that sensitive line between what you want your users to see and what they actually want to see.

The rules with sidebar menus aren’t as clear-cut as the rest. It actually depends on the kind of website you have.

However, if you don’t run a magazine-style blog site like Mashable, the rule is simple:

No sidebars on your homepage!

On your blog though, it can be beneficial to have a sidebar.

But as you can see, we decided to go without one as we prefer to keep the user’s focus on the content.

You may need to experiment with options like “recent stories” or “similar posts” and evaluate your response accordingly.

For the most part, you will need to keep it as simple and “visually clean” as possible.

Sidebar On Your Homepage - Outdated Website

 

Where you have to draw the line, however, is at using two sidebars and centering your content.

That is definitely a sign that your website needs to change. Can you imagine the horror of scrolling through a website with not one, but two cluttered sidebars with flashy animations?

11. Using Obvious, Overused Stock Photographs

Yes, web design can be already super expensive without having to spend on photographs too.

But using pictures that are so blatantly stock images, simply aren’t worth it.

They don’t look professional, they’re not realistic and while you may have to limit yourself to a budget, your customers don’t need to know that.

 

Obvious, Overused Stock Photographs - Outdated Website

 

Now, this doesn’t mean you should avoid stock images. It just means you need to get better at choosing them.

Great places to find free and non-cheesy images are:

Your pictures need to appear more realistic, less common, and aligned with your branding.

However, overusing images from popular sites like Unsplash that see thousands of downloads every day reflects inferior branding for your business too.

12. It Takes an Eternity to Load

53% of a website’s visitors leave the site if it takes longer than fifteen seconds to load.

Now you can bet that this number is more likely to increase with time than decrease.

If your website loads with large images and graphics, it probably has a poor loading speed.

It Takes An Eternity To Load - Outdated Website

 

User experience or UX is the trend of the year, and slow speeds are a direct contradiction of this trend.

This can be especially harmful depending on your demographic because certain places have slower internet speeds than others.

You need to identify your website’s speed based on the geographic location of your audience to give your customers the experience they expect.

It is also helpful to use common elements of design to ensure uniformity as well as a better loading speed.

13. Inconsistent Fonts

Inconsistent fonts across your website are yet another one of those factors that reflect poorly on your branding.

If your brand hasn’t identified a font of its own, it’s about time it did.

Using inconsistent fonts and typography not only reflects amateur designing ability but is visually unpleasant.

People appreciate symmetrical, consistent and uniform structures and designs.

Inconsistent Fonts - Outdated Website

 

With the thousands of free fonts available, you simply have no excuse to not zeroing down on one that works well for your brand identity.

14. Your Website Isn’t SSL Certified

This wasn’t such a problem, until recently. With all the privacy scares, people are more paranoid, afraid and rightly so.

An SSL certificate is now the bare minimum your website needs to inspire any amount of trust from the average user.

If you don’t know what it is, SSL stands for secure sockets layer and an SSL certificate is an https protocol that ensures a secure connection from a web server to a web browser.

Your Website Isn't SSL Certified

 

Not only does the absence of this certificate user trust but it also affects your rankings in the search engines.

Without this certification, your site is also likely to proceed with a fatal warning “this website is not secure”.

This will cause a majority of users to opt-out of visiting your site immediately.

Getting an SSL certificate also helps you to protect your site from potential hackers.

So it really is kind of a win-win situation for you.

15. Your Desktop Site Uses Hamburger Icons

Hamburger icons do have their purpose, and that purpose is fulfilled on mobile sites.

The reason they are popular is that they work well on mobiles to reduce clutter and are significantly easier to navigate on a smaller screen.

Your Desktop Site Uses Hamburger Icons - Outdated Website

 

However, on a desktop screen, you already have plenty of space and that tiny icon may just get overlooked.

If that wasn’t enough, is also quite inefficient for users to have to navigate through a whole list of options to search for the information they need.

And finally, the structure of a hamburger menu can be quite confusing to someone who isn’t particularly tech-savvy.

The idea is to keep your website as simple as possible.

You never know who’s going to pay a visit!

Website Conversion Quiz
website conversion quiz

Do You Know Your Website’s
Hidden Growth Potential?

Take our conversion-driven web design test and see how much of your website is designed for growth and which parts make people leave your site forever.

Outdated Website: Do You Need a Couple of Tweaks or a Complete Redesign?

So you may have discovered that you either have a few of these designs or god forbid, all of them!

This begs the question, what do you do with outdated websites?

Do you go ahead and redesign the whole thing or would a few changes serve the purpose?

Don’t sweat it.

We’ve got your back.

Jump on a free web design strategy call and we make sure that you get personalized tips on how to make your website more effective. 

Written by Paul Preisler

Written by Paul Preisler

Paul is a co-founder at Growmodo and loves helping B2B companies with customer-centric web design and digital marketing that drives growth.


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