Is your website out of date?

Change, when it comes to technology, is usually for the better. If there are any doubters, I will be happy to provide you with a Walkman in exchange for your iPod. The advancement of web technologies, browsers, hardware, and the proliferation of mobile and tablet devices create the necessity to constantly update and in some cases reboot your website. Ironically, it is often early adopters of internet sites that find themselves behind the curve, often having created a site 5 - 10 years ago that is now hopelessly out of date. Unfortunately, like that 486 PC I bought back in 1995 for $3000, you have to let that go and move on. I've listed 5 tips to let you know that it's time to retire that old site.

#5 You have HTML files sitting on your web server

If your web addresses end in ".html" or ".htm" (for example http://www.mysite.com/mypage.html), it may be possible that you have raw HTML files which are served up as is to the browser. This is bad for a few reasons. First, this becomes a maintenance nightmare if you want to change a link or add a page. You will have to make the change in every single html file. I would say even sites written using PHP, but every page is a separate file, is still bad news. Modern sites are developed using content management systems such as WordPress or, preferably, the Well Site Studio, and most of the content is stored in a database. Another reason this is bad is because it does not conform to best case SEO practises regarding well formed URLs (see here for more information).

#4 You have a visitor counter on your site

We've all seen these, the little odometer like counters that tell you how many people have visited the site. These were hugely popular...in 1998. Once upon a time this was fun and informational, now it just makes your site look out of date. If you need to track visitors (and yes, you do) use Google Analytics or Piwik or some other service. This is something you need to know, not your visitors. Plus everyone knows these can be fudged anyway, so they're meaningless.

#3 You have lots of text in 11pt or smaller font

About 8 or 9 years ago the concept of structuring your site for search engines began to be a thing. Webmasters realized the more text you had, the better your site was indexed, so you ended up with a lot of sites with a TON of copy in really small font often not even related to the focus of the site, the hope being that one of your phrases somewhere would match a search query, and you would get precious visitors to your site. While content still is king, search engines (and the world) have thankfully shifted to putting an emphasis on user experience. A good web designer will try to determine who the audiences are, and structure the site in such a way that it leads them to the information or action that they need. Dumping a lot of content on your visitor will more than likely cause them to abandon your site. Also, and this is huge, your site will not be legible on mobile devices if your choose too small of a font size. Nuff said.

#2 Your images are pixelated

Back in the day of the dialup modem, image size was a real issue, because large images would cause sites to load quite slowly. The answer was often to compress images to make them smaller, sacrificing picture quality over speed. At the time you were dealing with monitors with a max resolution of 800 x 600, so you couldn't really tell anyway. However, with high-speed internet being as common as a toaster, load times for images is for the most part a non-issue. Don't get me wrong, you have to be smart about it, but if your images are grainy, your site looks old. And with screen resolutions getting higher and higher, having low-quality pictures just won't cut it.

#1 Your site is narrow and hugs the left side of the page

A narrow layout is a dead giveaway of a older site. Web layouts have grown with the screen resolution. When the monitors were 800 pixels wide, you'd find sites coming in around 720 pixels. When screen resolution got higher, so did web layouts. The minimum width that I recommend is 980px. Often we will design a site to extend to use the entire width of the browser, utilizing as much visible area as possible. By maximizing the horizontal viewable area, you minimize the need for scrolling, and increase the likelihood that your visitor will see the information you want them to see.

Why Having An Updated Site Matters

Bottom line, your credibility as a business is at stake. Your website will be the first place your potential customer will go to get information about your company or service. If your site is outdated, people will assume that you are no longer a going concern. At Sarasota Web design we specialize in getting your website up to date, not only in appearance, but in all areas from SEO to contentent management to providing a smooth and purposeful user experience. An outdated website can actually hurt your business. Let us help you change your website from a liability into an asset.

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