Is your website outdated?
We’ve all seen those businesses that look like they haven’t seen a fresh coat of paint since 1969. And we drove right past them sometimes stepping on the gas a little more to avoid looking at it any longer. No one likes going to a store that’s cluttered and hard to walk through right? Your website should follow the same principle. Clients don’t want a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load or information that takes more than a few clicks to find. You’ll get more hits with the modern, easy to navigate and responsive website.
You can diagnose whether or not your website is showing signs of aging by keeping in mind the following factors.
Talk to the Hand it’s Outdated Content
When’s the last time you updated your copyright information? If it says anything before 2012, it is past time to update the content on your website. When your website has been neglected people assume your business has been too. Since most people use search engines to find businesses instead of phone books, having outdated content can lose you a lot of potential clients.
Unresponsive Design? As If!
A long long time ago, Internet users only had two tools to surf the web: Internet Explorer and Netscape and both were only accessible by a computer hooked up to a modem. Now there are more than five major web browsers to choose from and people use these on a variety of devices. To reach as many people as you can your website needs to designed to be responsive to the wide range of devices and browsers.
Gag me with a Spoon, it’s Adobe Flash
Flash introductions and animations are outdated for a reason. A good reason. Websites using Flash take much longer load, aren’t compatible with mobile and tablets, and are a security risk. Basically Flash provides a link between your operating system and your browser. It’s easy for software on websites to connect users with software on your machine. So it not only makes your browsers more vulnerable, it makes your operating system vulnerable as well. Apple is one of the many companies which does not support flash on their mobile phones and tablets. Google is another major player who doesn’t like Flash. In fact Google is so over Flash it ranks you lower in the search engines for using it.
Splash Pages and Background Images are so 20th Century
What is a “splash page”? If the first page your client sees is a page that contains nothing but your logo, company name and an enter button, you have a “splash page.” Splash pages are a waste of time and look outdated. Unless your site needs an adult content warning you should not have a splash page.
Get rid of intrusive background images and patterns. Giant image banners and pictures with text are hard to read and can distract the viewer’s eye from more important information. Having lots of graphics can also slow down your website’s load time. Your graphics should add and enhance your viewers experience, not distract from it.
Pop-ups, Audio, and Auto-Play Videos: Get Over it!
What’s more irritating than going to a website for a plumber’s phone number only to have to click through a bunch of pop-ups. A sales ad about this great new weight loss product you should try. Or worse yet, getting your ears blasted by loud music you weren’t prepared for and not being able to find the source to shut it off. Using audio or video as an introduction is great and can be very useful, just make sure the viewer can choose when it starts playing. Pop-ups, audio and auto-play videos are unprofessional and on their way out. Good riddance.
Flat is the New Black
Flat design is more than just a trend. It’s changing the way we value information.
Minimalist websites are becoming more and more popular among web designers because it emphasizes content and user experience.
Less is Way, Way More
I’m not going to ask you which site looks better, instead I’ll ask you which site can you easily use? Which site has the most information vs. which site has the most accessible and readable information. On Evernote’s site you can easily find information about their services and how to contact them. On the other site it’s hard enough to tell what kind of company they are.
Who Says Flat has to be Boring?
With flat design it’s easy to brand your site by defining a color palette. Just make sure they aren’t too bright. We don’t want to blind your viewers. When you use just a splash of contrasting bright color against a darker background, it stands out and draws focus so you can easily highlight important information without overwhelming your viewer. Also be consistent with your branding on every page so your viewers don’t get overwhelmed or confused that they’re on another website. A good example of effective branding is Facebook. Notice how Facebook only uses a specific shade of blue and white. Now whenever you see a white thumbs up sign with blue outline you immediately think of Facebook.
Another great way to spice up your site is through well-chosen typography. Each logo you see has its font carefully chosen and stuck to. The M in McDonalds has become so iconic that it has a name for itself: the golden arches. In your website, the typography needs to be carefully chosen and consistently used like your color scheme. Be careful not to overwhelm your viewer with bright shiny objects because that will distract them from finding the information they were looking for. Lengthy irrelevant text, using more than one kind of main font, and different text colors are all indicators of a cluttered website. Instead choose a font that is easy to read, professional and memorable. Too many colors and gimmicky font styles (like Papyrus and Comic Sans… visit the Comic Sans Criminal website immediately if you struggle from the urge to use Comic Sans) on a patterned background can make your site look like a children’s cereal box. Your site should reflect your company, modern, sophisticated and clean.
Minimizing Load Times increase Conversion
Because of minimal elements on a page, it’s easier for your computer to load a flat designed website. When you get rid of large irrelevant images, audio and pop-ups, your website’s load time can decrease significantly. To your clients this translates into real time and their time is valuable. 1 second of increased load time can decrease your conversion by 2.7%. To add to a lower conversion, most online shoppers say they won’t return to a site because it didn’t load within 3 seconds. Having your website load faster than a competitor’s site can increase your client base and your bottom line.
And since most flat design websites are already designed to be responsive to different devices, mobile and tablet users are much more likely to come back to your site because they can access it anywhere at the speed they want.
Give the People What They Want
Websites are supposed to inform, they are platforms that connect people together. How can a site do that when it’s a mess of images and media? Flat design websites are perfect for highlighting the important, relevant information. A viewer that’s new to your website will only read a few lines of text before deciding if they want to use your company or moving on to your competitor’s. When you only have a few lines of carefully written text per page it’s easy to read and can provide the viewer with information quickly and efficiently.
Flat design websites also make it easy for you to tell when you have outdated information. Go through your information pages often to make sure you have current phone numbers and email addresses. Focus on producing content. Think about starting a blog or a newsletter. Integrate your social sites to make it easier to share your content to get even more subscribers and followers. Flat design websites are a great way for you to start contributing to the online community.
Need Some Help?
A website’s life span is about 3-5 years. If you haven’t updated your site since 2010, chances are it’s outdated. When your website is outdated, you are going to lose potential clients. At Envision, we can help you welcome your website to the year 2015 through our free website analysis. Not only will the analysis help you determine if you need a site renovation, but it will also highlight insights that will lead to better results in your online marketing efforts!