13 Signs your website needs updating

As a web design agency, we often see websites that would benefit from a redesign or improvements. We’ve put together a list of 13 signs that your website is in need of an update.

It contains outdated technology such as flash.

Back in the 1990s and early 2000s Macromedia and then Adobe had a piece of software called Flash. In Flash you could create animations, games, video and even create full websites. It was more designer friendly and allowed web designers to create some really interesting sites. The problem was that Flash had the ability to run pretty complex “low level” computer code. This could be compromised easily, making your website vulnerable.

Flash also takes up a lot of computing resources, Steve Jobs said in an Apple blog post in April 2010 that “We … know firsthand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash” (https://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/). Apples iPads and iPhones have never supported Flash, and in 2010 Apple announced that it would no longer install Flash Player on its computers. Flash’s days were numbered, web browsers such as FireFox and Google Chrome have followed suit and no longer support Flash.

If your website contains Flash, this means that there is content on your website that most users can’t see.  It’s slowing down your website and leaving you open to vulnerabilities. The web has moved on leaps and bounds since the 1990s and there are now new technologies that can help you achieve the same or similar results to Adobe Flash.

Your website was built in tables.

The internet was invented to share data, used mainly by researchers and academics. When the World Wide Web came about in the late 1980s this data sharing technology was open to everyone.  There was now an increased need to make the web more user-friendly and visual, and therefore designers became involved. They had to find a way to make the web look more presentable whilst using what was available at the time, mainly tools for laying out data.

Tables (like you see in any document to layout data) were used by designers to lay out their designs. As the web has moved on, so has HTML and CSS – the layout and styling languages of the web. Browsers have also evolved to support the new standards and rules. This now means that designers have the ability to make user friendly and visually interesting websites using technology specially designed for this purpose.

If your website still uses tables then it, was either built long ago or by a designer whose methods are stuck in the past. Your website will not respond easily and will not be mobile friendly. It needs rebuilding sharpish!

Your website isn’t mobile friendly

A mobile friendly website (as you probably guessed), is one that works well on a mobile device. At the Cybermill we build all of our websites to be responsive. This means that you have one website that adapts to fit whichever device it is being shown on. Not only does this provide a better user experience for visitors coming to your website, but it should also help your search engine position when searches are performed on a mobile device. In the future as Google’s index goes “mobile first”, your website being mobile friendly will be a must – read our blog post on mobile first.

It’s slow to load

Humans are an impatient bunch. We hate to wait, and in website terms, if we have to wait ages for a page to load, we’ll most likely give up and go somewhere else. If your website is slow to load you are most likely losing visitors and in turn customers. Google already considers page speed a ranking factor, and sites need to load in under half a second. See our blog post how fast should my site be.

Websites can be slow for a number of reasons; the main reason is that the website is loading information that is large in size, and by size we mean megabytes. Images need to be properly optimised (made smaller without too much degradation), resources minified (made smaller without any degradation) and only the information and resources needed for a page to work should be loaded, thus making it as quick as it can be. There are many other techniques and best practices that should be used by your web designer to ensure a fast user experience but this isn’t the topic of this blog post. Most importantly what you need to keep in mind is, if your website is slow to load you are losing customers.

Broken pages

It’s annoying following a link to a website page only to see the page not found page (404). Keeping an eye on your websites links both internal and external helps make for a better user experience. There are many free tools avaiable to help you check for broken links such as:

You have a high bounce rate

A bounce is someone who has visited your website and immediately left. You can see your bounce rate by using tools such as Google Analytics. It can mean that people searching for your website are not getting what they were looking for in the search when they come to your website, in which case you would need to re-evaluate your content and the keywords you are targeting. It could be that the site is slow to load, or it could be that people just need your phone number. Either way it needs investigating.

Poor conversion rates

A conversion is someone coming to your website and completing the goal you had in mind, this could be buying something or filling in the contact form. Ideally your website should be encouraging your users to do either of these things. If you are seeing low conversion rates, again something that can be monitored with tools like Google Analytics, then your site needs looking at it. It could be that just a few small tweaks could increase conversions greatly or you may need to be looking at a full redesign.

It looks outdated

As with anything, the web has trends. Some trends stick out like a sore thumb (much like the 1980s fashion for shoulder pads), others are timeless (think Audrey Hepburn). If your website is looking old and dated it can suggest that your business is outdated too.

Your branding has changed

If you’ve had a rebrand, your website may need more than just changing the logo and colours. Designers spend a lot of time producing a website that reflects your brand in many ways from font choices to images and layouts. Every aspect is chosen with your brand and customer base in mind, if your brand has changed your website needs reviewing.

Inconsistency, in design, fonts or tone of voice.

If you’ve had many people working on the website and not had a set of guidelines for them all to work to, each will make different decisions about the fonts to use, imagery and the writing style, making for an inconsistent website. It may be that there are inconsistencies in navigation and design.

Having a consistent website makes it easier for people to find their way around, meaning they spend more time engaging with your content. Consistency also reinforces a company’s brand identity and helps people to recognise you as a company as well as coming across as a more professional and well-formed business.

Outdated information

If your website information is out of date, you’re not only giving misinformation out which can be annoying to potential customers, but it reflects negatively on the company. They’ll think “If they can’t be bothered to update the information here, are they going to look after me, my business or are their products going to be up to scratch?”

No social integration

If you have the time to invest in Social media then it can be of great benefit to your company’s on-line marketing. If you use social media there are many tools that can be used to great effect on your website. Having a feed, links and social share button makes it easier for people to share and like information on your website and also helps keep your website current and up to date.

You can’t add content to it yourself

If you can’t add content to the website yourself that means that your website was built without a content management system, these are what we call static web sites. These sites can often be cheaper to build as there is less work involve and the web designer can recoup some costs from future updates.

At the Cybermill we stopped building static websites in 2015, replacing our offering for those on lower budgets with Cybermill Breeze, a set of highly customisable website designs that all come with a content management system as standard. If you can’t update the website yourself it’s time to start looking at having a new website.

So, does your website need updating?

If any of the above signs apply to your website, it’s certainly time to re-evaluate it and see what improvements can be made. We’re always happy to talk about all things web design so why not give us a call on 01904 720 999 to discuss your website.