Ever tried to visit a website that takes 60 seconds to load or still uses (gasp) Comic Sans for its 2002-inspired design? There’s no chance you’re going to buy whatever they’re selling.
A website generates an immediate emotional response from customers. It either lives up to or disappoints the brand expectations they have already started to build. In an instant, you can turn away reliable leads and even dedicated followers—just because of a dated or poorly functioning design.
The fact is, it can be time to update your website even if the problems aren’t quite as eye-popping as a Papyrus header or unresponsive layout. The issue can be hiding just beneath the surface, costing you money, time, and resources that should be spent on generating more sales.
So Your Numbers Are Dropping?
If you notice your online traffic or sales decreasing, there might be a simple explanation: your website is out-of-date. Just like your car’s engine, your website needs regular maintenance to ensure it runs smoothly and efficiently. A tune-up here and an oil change there can help—but sometimes you’ll just need to trade it in for something newer.
Redesigning or rebuilding your website is about aesthetics, functionality, security, and aligning with the latest technologies and user expectations. Here are 6 signs indicating it might be time for an update:
1. Your Website Has Aged…Poorly
Technology doesn’t age gracefully—especially not on the internet. If your website looks like it belongs in a time capsule from the early 2000s (or even the 2010s), it’s definitely time to give it a facelift.
Modern web design not only looks better, but also follows the latest standards in user experience (UX). A fresh, updated look can:
- Keep visitors longer: A website that is visually appealing and follows contemporary UX principles will likely keep visitors engaged for longer periods of time. It should make information easy to find and digest and encourages users to explore more of your content or products.
- Increase conversion rates: If a site is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate, visitors are more likely to follow through with calls to action, whether that’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a contact form.
- Create a strong first impression: First impressions are critical for retaining interest. A contemporary design can help ensure that the initial reaction is positive and reflects well on your brand.
Even if you’re just running a simple e-commerce storefront or a portfolio, an outdated website can give the impression that your business is behind the times or doesn’t pay attention to detail.
Check out some competitors or popular websites in your industry to see how your site stacks up, and identify areas where a redesign could put you back on track with current trends.
2. It’s Not Mobile-Friendly
Nearly 60% of all online traffic is now from mobile devices, meaning smaller screens and touch navigation are the new status quo.
Web developers used to optimize desktop designs for the majority of traffic, but today mobile-first design is essential. If your website isn’t built with smartphones in mind, it can appear unprofessional, frustrate visitors, and negatively impact your search engine rankings.
On top of that, Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in their rankings, especially since the introduction of mobile-first indexing. For best results, the design needs to be responsive, meaning that it automatically adjusts its layout and elements to fit the screen size viewing it.
3. Painfully Slow Performance
Page loading speed is a critical factor for both user experience and search engine optimization (SEO). If your pages take more than a few seconds to load, you can lose visitors before they even see what you have to offer.
Various things can cause a website to run slowly, such as:
- Unoptimized images
- Outdated CMS
- Bloated code
- Poor server performance
Tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights can help identify issues that are slowing down your site and provide suggestions for improvement. If your site consistently performs poorly in these tests, it’s time for a technical overhaul.
4. Functionality Is at an All-Time Low
When you click “Buy Now!” on your site, does it actually take users to a shopping cart? Are your contact forms sending emails into oblivion rather than your inbox? Do links lead to dead ends or 404 pages? If you are nodding “Yes!” to these questions, it’s time to update your website and rethink its functionality.
Functionality problems not only cause frustration for your users, but they also suggest a lack of professionalism and attention to detail which could hurt your brand reputation. Performing site audits to test functionality and make sure everything works as it should is crucial for maintaining credibility and customer trust.
Be proactive about regularly checking your site for broken links, ensuring that all forms and checkout processes are working, and that features like search functions and customer service chat are operating effectively. Regular maintenance like this can often prevent functionality issues before they push visitors away.
5. It Doesn’t Align with Google’s Core Web Vitals
Not everyone is a developer— this next part may be a little technical, so bear with us! It’s actually crucial for your website performance and bottom line.
Google’s Core Web Vitals are a set of specific factors that the search engine considers important in a webpage’s overall user experience. They measure web usability such as load time, interactivity, and the stability of content (no shifting around the page as images load, for example). The three Core Web Vitals metrics are:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This measures loading performance of the largest piece of content visible to visitors (an image or text block, usually). To be considered a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
- First Input Delay (FID) calculates how long it takes from when a user interacts with a page (like clicking a button) to when the site starts processing the response. Pages should have an FID of 100 milliseconds or less.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This metric measures the largest unexpected layout shift (like when an animation loads late and forces everything further down). Pages should maintain a CLS of 0.1 or less.
In March 2024, FID will be replaced with another metric, Interaction to Next Paint (IND), which measures all of the user interactions and reports the slowest one.
Ensuring that your website meets these metrics is important for user experience and for ranking in Google’s search results. If your site scores poorly in these areas, it might be time to consult with a skilled web developer or use a website optimization service to address these issues and update your website.
6. Technical debt
Technical debt refers to the implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing an easy, limited, or quick solution instead of a better, more sustainable, (but perhaps more time-consuming) fix. Over time, this debt can compound and result in a site that’s held together with digital duct tape—band-aid solutions that are not scalable, secure, or efficient.
If your site is full of makeshift code or is running on outdated software, then each new update or feature becomes harder (and more expensive) to implement. Outdated systems can also pose significant security risks, making your site vulnerable to cyber-attacks or data breaches.
Ignoring technical debt can lead to higher costs down the road, both in terms of maintenance and lost business due to poor performance and potential security issues. Modernizing the technology behind your website can ultimately save you money, reduce risk, and improve user satisfaction.
Make Your Website Updates Count
Your website may not be a living, breathing thing, but you should treat it like one! Regular check-ups, some love and care, and sometimes more significant changes are necessary to keep it healthy and functioning optimally.
A website that is engaging, fast, and user-friendly can help maintain a professional image, increase customer trust, and convert visitors into customers.
If you recognize any of the above signs—outdated aesthetics, a lack of mobile responsiveness, slow loading times, poor functionality, non-compliance with Core Web Vitals, or accumulating technical debt—it’s time to update your website, and you don’t have to go it alone. Buddy Web Design and Development can troubleshoot all your problems and get your website back up to optimal performance and industry standards in no time.
If you’ve had it with your outdated website, let’s talk and work together to get you back on track!