The web first became worldwide in the early 90s when websites had the amazing power to combine text and pictures on blocky colored backgrounds. Today, nearly 30 years later, websites have come an incredibly long way. We have blossomed from those simple times into dozens of web and scripting languages and thousands of templates, themes, plugins, and widgets. The things you can do when developing a web page are truly incredible, ranging from advanced displays of genius-level skill to helpful platforms that build a simple website for you.
The cutting edge of website design
And no matter what kind of website you start with, the feature options are nearly endless. Dashboards and interfaces, live chat and social media feeds, floating menus and personalized user tools. And for every website, there is the perfect balance of design, features, and user experience.
But considering that all these wonderful options were developed over many years of tech-community innovation, there are actually very few websites that have achieved their ideal design with today’s options. After all, it’s hard to stay on the cutting edge. In a world like this, there’s a pretty good chance that your website needs to be updated.
When websites fall behind the curve
With the constant development of new tools and designs, there’s almost always room for improvement in a website design. Most business owners accept that they can’t chase every shiny new feature that might be cool in their website. It’s usually considered practical to create an excellent modern website, then to let it age for a few years before refreshing with a brand new design using the features and design techniques developed in the interim.
So how do you know when it’s time to update? These seven signs will tell you pretty clearly if, in 2019, your website is getting noticeably out of date.
1. Perceptible load times
Load time tolerance has changed a lot over the years. Once, a single second of load time was considered lightning fast. Today, noticing a page loading at all is considered too slow. If your page lags for even a quarter of a second, some users have already clicked away. Old web code is one of the most common causes of lag.
If your website has any perceptible page load time, it may be because your website is due for a tune-up. You don’t even have to change the design to improve your site’s performance. But there are also great ways to optimize your user interface and site features as well.
2. Not mobile optimized
Let’s face it, mobile devices do everything now. And as a population, we do everything on our mobile devices. Even if you have an app, your website needs to be really well optimized for phones and tablets of any possible size. This means dynamic modular designs and menus that translate well from one size to the next.
Modern web design methods automatically include mobile optimization, but older sites can be really difficult to navigate and interface with through smaller screens and touch controls. If your website is attractive and enjoyable to use on a phone, then your website update is already overdue.
3. All assets scroll at the same pace
One of the most amazing aspects of website design in the last decade has been ‘parallax’. The ability to simulate assets being closer and farther away from the user’s perspective. Sometimes this is used to create background images that move more slowly than the content in front. This can be an alluring and dynamic way to design the visual elements of a web page.
Floating elements are also incredibly popular, including floating side menus and especially floating live chat bubbles. A floating element stays at the same place on the screen when website visitors scroll so that some content is always available while central page content changes.
If your website is still all on the same design level, that is a surprisingly clear sign of outdated design. Today, every website has at least a few floating menus or buttons, messages, and chat.
4. Missing live chat
Speaking of floating elements, the ever-present live chat support trend has made a come-back recently. In 2018, we saw millions of websites add a floating live chat bubble to the lower right-hand corner of their screen. This bubble, button, or pop-up window is always ready to offer support. Whether that support is from a human or a friendly chatbot with a few automated answers.
In most cases, the live chat is simply used to qualify leads who have real questions and interests in the website content. But if your site does not yet have live chat, then you are very noticeably behind the curve. Live chat is a great way to connect to website visitors directly and offer on-the-spot support.
5. Difficult website management
Now let’s take a look at your back-end for a moment. How easy is your website to edit, add content, and manage daily activity? A lot of really cleverly designed websites from several years ago have what can be called ‘swivel-chair’ management. This is where two or three tools are used, but the connection is a person in the office transferring data and updates from one interface to another. Like manually adding e-store customers to the CRM database instead of having a system that does so automatically.
If your website is frustrating or tedious to manage from the back end, then 2019 is your lucky year. In the last decade, back-end tools have seen some amazing developments and you have your pick of made-for-business tools that can seriously improve your admin experience. This is one of our best possible reasons to update your website sooner rather than later.
6. Lacking SEO results
Finally, let’s not forget the importance of SEO results. After all, search engines are how modern websites get the vast majority of their new traffic. In the last five years alone, SEO has been completely reinvented. From the metadata in your web page code to your blog content, the ways to improve SEO are endless. But without a certain critical mass of SEO work on your website, it is nearly impossible to make the first page of any user search.
If your SEO results have been lacking even though you follow good content writing and marketing practices, chances are that the problem is with your older websites. Sites that were designed before recent SEO developments aren’t using the latest optimization techniques and therefore will not compete well with newer sites. This is, perhaps, the most profound reason to update your website.
The SEO upgrades alone could make a huge difference for your daily traffic and ability to reach new customers.