We all have busy lives. Our careers, families, hobbies and other obligations might have overwhelmed us and we simply have not had the time to update our websites the way that we should. Oh, sure — the internet is constantly evolving. Not six months can go by without some kind of major digital innovation, so maybe jumping up and refreshing your website every two seconds is only time wasted, since it will probably look dated in a month anyway.
But wait, your website is “best viewed on Internet Explorer 5.0!” Hoo, boy.
Alright, maybe it’s time for you to take stock of your website and finally enter the 21st century, a mere 14 years late. Now, we don’t want to fix what isn’t broken, but if your website still boasts one (or all) of the following seven features, we’d like to strongly suggest that your site isn’t earning you the kind of money, traffic or attention it could.
Your site uses an all-neutral background with hot-pink and blue lettering.
Nothing screams “Hi! I was designed in 1996! Would you like to buy a Beanie Baby?” like the classic and aesthetically unappealing flesh-colored background with clashing pink or primary-colored lettering. If your heading uses graduating rainbow colors, or if any portion of your website flashes, your situation might be even direr.
You are still inviting people to sign the guestbook.
Guestbooks were pre-comment sections comment sections; pre-social media social media. You could sign in and broadcast your feelings about the site to the site owner directly. If you have a guestbook request on your site, we’re willing to bet you don’t have a Facebook or Twitter icon on your site either, and you might still be using a flip phone.
You welcome people to your website.
In the very early days, when the internet was still an option, people who bothered to sit through the agonizing hours of dial-up loading in order to visit a web page needed some gratitude from the website itself, in the form of “Welcome to My Webpage!” Today, when none of us spends a waking second not on the internet, we don’t really need to act surprised when someone visits a web page.
Your site has animated GIFs of any kind.
Yes, there was a time when website designers thought that including cartoonish figurines was an optimal strategy for maintaining user interest. What it did, in fact, was disorient the viewer, make the content difficult to read and make the website itself seem juvenile. Heavens, you still have the little top-hatted dancing frog? Why?
The majority of your links have 404 Error messages.
Yes, the online world moved on without you, and left you bereft and surrounded by broken links and horrible search engine rankings. Of course, if you still have guestbook requests, we’re guessing that SEO hasn’t exactly been foremost on your mind.
Your content lettering is only a shade or two darker than the background.
This is an exceptionally aggravating. As if staring at a monitor isn’t ocular torture enough, your website lettering virtually guarantees instant blindness. For some reason, this was exceptionally popular in the very early days, perhaps because designers were exceptionally fond of soft, wedding invitation lettering and wanted to stare at it always.
There is a “2,000 Visitors!” exclamation at the bottom of your home page.
Back in the beginning, website hit trackers were pretty much the only way to determine how popular your website was. Anyone who still has a hit tracker at the bottom of a website is probably completely unaware of Google.
We’ve discussed the importance of responsive web design before, but mercy, first things first. Before you start thinking about the variety of digital devices your website could potentially access, let’s focus on giving your website the barest hint of relevance. We’re sure that your brand, products and services are all stellar, so let’s hunker down, uninstall Windows 95 and get you on the road to, at least, 2009!