November 1, 2016

6 Signs of an Outdated Website

Written by
Alexis Church
Signs of an outdated website

1. It looks Bad on Mobile Devices

Do you know what your website looks like on a variety of mobile devices? Do you know what your site looks like on a Samsung Galaxy Tab? What about on a Motorola RAZR V8? Chances are you probably don’t.

People are browsing the internet on tablets, smartphones, desktops, and even televisions of all shapes and sizes. It is essential that your website adapts to device screens that take on many forms and sizes. There are awesome tools available for testing your site’s adaptability across myriad devices like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test or Screen Fly.

Mobile Friendly & Mobile Optimization Are Not Enough

If you developed your current website in the last five years, you probably have a mobile-friendly or mobile-optimized site. But can it adapt to tablet or television screen sizes? The fewer standards there are around screen size, the more we have to rely on responsive design to achieve true mobile-friendliness. The mobile-friendly site will likely be a less complicated or advanced version of a mobile-optimized site.

How to Get Responsive with Responsive Web Design (RWD)

Responsive web design (RWD) refers to a type of website design that employs development that responds to user behavior and screen size. A common metaphor for responsive web design is water. The way you pour water into different containers, and it takes on the containers’ shape, your website should take on the form of the device on which it is being viewed. Google has SEO rewards for sites which use responsive design and outlines the process for creating RWD and the benefits of it on their webmaster blog.

There are many ways to check the responsiveness of your website. Consider the following:

Google Mobile Responsive Design Test

If you find out your website isn’t responsive, it may be time to consider an update to your site.

2. It Isn’t Compatible with Search Engines

Does your website play well with search engines? The primary source of traffic for most websites comes from search results. If search engines and your rankings on SERPs are responsible for bringing you leads, you have a lot to gain from being SEO-friendly (and a lot to lose if you’re not!).

If you’re spending time creating great content, but posting it to a website that isn’t SEO-optimized, then your potential audience won’t find it.

How to Tell if You Are Search Engine Savvy

You can make your website SEO-friendly by following basic SEO rules like using keywords on critical pages on your site, developing a long-tail keyword strategy, using page titles and meta descriptions appropriately and adding alt-text to your images. While these provide a great start, a genuinely SEO-optimized site will have SEO-friendly features built into the site administrator’s interface to make SEO optimization a breeze.

Explore your sitemap and see if you have pages with error messages or that do not redirect correctly. If there are only a few these should be fixed for SEO purposes. If there is a web of confusion, maybe it is time to consider updating your site.

If your website isn’t loading efficiently, this is probably impacting your SEO and is a sign that it may be time for an update. Check out our blog post for 5 Ways to Optimize Site Speed for SEO and User Experience.


If traffic and lead capturing are important to you, then take action and get SEO-friendly. Moz has a useful guide containing SEO tips that you can use as a basis for an SEO strategy. Once you come up with an SEO strategy, evaluate if your website and your team are equipped to make the changes necessary to increase your site traffic. A new website with custom SEO features can ease the burden on you and your team by making certain SEO features required or automatic, and allow you to get your content to a new audience.

3. It Isn’t Compatible With Social Media

There are a few tell-tale signs that your website is compatible with social media. All you have to do is look at your website and ask yourself:

  • Are there links to my social media?

  • Are there social sharing buttons?

  • Are visitors likely to want to share my content?

If you cannot answer yes to all three questions, it may be time for an update.

How Does Your Site Appear on Social?

Another aspect of social you should consider is how your website shows up on popular platforms. When someone shares your link what thumbnails are available to them? Are they thumbnails you want to be associated with your site and brand?

To find out, type your URL into your “Update” section on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and check out what thumbnails come up. When we looked at Hubspot’s main URL, just their logo came up as a thumbnail option. This is probably intentional.

Hubspot Thumbnail Test

Are your thumbnails intentional and polished?

4. The Calls-to-Action Are Unclear

When people access your website is it immediately apparent what you want them to do? Can they tell if you are selling a product or a service? Do they know what their next steps should be after viewing your site? Are there obvious steps they can take while they are on your site like reading a blog post, downloading an eBook, or visiting your social media?

Your website should have multiple clear, concise CTAs to engage consumers at every level of the marketing funnel and that align with your marketing strategy.

Aligning your Calls-to-Action with your Marketing Objectives

If your marketing objectives are to generate awareness around a new feature for your product or service, then you should have a call to action around that point. A product or service discovery call to action may be as simple as saying “View the New Features.”

Perhaps you are exploring a marketing objective further down the funnel. If you are hoping to nurture more leads with an offer on your page, a CTA offering a free trial like on the Netflix homepage may come in handy.

 Netflix CTA

Some types of calls to action you could consider for your website include:

  • Lead Generation (email collection)

  • Form Submission (email and demographic data)

  • Read More Buttons

  • Social Sharing Buttons

  • Product or Service Discovery

  • Event Promotion

  • Blog Subscriptions

For a more detailed look at calls-to-action, check out this blog post. If you have failed to integrate CTAs onto your website it is probably time for an update.

5.  There is Poor User Experience

When someone visits your page what are their first impressions? Can they easily navigate the site? What about on the back end? Can your bloggers easily get their content up? When you need to make updates to the page is that experience seamless or frustrating?

External User Experience

To determine if your site is out of date from an external user’s perspective consider the following:

  • Open up a few of your favorite sites. Does your website have a modern look and feel like these sites or does it look older by comparison?

  • Is the navigation of the site intuitive?

  • Is there functional whitespace?

If these questions left you wincing, then it has probably been awhile since your last update and may be time to consider a new website.

Internal User Experience

As the content marketing trend leads toward more content-heavy websites, it is important that your site administrators be able update or add content easily. The interface that they are using on the back end should be just as intuitive for them as the front end is for consumers. An intuitive back end promotes frequent content updates without the hassle of going to your technical team.

If your user experience is lacking on either the external or internal end it is a sign you may be ready for a redesign.

6. It Is Not Consistent with Your Current Branding

If your branding has moved forward but your website has lagged behind this is a sure indication it’s time for an update. Your brand represents who you are; and your website is your online extension of your brand. Consistency is key to branding; your brand should be uniform across digital channels and in physical marketing to avoid confusing consumers about who you are and what you stand for.

Check your brand specs and outlines

Is the logo on your website the same as the logo you are using for other marketing channels? Is the font consistent with what you have outlined for your marketing efforts? What about the color palette? Make sure that your website is compatible with the brand frameworks you or your marketing team put forth. If your branding has changed and your website has not it is time for an update.

Visual Imagery and Branding

Are the more abstract aspects of your branding in order? If you are branding yourself as innovative and forward-thinking, and your website has visual elements that indicate that it is more than a few years old, your visitors might not trust that you are as contemporary as you claim you are.  

Strong Branding to Further Your Impact

If your website design and layout is not a direct indication of who you are as a business, it is out of date. Consistent branding only helps to build strong awareness and avoid the confusion of having a different looking and feeling business in person versus on your website or social media channels.

Fixing your Outdated Website

Think you’re ready for an update? Use this post as a guide for how you can start updating your site.

Does this post have you thinking about a full redesign? Learn how to avoid common mistakes and download our free guide, Making the Most of Your Website Redesign.

Do you want to make the most of your next website redesign?

A website redesign is an opportunity to align your web presence with your organization's goals.

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