How to Tell if Your Website is Outdated

Globe ClockMany consumers are now using the internet to make purchases, get information, and get in contact with your business. If they’re searching for a product or service, where will they look? There’s a good chance they’re skip the yellow pages and use the far more powerful internet. When they land on your webpage, what will they see? A beautifully and professionally designed modern website? Or a difficult to use and totally outdated website? If its the latter, there’s a good chance that you just lost a potential customer to your competitors.

So how do you avoid having an obsolete website and how do you tell if your website is outdated? Watch out for the following.

Outdated Copyright Date

I see this far too often on many websites. Even a complete internet newbie could figure this out. Having an old copyright date is an indication to visitors and customers that your website has no active team behind it. They want to know that your website has trustworthy and up to date information, and an outdated copyright date is the first thing that will cause you to lose their trust.

Outdated Copyright

The copyright of the Feedburner Blog. Screenshot taken August 9, 2010.

There are many scripts that can automatically display the current year if you’re too lazy to edit it once a year.

You Have a Splash Page (or Welcome Page)

A splash page is a website home page that says ‘Click here to enter”. Splash pages often contain a little introduction on what the website is about. But when your visitors come to your page, making them wait for the splash page and then click another link to actually enter your web page is a terrible idea and leads to a very high rate of abandoning the site.

It’s not good for SEO either. Search engines crawl and index your home page the most and if it’s just a welcome page with no “real” content, it will do more harm than good in your search engine rankings.

It’s 2010. Get rid of the splash page and let visitors go straight to your content.

Pure Flash Website

Flash is pretty isn’t it? It can do all these cool effects with smooth animations. Why not just make the whole website out of Flash?

Woah! Hold on. Flash is useful for a few site elements here and there, but a whole website will cost you.

Flash is horrible for SEO. While normal users might see the actual content, search engines would simply see the Flash embed codes. In the eyes of the search engine crawlers, any Flash content is meaningless.

If someone doesn’t have Flash installed or has it disabled, they miss out on your site just like the search engine bots do.

Flash is far more difficult to update than regular HTML code.

So, skip the Flash and make your website with normal (X)HTML.

Images Instead of Text

Search engines can only read text. They can’t read Flash and they can’t read images either. While search engines can index the images, they can’t actually read what’s inside the image. If something can be text and is not sensitive information like emails, why make it an image?

Images also take longer to edit and are larger in size so slow down the page speed, which now affects Google search rankings.

Blinking and/or Scrolling Text

Trying to attract someone’s attention with blinking or scrolling text is not only outdated, but is annoying. It definitely will attract a visitor’s attention, but they would not only ignore the message, but leave your site completely. Get rid of the deprecated HTML elements of marquee and blink.

Usage of Old Deprecated HTML Tags

Does your site use CSS? If not, there’s a good chance your site is outdated. Using tables to format everything is not the way we do things in 2010. Neither is using the old font tag.

In the earlier days of the internet, everything was HTML. The content and design were all in one file. Today, content goes to one file and design goes into a style sheet. This makes editing a lot faster, easier, and more flexible.

Old Content

When’s your last blog post or news update? 6 months ago? Are your new updates covering things that happened a while ago? If so, that’s a big sign telling visitors to click the back button.

It Just Looks Old

The web is always advancing and certainly came a long way since the internet was first created. If you compare a website design from the 1990s to 2010, the difference is truly amazing.

In the modern day of 2010, would you trust a website that looked like this shown below?

CNET.com 1996

CNET.com in 1996. (Credit: Internet Archive Wayback Machine)

You would more likely trust a site that looks like this below right?

CNET.com 2010

CNET.com in 2010

What are some other ways you can use to tell if a website is outdated? Do you try to keep your site looking modern? Share with us in the comments!

By
Brian is the co-founder of TechAirlines. He is a web developer and manages most of the site’s operations. He is currently a freshman at Stony Brook University, majoring in Computer Science.

  • http://www.creastery.com Creastery

    Text, text and just plainly text.
    I hate to see sites full of text with no picture at all.
    I do agree that having a bit of picture here and there that is relevant is good but having none is not really good.

    I have come across a lot of sites that loads for at least a minute or two. This is because there is a lot of loading of flash, high quality images, advertisements, huge javascript files, etc.

    I would wish to hear more comments coming in.
    Have a good day all!

    • http://www.techairlines.com Brian

      I’ve seen so many sites like this. Most of the time if I come across a pure text website with no proper design whatsoever, I press the Back button. To make things worse, often times the background is a repeating image.

      I dislike pure Flash websites including ones made by the Wix.com service. They require you to load the entire thing before you can even see anything. In addition, I tend to like opening things in new tabs using middle click but that is impossible in Flash.

      There is one site that loads an intensive amount of Javascript but is a very modern and popular website. Mashable.com. The site loads so many scripts my whole browser sometimes freezes while loading their home page.

      With advertisements, I usually like to focus on content and design before ads. I see many sites put the ads before the content. In a blog post, the first thing I see is an ad right under the title rather than the actual post.

      Thanks for commenting,
      Brian

  • http://inkjam.blogspot.com Sandipan

    I agree with you splash pages are a waste.