Think about your own experience.
When you land on an outdated website that looks ugly, old or neglected…
You assume some things.
About the company behind the website. And most of your assumptions are not good.
You may think to yourself:
“Business must be slow for these people. It doesn’t look like they’ve touched their site in 5 years.”
“Why, why, WHY do I have to pinch my phone to zoom in on this website?”
“I wonder if this company is even still in business.”
Then you think… “oh well” before hitting the BACK button.
Is that about right?
In this article, we’re going to discuss the dangers of using an outdated website to represent your company.
And how your current website may be hurting your reputation and driving business straight to your competitors.
That it takes just 1/20th of a second for site visitors to form a first impression about your business.
And once that first impression is seared into their minds, they will either stay and explore what you have to offer, or they will leave and find someone else. It happens very fast.
Below are 9 unintended consequences of using an outdated website.
1. People May Think You Just Don’t Care
I get it.
It’s been a while since your website was built.
Maybe you got a new website designed real cheap, or you hired an web designer that went out of business or you got roped in to a contract with YP or Hibu.
Or… maybe it’s just been a long time since your website was last updated.
Today, we’re gonna face some hard truths.
When your website looks ignored, is outdated or is just plain old, it sends a message to your visitors.
You just don’t care about the things your customers really want.
Potential customers are looking to you for solutions to their problems.
Most people immediately go to the web to search for companies that can help. When you neglect something as important as your website, your visitors may be thinking that you neglect other areas of your business.
And that you don’t care enough to be someone they want to do business with.
2. The Quality of Goods or Services is Questionable
Cold prospects don’t have much to go on before deciding whether or not to take the next step.
The next step might be a phone call, appointment request, job application, request for quote or online purchase.
They use your website to judge you, your company and your products before deciding whether or not they want to take a chance on you.
When it’s apparent that it has been years since you invested any resources in your website…
It is also assumed that your company probably doesn’t invest much in the people, processes or systems required to deliver a quality product.
Although these assumptions may not in fact be true…
They will shape the perception of value and quality you offer.
And if prospects don’t “feel good” about your company’s quality, they are not going to trust you with their business.
3. Your Credibility is Diminished
The truth may be.
That you have the most qualified, most experienced, most trustworthy team in the nation in your area of expertise.
But if you are interested in earning new business…
…and your current website just isn’t up to snuff.
It may be best to avoid sending new people you meet to the website.
Because once they get there, your credibility may take a nose-dive.
If your website is light on content, includes errors or outdated information, your company’s perceived competence my suffer as well.
4. You Don’t Look Like You’re “With it”
People want to buy from companies that know how to deliver the goods in the best way possible.
A higher value is place on companies that are professional, forward-moving, cutting-edge and stay in tune with the latest developments in their industry.
The problem is.
If you are such a company, but your website is not – there’s a huge disconnect.
Your prospects will assume you are out of touch with advancements in your industry, and there are others more qualified than you to solve their problems.
In the absence of some other form of validation, your website will fall far short in convincing prospects that you are the most qualified for the job.
5. You Make Your Competition Look Great
When a visitor lands on your website…
…and leaves because the information you offered did not establish you as a trustworthy or credible source for their needs.
Where do you think they are going next?
Most likely – they are going back to Google to find one of your competitors’ websites.
If their website looks better, informs better and establishes trust faster…
You just lost a potential deal (and lifelong customer) to your competitor.
Go ahead and size up the competition.
If their website gives more information in a cleaner, easier-to-use format… and answers the most common questions searchers are looking for.
They are currently beating you on the web.
6. Outdated Websites are Embarrassing
“Don’t look at our current website, we’ll be launching a new one soon.”
If you have, chances are you’ve said it over and over. And you know how bad the old one is.
If you haven’t, and your website truly is cause for embarrassment…
You may be out of touch.
And your employees likely cringe every time someone asks them for your web address.
Not because it embarrasses them, but because they don’t want the company to look as bad as the website makes the company look.
7. It’s Hurting Customer Service & Morale
Outdated information leaves your visitors confused….
…and your employees frustrated.
Especially information relating to your address, phone numbers, team members, services, products, etc.
Your website should be a reliable, current source of information and resources to serve customers.
But it also can serve employees in a big way.
When your website still lists former employees (or takes months to add new ones), that’s bad.
It could affect morale by making team members feel undervalued and unappreciated.
Additionally, when customers request expired or outdated coupons, products, discounts, services or other things listed on your website.
It creates a bad customer experience.
8. Your Google Rankings Are Dropping
Google is always working to improve the quality of its search results.
Their goal is to deliver a list of the best websites or resources to each and every searcher every time.
And they are always updating and refining their algorithm to improve the quality of search results.
In 2016 alone – Google announced 10 major updates to their ranking algorithm.
A couple big ranking factors that affect old websites:
NUMBER ONE – non mobile-friendly websites are penalized with lower rankings
NUMBER TWO – freshly updated website content helps boost Google rankings
In addition to that,
There are over 200 more ranking factors that go into Google search results.
Websites that remain current are typically rewarded with higher rankings.
While websites that do not remain current typically see their rankings (and traffic) fall over time.
9. It Looks Like You’re Out of Business
We’ve saved the worst for last.
It’s been said…
“Your outdated website is like putting a ‘Closed for Business’ sign in your window.”
That’s awful. But true.
When you land on a website that has’t been touched in years, it makes you question whether or not the company is still alive.
This can literally turn customers away and cost you thousands of dollars in business.
So, There You Have It
We’ve looked at 9 ways your old, outdated website may be hurting business. There are other hidden costs as well like sales inefficiencies, slow website speeds, poor user experience, security vulnerabilities and others that add up to multiple missed opportunities to earn more business.
If you’re wondering…
How do I know if I have an outdated website?
Here are a few things to look for. If you are using any of the following, it’s time to make some changes:
Outdated Website Design Factors
- Website uses Flash
- Non-mobile friendly
- Gaudy backgrounds
- Blinking, annoying text
- Unnecessary page clutter
- Auto-play videos
- Background music
- Misaligned images
- Small font sizes
- Too many font colors
- Fancy or hard-to-read fonts
- Inconsistent font types
- Huge uncompressed image files
- Excessive image borders
- Slideshows with 25 images
- Lady with headset stock photo
- Suits shaking hands stock photo
Outdated Website Content Factors
- Low word counts on key pages
- Long paragraphs of text
- Excessive keyword stuffing
- No recent samples of work
- Incorrect phone numbers
- Services or products no longer offered
- Former employees still listed
- New employees not listed
- Excessive use of stock photography
- Outdated images of offices, products
- Common questions not answered
- Expired coupons or specials
- Old or neglected blog/news section
- Broken links to or from website
- Broken images or logo
- Pixelated or blurry images
- No way to update easily