Have you ever glanced in the mirror only to realize, in horror, that you’ve been walking around all day with an unsightly piece of food stuck between your teeth? All of those people you interacted with and not one of them had the courage to say, “Hey, you have something in your teeth!”
This is essentially the same scenario that many small businesses unknowingly face day in and day out. Potential customers and even friends visit their website, perceive how in need of updating it is, yet never say a word.
Perhaps they’re just being polite but it certainly doesn’t do the business any good. Sometimes what you need is an impartial guide, and that’s exactly what we have for you. Want to really know if your web design is outdated? Here are 5 sure signs to watch out for!
1. It isn’t responsive on all devices.
It’s 2018, you’re in big trouble if your web design isn’t responsive on all devices. There’s no telling what users will view your website on. It could be mobile or desktop, or it could be on a smart TV or even a vehicle browser.
This is where responsive design comes in. It’s not just mobile-friendly, it’s every device friendly. Responsive web designs adjust seamlessly to whatever screen size they are viewed on.
If you’re unsure if your current web design is responsive, run it through this tool which will give you a preview of your website on multiple devices. Need an updated, responsive web design? Most modern day website themes are responsive, easy to use, and quick to launch.
2. You have a high bounce rate.
Your website’s bounce rate indicates whether users navigate away from your website after viewing only one page or if they continue further by clicking your navigation, links, etc.. It may be that your website loads so slow that users make a bee line for the “back button”. Perhaps the design is confusing or hectic. Generally speaking, high bounce rate = poor website.
…but there are exceptions! Having a high bounce rate is not always a sign that your web design is outdated. It could mean that users are finding the answer that they’re looking for – like your business’s phone number – right away without having to explore your website further.
If your homepage’s bounce rate is high, you may also want to take a look at your titles and metas. Perhaps the way you are presenting your website in search engine results is setting users up with the wrong expectation.
3. The images are sub-par.
Sure, anyone can find a free picture online to plop into a web design, but it takes someone with an eye for design to pick the right one. Images don’t just look good, they feel good. When used effectively they can evoke specific emotions in your website visitors.
Great website images possess a combination of the following qualities:
- Contrast: If you plan on layering text on top of an image, be sure it contrasts enough with the text to allow for easy reading. Filters and overlays can help with this.
- High resolution: The greater the number of pixels per inch, the clearer your image will be. Using high resolution images in web design will go a long way in preventing your web design from appearing outdated.
- Original: Steer clear of those dreaded cliche stock photos. One way to tell if a photo is overused is by doing a quick reverse image search. Simply right click on the image and select ‘Search Google with this image’.
If you’re looking for high-quality free images, check out Unsplash. You can thank us later!
4. It takes more than 2 seconds to load.
We know, we know – 2 seconds doesn’t give you much wiggle room. Unfortunately for those with a laggy website, that’s simply the reality for website performance in 2018.
And if your website is really slow (think 10 seconds or more) you risk the ramifications of Google’s “Speed Update”:
“[Google is] announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches. The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.” – Google 2018
Slow websites will still have the ability to rank, but they will have more obstacles to overcome. When it comes to ranking in search engine results, the less stacked against you, the better.
Test your website’s speed now with Google’s loading speed tester.
5. Branding has been forgotten.
When you visit a website like Apple’s, you are greeted with minimalism. This flows and complements their branding to a tee.
Compare Apple’s website to one like Forever 21’s and you’ll see what an impact web design can have on branding. Apple feels sophisticated and clean, Forever 21 is all about punchy colors and sales.
Since your website may serve as your business’s first impression to users online, you want to be certain it helps further solidify your brand design – not muddle it. If you haven’t yet, create your own branding book. This is something a designer can make for you or you can tackle yourself.
Branding books typically include guidance on the following:
- Content: An outline of your brand’s communication style. Text often falls into one of two categories: detailed and formal (Time, for example) or brief and fun (like Lyft).
- Imagery: Web design images can come in all kinds of different forms. Modern photography is a popular choice for most web designs, but custom graphics and shapes can also make for a creative, one-of-kind web design.
- Text style: Typography examples for body text, headlines, etc. This is where you indicate which fonts, text colors, sizes, and capitalization your brand pairs together and layers over images.
- Audience: Any decent branding book will include information about the audience the brand is trying to reach. From demographics to likes and dislikes, branding should be centered around your business’s target audience.
- Brand story: How did your business get started and why? What is your mission?
This will be a handy reference for designers and your team when creating new web designs and promotions.
With the ever-changing trends and advances in web design, it’s important to take a good long look at your website on occasion. We hope that our impartial guide has revealed to you what friends likely will not – whether your web design is outdated or not!