(Guest writer: Steven Papas)
We all know that the Internet changes at lightning speed (could be faster) and that means, techniques and technologies we used 3 years ago are obsolete! You should be on your feet and keep up with these changes constantly. Luckily, there are some clear warning signs that tell you that your site needs an update. Here are the "red flags" that will let you know.
1 – Your Site Looks Like a Coding Freak
How does this happen? You hired a designer to create the site, and then when you needed an overhaul, you hired another to fix it. And then another to fix it. Now, you’ve got ten years of bad code piled on top of bad code and your site’s design is a mess. A better idea is to make a fresh start.
2 – A Fancy Flash Intro Dazzles Your Visitors
Flash was so cool about ten years ago. Now, it’s “so ten years ago.” I guarantee you that nobody’s impressed anymore when you’ve got a flash intro welcoming them to your site. People have no time for this clutter; your visitors want to access the information that they are looking for as fast as possible.
In fact, a flash intro may even keep them from viewing your site. On an older browser, it takes forever for the intro to load. While they’re waiting, they’re going to be clicking the “back” button or heading somewhere else.
3 – You’re Not Being Social
We now live in the world of Web 2.0, and it’s all about communicating and networking. Your site isn’t a billboard or print advertisement; it should be an active part of a community. This means that you need to get out on social networking sites and create some community.
The more you let your users get involved in your site, the more they’ll stick around. You can install Facebook widgets, “Tweet This” buttons, and even user profile functions for your customers. You should at least have a comments section and be running a fan page on Facebook. These social networking sites are some of the most popular places on the web, so you should be there mixing it up!
4 – The Site Is Covered With Tables
Several years ago, tables were the main design used for websites. Nowadays, it’s totally a thing of the past. Tables are hard to read, and they’re just about impossible for search engines to find. In fact, they’re technically made with invalid HTML code. So, they’ve got to go!
5 – You Still Need To Go Mobile
The entire internet is now going mobile and if your site’s not set up for it, you’ll lose customers left and right. If your site isn’t mobile-compatible, it will take forever to load on their mobile devices and it will look like garbage.
Techie experts predict that mobile is the thing of the future, and the number of sales of smartphones is supporting this prediction. Get a mobile version of your site going so you don’t get left behind.
6 – You’re Hiring A Programmer For Every Little Change
These days, more and more companies are using a CMS, or content management system. This is an interface that allows anyone in your staff to make changes when needed. Things happen quickly in the world of the internet, so you’ve got to be able to make these necessary changes without having to hire a web designer again.
7 – No Inspiring Towards Action
Your site needs to have a simple, clear, and effective call to action to get them moving. It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to get them to sign up for a newsletter, donate to a non-profit organization or hit the “Buy Now” button.
Everything needs a strong call to action to get them moving. For example, don’t make them sign up for a membership to buy your product; let them buy as a guest and you’ll remove one more barrier from them taking action.
Editor’s note: This post is written by Steven Papas for Hongkiat.com. Steven is the owner of VeryBestSoftware.net where one can find reviews for well-known Internet security and parental control software.