We are currently closing in on three decades of history for the Internet, and boy have things changed over the years.
Not only were the first websites incredibly simple, but many of them would be considered positively garish by today’s standards. Huge fonts, flashing banners, and endless animations were once considered standard online. On the one hand, it’s funny to think about… but on the other hand, we are just glad that part of web design history is over.
But, while web design has grown in leaps and bounds over the years, we do still find companies sticking to old tactics and outdated ideas on the Internet. In the same way that no executive should be wearing a bell bottom suit in 2015, neither should your website be displaying any of these old-school defects:
Complicated layouts and pages – once upon time, websites were a novelty (and they took a long time to load). That meant users would spend a while looking at them in trying to understand what they were all about. Now, however, you have a few seconds, at most, to get to the point. Make sure your website is easy to understand at first glance.
One-dimensional design – there aren’t just more websites than ever, there are more devices to access them with. Surveys show that the majority of web surfers are using phones and tablets, so put a responsive web design in place that makes it easy for them to find and use your content.
Slow-loading websites – when dial-up connections went away, so did our patience for websites that load slowly. Get a web presence that is properly coded, and invest in quality hosting, so that visitors won’t get bored while they are waiting for your pages to load.
Long blocks of text – surfing the web isn’t just a leisure activity anymore, which is why nobody wants to read a huge block of uninterrupted text. Break new ideas into separate pages, and get into the habit of using subheadings, bulleted list, and other separators to make it easier to scan.
Stale content – you aren’t just trying to get people to notice your shiny new website, you’re competing for attention. Visitors to your website like to see current, up-to-date thoughts. For that matter, so does Google. Make sure you edit and refresh your content – including photos – on a regular basis.
Missing links – social media isn’t just the fastest-growing area of the web, it’s practically a way of life for many people. If users can’t find links to your Facebook, Twitter, and Google + accounts, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity for customer engagement.
Complicated forms and calls to action – in the old days, a customer might call a phone number to place an order, or be willing to fill out page after page of information (like shoppers used to do on the backs of catalogs). Now, if someone is interested in what you have to offer, you have to make it easy for them to follow up and respond. Even an e-commerce site doesn’t need endless forms, so streamline your user experience to make it simple for first-time visitors to do business with you or find out more.
If your website seems like a relic from the past, know that nostalgia probably isn’t going to help your sales. Call or email us today to see how we can bring your business into the 21st century (and improve your bottom line at the same time).