By Published On: May 7, 2013Categories: Web Design and Development

When we evaluate a website, the first step is to give it a 30 second fitness test. Seriously, that’s how long it takes to determine whether a website is minimally equipped to compete for both visitor and search engine attention. There are certain telltale signs that a website is out-of-date (or modern, but poorly built) that stand out like a girl wearing a blue dress on Yellow Dress Day.

In a glance, your website needs to very obviously declare its purpose to the visitor without distractions. A general rule of thumb is that a man from Mars should be able to figure out what your website is about and what he is expected to do in less than 4 seconds. What appeals to a human being (or a Martian), is also what Google, in all of its algorithmic greatness, likes best. Clutter and flashing lights are out, while sleek and streamlined are in.

These are some of the website elements that will scream old age and poor quality, and repel the search engines:

  • ENTER HERE splash page
  • Ancient copyright (Google now marks even old blog posts as “Old”.)
  • Flash and animated graphics
  • A cluster of city names or keywords, whether linked or not
  • Image heavy, content light (unless your site is about images or video)
  • “Welcome to…” as a headline
  • Autoplaying media
  • Using graphic or gimmicky fonts (rather than Cufon or Google fonts)
  • Intrusive background images and long loading times
  • Clutter
  • Direct email link rather than a contact form
  • Obviously antiquated design
  • Multiple or keyword heavy URL(s) (unless they are descriptive and useful to the user)
  • A page just for links, with no obvious connection to your business

A deeper look into a website might also reveal the following fatal flaws:

  • Archaic code and tags
  • Outdated information
  • Broken links
  • Clunky navigation
  • Design elements that get in the way of the sale

So, why does the age of your website matter? A website is a critical piece of a company’s credibility. An old or unprofessional website tells a story. You need customers to trust you, and a confusing experience on a website that does not appear to be maintained speaks volumes. Your older website may still look good to you, but compare it to the competition. Based on that impression, who would you choose to do business with?