Technology evolves quickly. 10 years ago, the first iPad debuted to the world. A few North American telecom companies began supporting LTE. Instagram had just launched after being originally conceived as a mobile check-in app like Foursquare. We’re surrounded by technology that is in a constant state of evolution and enhancement, which is especially true of the web. And the more time your customers spend on the web, the more apparent it is when they visit an outdated website. Let’s examine how your customers can tell when you have an outdated website.
Perhaps the most obvious sign that you may have an outdated website is if it sits inside of a fixed, narrow container. In basic terms, websites are composed of a series of parent containers containing child containers, all of which are contained within a main (you guessed it) container. If you right-click on this page and select “Inspect” (or “Inspect Element”), you can see these containers in action.
Back in the day, computer monitors had much lower resolution than they do today. See how an older website like Craigslist has such large margins on the sides when viewed on a high-resolution monitor. Not only is this wasted screen real estate, but site visitors often have to hunch closer to the screen to read it.
We write these containers in a language called HTML, or Hypertext Markup Language. HTML is the foundation of all websites, and at one time, all websites had to be explicitly written in HTML. This is another clear sign of an outdated website.
A website written in pure HTML will often have stale, outdated content, because all of the information is static. Modern websites will use a different language that “compiles” into HTML and implement a database for all information, which makes a site’s content more dynamic. It’s the modern equivalent of early humans discovering fire and learning to cook their food. When the properties of that content can be easily changed, the sky is the limit on what can be created.
Another issue is technologies that aren’t well-supported anymore. The best example of this is Flash. Millennials might remember playing Flash-based games like Neopets or watching Flash-based animations like Homestar Runner. Flash was an extremely popular tool on the early web. But since the invention of the smartphone, Flash has very little support across the web, and most browsers won’t play Flash by default. In fact, at the end of 2020, Adobe will no longer support Flash Player on any platform.
One final visible sign of an outdated website is a lack of updates. This can come in a variety of forms. If your website has a blog, but the latest blog post is from several years ago, that tells your site’s visitors that your website is not well-maintained. A lack of linked social media accounts exacerbates this issue, as well as an out-of-date copyright year.
An important component of any modern website is an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate ensures a safe connection from your visitors to your website. Seeing that lock in the URL bar is now an expectation from the majority of your site’s visitors, and it’s a symbol that represents trust and security.
It’s not always easy to keep up with the latest web standards and provide the best experience for your customers and potential customers. Luckily, we are constantly learning the latest techniques and technologies to keep your customers happy and engaged with your content. Contact us today to see how we can breathe some new life into your website!