An old house with stairs and a ladder that ytechnology fixes.

The Risks of an Outdated Website Design

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The Parable of the Homeless Accountant: Lessons in Digital First Impressions

In the world of web design, consider a website that appeared outdated and neglected, akin to a homeless accountant arriving at a crucial job interview. Its visual elements didn’t impress at first glance.

Yet, beneath the surface, this website possessed valuable content and functionality. Regrettably, users quickly judged it based on its initial appearance, unaware of the treasures hidden within. Just as in real life, the digital realm teaches us that first impressions can impact opportunities profoundly.

You’d be surprised how many real-life versions of my homeless account analogy I encounter in my world. At this point, I don’t know if it’s a question of people not understanding the importance of their site’s impression on visitors or if people are busy surviving in business and ignore the fires they can’t see. Still, many of our business growth discussions start with a web presence.

This article aims to point out why it matters to your business.

How Outdated Website Design Can Lead to a Decline in User Experience

An outdated website often leads to a poor user experience, resulting in high bounce rates and diminished user engagement. Visitors expect intuitive navigation, captivating visuals, and seamless functionality, which outdated websites may lack.

Look at your own experience if given two website options: 1) purely functional but missing all the bells and whistles you see on other sites, and 2) a well-designed site with the bells and whistles. Which would you choose? It’s human nature; first impressions matter.

The Perils of Neglecting Mobile Optimization for Your Website

Another thing that troubles outdated websites is that they are not optimized for mobile. I’m unsure if some of our clients don’t know or aren’t connecting the dots, so let me be clear: more than half of all internet traffic is mobile.

If the mobile version of your site sucks (yes, there are different “versions” for desktops and mobile devices. I’ll explain it all in a separate post.), you’ve just told half the internet that you aren’t interested in their business.

Still not convinced? What if I told you that this minor omission in page design can ultimately impact a company’s credibility and reputation? [reaches into his bag of magic data]

3 mobile ux stats

Here’s the big picture: It’s crucial for businesses to regularly update their website to keep up with changing technologies and user expectations. This can involve updating the design, optimizing for mobile devices, improving site speed, and ensuring content is relevant and valuable to users. By investing in regular website updates, businesses can improve their online presence, attract and retain visitors, and ultimately drive better results.

Outdated Website Design Can Crush Your Search Engine Rankings

Google is the internet’s concierge. What does that mean? Google’s business model is to match their user’s intent (what’s typed in the search box) with an answer. It could be an answer from their knowledge base, one from their AI, or one from Wikipedia, but very often (a little less than 50% of the time), it’s a list of web pages. This is called the search engine results page.

To make sure their users keep coming back to ask questions, they put a lot of work into generating responses that match what their users are looking for. To do this, they have to rank web pages like yours. The best pages that match the intent are on the first page of Google; others are hundreds of pages down the line.

The critical thing to remember is that Google is looking out for its users by providing the best answers to questions. It does that by looking at content and user experience. This is where having an outdated site or a poor experience can bite you. Google serves about 8.5 million search results pages each day (take that, Mcdonald’s); if your page sucks, you’re likely missing out on one of those 4.25 billion searches, being your next customer.

All search engines prioritize modern, user-friendly websites in their rankings. Outdated websites with obsolete design elements and slow loading speeds may suffer from lower visibility in search results. These are a set of specific factors that Google uses to gauge the user experience of a website, including loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability.

Websites that score poorly on these Core Vitals may negatively impact their search rankings. I’ll spare you all the technical details. I’m bringing this up so that it stays front of mind in your discussions with developers, your marketing team, or any outside resources you may engage to help with your web presence. If they aren’t discussing these factors with you, you should take another look at their offering.

image of stats

Fading Trust: The Price of an Outdated Website Design

An old website doesn’t say what you think it says. According to the stats, it conveys an impression of stagnation and neglect, jeopardizing the trust and credibility of your brand in the eyes of potential customers. It’s kind of like a company that consistently fails to deliver on its promises or provide quality products and services; it will quickly lose credibility and trust among its customer base. Trust is a fundamental component of any successful business; it can be challenging to regain once lost.

Why does it work like this? The logic is pretty self-evident, but here’s an added piece. People’s attention is a valuable commodity these days. There’s always stiff competition for it (i.e., social media, streaming entertainment, real life, etc.). If a user steps away from that to solve whatever problem you say you solve, the clock is ticking, and the cost of failure is high because there is always the option of hitting the reverse button.

screen shot of the back button of a browser
Your job is to provide enough value and quality user experience to keep this button out of the user’s mind.

In that way, user experience is less about search engines and more about business survival: you can’t sell to a customer who won’t stay on your site.

On a related note, scandals, unethical behavior, or dishonesty within a company can lead to a loss of credibility and trust in the offline world. When customers feel that a company cannot be trusted or its values do not align with theirs, they are likely to take their business elsewhere. In that way, establishing and maintaining trust online is just as important. It’s likely more critical since online customers decide in a split second whether they should trust you or move.

It is essential for companies to continuously work on building and maintaining trust and credibility with their customers. This can be achieved through transparent communication, consistently delivering on promises, and prioritizing customer satisfaction. When a company is seen as trustworthy and credible, it can increase customer loyalty and a positive brand reputation. On the other hand, a loss of credibility and trust can have long-lasting adverse effects on a company’s success and growth.

Squandered Potential: How Outdated Website Design Misses Customer Engagement and Conversion Opportunities

An outdated website may lack the interactive and compelling features essential for driving user engagement and converting visitors into customers, ultimately leading to missed business opportunities.

1. Lack of responsive design: A website not optimized for mobile viewing can lead to a poor user experience and potential customer frustration. With the increasing use of mobile devices for internet browsing, not having a responsive website design can result in missed opportunities for engagement and conversions.

2. Limited or confusing calls to action (CTAs): If a website lacks clear and compelling CTAs, it can be challenging for visitors to know what actions to take next. Without effective CTAs, visitors may not be motivated to engage with the website and convert into customers.

3. Poor navigation and usability: Visitors may become frustrated and leave the site without taking the desired actions if a website is challenging to navigate or lacks intuitive usability. A complicated or confusing navigation can lead to missed opportunities for customer engagement and conversions.

4. Ineffective content and messaging: If a website lacks relevant and compelling content, it may fail to capture the attention and interest of visitors. Without engaging content and messaging, visitors may not be inclined to engage with the website and convert into customers.

5. Limited interactive features: Without interactive elements such as live chat, quizzes, or personalized recommendations, a website may miss opportunities to engage visitors and guide them toward conversion. Interactive features can help to create a more immersive and engaging experience for visitors, ultimately increasing the likelihood of conversion.

6. Inconspicuous contact information: If a website makes it difficult for visitors to find contact information or contact the business, it can deter potential customers from engaging further. Clear and accessible contact information is essential for facilitating communication and conversion opportunities.

7. Slow loading times: If a website has slow loading times, it can lead to visitor frustration and abandonment. Slow loading times can hinder user engagement and conversions, as visitors may not have the patience to wait for the website to load.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but these are the top 7 see in our work. The thing to remember here is that to maximize business potential, websites must incorporate modern web design patterns.


Losing focus on your website is akin to losing focus on your business. Sure, you could argue that you’ve survived this long with an outdated site, but how much money have you left on the table? Also, how much of your business of today is being siphoned off by competitors that are getting ahead in this arena?

The good news is that these risks are entirely avoidable. By investing in regular updates and staying attuned to the latest design trends and technologies, you can ensure your website remains a powerful asset, engaging visitors and converting them into loyal customers.

Remember, your website serves as the digital face of your business, and its performance directly impacts your online reputation, visibility, and profitability. Don’t let an outdated design hold you back; instead, make it a priority to keep your online presence fresh, relevant, and appealing to visitors.

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