THE BLOG
09/23/2016 07:11 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Hidden Costs of an Outdated Website

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Image credit: PhotoDune

Your website is often the first interaction most people have with your business, and it must reflect your brand, values and customer service levels. Many companies hesitate to spend money updating their sites but are losing more in hidden costs then they would pay to bring it up to current standards.

Poor Perception Means Lost Sales

As with clothing, website designs have fashion trends and consumers judge sites by how well they meet the latest standards. The evolution of site designs is a combination of new technology options, social trends, and proven effectiveness. While starting a website can be daunting these pros far outweigh the cons.

Outdated websites often have inaccurate product, service, staff, and contact information. Viewers of your site are comparing it to your competitors, and you will come out the loser. When a potential customer or employee views your outdated site they will have many negative reactions that can include:
  • You are going out of business
  • You will have horrible customer support
  • Your company is not cutting edge
  • Your company is technologically incompetent
  • You won't be able to keep my data secure
Any one of these perceptions will cause a viewer to click off your site, and you have potential lost a sale. Avoid this problem by developing an updated, streamlined site that is accurate, engaging, and easy to use. This upgrade will make you money and better reflect your organization.

Older Technology Limits Your Reach

An older website limits your ability to reach and engage your target audience.  It cannot support newer functions that are expected by users such as:
  • Client login to view online profile, history, etc.
  • Quick checkout process
  • Online quotes
  • Databases for statistics and reports
  • Newsletters, blogs, vlogs
  • Social media links
Your site must be easy to use, provide relevant information and allow you to engage your audience. While people may be loyal to a brand, the underlying relationship is person to person. You must use social media, blogs, newsletters, and customer conveniences to create positive experiences that lead to loyalty and increased sales.

Older Sites aren't Mobile Friendly

More shopping is done on mobile devices than ever before, and these numbers will grow exponentially over the next few years. The ability of your site to be viewed on mobile devices does not mean that it works well on these platforms.  Old websites create user concerns and frustrations when viewed on phones, tablets, and pads because they:
  • Load too slowly
  • Display text too small to read
  • Display pictures too small to be useful
  • Provide limited product information
  • Have a cumbersome checkout process
  • Raise questions about data security
Your website must be updated to translate well between a computer and mobile device. If you experience strong digital sales, you may want to create a site specific for mobile users.

Low Website Rankings Means Less Traffic

Potential customers need to find your site and old sites or site pages are ranked lower than new ones, making them nearly invisible to viewers. Using technology called spiders or Google bots, Google searches for websites and includes new ones into their database. Well-structured websites allow these bots to find all relevant data and make it available to the public. Poorly designed sites can unintentionally block pages or information which means they are not included in a search. The newer the site, the fewer problems you will have and the higher your rankings. To keep rankings high, it is important to periodically update pages, add new ones or otherwise keep your site relevant.

Security Issues

Cybercrime is rising and can take many forms. If your site is old, has outdated security measures, is not well maintained, a breach can occur. Breaches result in annual losses of 7.7 million dollars, and most attacks are perpetrated by members of an organized syndicate.

If you think your company is too small to be at risk, think again. Most hackers are not looking for money but information, including social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and credit card or banking information.  If you have employees and customers, you can be targeted, especially if your systems are easily breached. Updating your website must include an upgrade in your security protocols to protect your stored data and your company from lawsuits.

Bottom Line:

Old websites must be upgraded or redeveloped to protect your reputation, maintain your customer base, grow your business and protect your data. Each day you wait costs you countless opportunities that you will not recover.