Are Your Customers Staying On Your Website?
The internet has grown in popularity and usage since its conception in 1990. It has transformed the way we buy goods and services, stay informed, interact with each other, and, most of all, how we do business. With almost 4.54 billion people utilizing the internet daily, it has become a non-stop flow of consumerism, communication, and the gathering of information, which all begins with websites. And like all industries, web design and development, undergo changing trends that can improve or reduce your business’s ability to funnel some of this traffic for yourself. Below is a list of 5 outdated web design practices that need to be fixed now, if you don’t want to repel visitors.
Auto-Play Video & Music
If you have music or video that immediately starts playing once a visitor sets their digital footprint on digital space, DISABLE IT! Not only are you annoying them, but are likely causing people to leave your site much faster than they would otherwise.
Auto-play video and music can be disruptive and even embarrassing for those browsing at work (especially when they are supposed to working), in a café, library, or even a waiting room. Often instead of startled users pausing or muting the source of the noise, many will take the quicker route of merely closing the entire window.
You may think that someone genuinely interested in your site may opt to simply turn the volume down and return to your site, which a small percentage may do. Still, by then, you’ve already lost some viewers and given others a negative user experience.
Aside from this, auto-play video and music can slow down your page load times, which is a well-known hindrance to SEO optimization. Furthermore, you may get a more accurate idea of people who are interested in your content when they actually have to play it than those who simply stumble across your page.
For many website owners, flash banners seem to be an easy way to grab the viewer’s attention. In the early days of the internet, there weren’t many sites you could visit without some form of them. However, if you are still using them today, they can easily make your site appear outdated as they have fallen by the wayside of web design and development best practices.
One primary reason for this is because, at the height of their popularity, many people were still viewing websites on desktops. Now that viewing options include various devices, they don’t have the same visual appeal and may not even work. Unless HTML5/flash is utilized when creating them, they won’t appear on Google ad words. And other browsers such as Firefox and Safari don’t make them easy to use.
Furthermore, with the typical scanning behaviour of most web site visitors, only a small few will stick around to see what’s next. Google’s display benchmark has even flagged them for having a significantly lower click-through rate(CTR) than static banners.
Replacing your flash banners with static banners and GIF’s have not only been proven more effective with potential customers, but they also require less time and programming to create.
As briefly mentioned earlier, one of the contributing factors in the changing trends in website development and design are the various devices webpages can now be viewed on as opposed to the only desktop option that was available 30 years ago. As of 2016, mobile web usage has surpassed laptops and desktops. As a result, having a site that does not adjust to the different sized screens it will very likely be viewed on which is known as responsive design, can alone cause your site to look outdated and reduce overall user experience.
Additionally, Google not only penalizes these sites by lowering their ranking on search engine results but as of 2018, they now use mobile platforms to index websites. Other benefits to having a responsive design include faster loading times and cheaper development costs. Overall, if you want to have a competitive, respectable, and appealing presence online, your site MUST HAVE a responsive design.
No, I don’t mean those annoying pop-ups from the early days of the internet that were non stop and sometimes carrying viruses. I am referring to those modal pop-ups on individual pages that can’t be blocked and don’t require your permission to open.
Although these sorts of pop-ups are often used to promote a product or sale and can be useful in grabbing visitors’ email, it’s good to keep in mind that they can also be just as annoying as traditional pop-ups. The primary reason is similar to that of old pop-ups, which is that they take visitors’ attention away from the content that they actually visited the site for.
Using a prompt in the corners of a page, a small button, or banner at the top is generally received much better by viewers. Not only that, Google can lower your rankings if you misuse them on your site.
Above the Fold
Above the fold is an idea that came from traditional newspapers and made its way into early website design practices. For newspapers, they needed to put the best and most attention-getting stories and ads above the fold to encourage and increase sales. In website design, above the fold refers to the top half of the page that visitors view before scrolling.
With this in mind, many older websites crammed the top half of their sites with info that would entice viewers to scroll. Although this seems to make basic sense, it is merely unnecessary. Due to the increase in mobile users, most people are accustomed to scrolling. In fact, the very typical scanning behavior of most viewers actually requires them to.
Furthermore, there are several ways visitors can enter a site without necessarily coming from the home page, let alone viewing it at all. An above the fold approach can also make a website look cluttered, which again gives off an outdated feel.
If you are concerned about grabbing and keeping your visitor’s attention, it would be a much better use of your time to focus on producing great content and attractive designs.
Don’t Short Change Your Business
In a nutshell, outdated sites can sabotage a business’s attempts to impress current customers or gain new ones. Some website owners may not feel it’s necessary to follow every changing trend. However, many outdated features are the results of public feedback and visitor behaviour patterns that enhance user experience. Updating them encourages the kind of engagement that leads to purchases, supporting a cause, or simply getting you essential data and feedback. So, not keeping up with current trends does any business with a website presence more harm than good.