4 Dead Give Aways Your Site is Out of Date

Between random web browsing and perusing the sites my clients provide me as examples of what they might like to see/not like to see in a website, I come across quite a few outdated sites. Short of Viewing Source and looking for a bunch of table cells being used as the basis for layout, here is my official 2011 list of immediate clues that your website is out of date (and likely hurting your SEO and visitors eyeballs):

Micro-font Size

It was a big trend among web designers to get fonts as small as possible (and often as light gray, too) in the early 2000s. Perhaps that’s because only 20/20 visioned college kids were building the web back then, I’m not sure (and wasn’t completely innocent of the trend at the time), but if your site was built when 800×600 was the dominant resolution and your font was small back then, imagine what size it will be today on 1400px wide screen resolutions or while being viewed on an iPhone’s smaller screen. Verdict: small fonts are lame, keep them large enough to be read, please.

Images for Text

Perhaps one of the biggest factors in hurting your website with Google and co, it’s always a pleasure to come across a site where 50% of the text is created via images. You can usually tell because the images will also have a wicked default Photoshop drop shadow associated with them. With today’s options, even text replacement methods that were the standard two or three years ago are, in my opinion, never to be used again. People like to copy and paste text, and robots like to read it but can’t do so on an image.

Using Non-standard Characters for “Really Cool Web Typography”

For some reason, we all thought it was awesome to add extra characters as design inspiration. Using a bracket, for example, proved to the visitor that they were on a cool, hip website vs. stuck in the stone ages with a magazine or some other boringly professionally edited for grammar source of information. A few examples:

  • all lower case letters != cool.
  • [home] [about] [contact] [my navigation is totally digital]
  • » This is a bullet point. I don’t need to use bullets, I’ve got so many other symbols to work with!

Anything Resembling a Landing Page

“Put my logo in the center of the page and have a button that allows users to ‘Click Here to View My Website'”. My typical response is “Should I also have a button that allows them to never, ever want to come back to your website again?” Only once was the answer actually yes.

This is not a sales pitch, nor an effort to insult any specific existing websites out there today, just my little way of clarifying to my tens of readers that an issue exists, and beware of dark alleys when delving too deep into the www.

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