Web development trends today are incredibly different from trends from a decade ago. Good web design increases ROI and sales, increases search engine rank and SEO, and it attracts more users to bookmark your site. This article describes 5 old school website design trends that you should ditch for an update.
As a web developer or even site owner, you need to keep your website design trendy. Just like fashion, website designs go in and out of style and users are more aware of old-looking site designs. An old site design could technically be perfect in terms of code and even SEO, but some designs turn off users who bounce from your site and browse a competitor site instead. Old site designs age your brand and make it look abandoned. In other words, you can lose potential customers with just a bad, old site layout. Here are five old site design trends that should be removed from your site if you still use them.
Adobe Flash used to be the way you could create interactive, animated sites that were attractive to users. Flash is poorly indexed and understood by search engines, so Flash continues to fall out of favor. Search engines are textual crawlers, so you need text to rank well. Not only is Flash bad for SEO, but it also must be installed by users as an add-on to browser software. Some malware creators took advantage of this problem and used Flash updates and installation notices as a way to install malicious software on a user’s computer.
Because of its poor SEO capabilities and incompatibility with some browsers, Flash is no longer the go-to language for animated web pages (Check out Steve Job’s famous “Thoughts on Flash” explaining why Apple ditched flash long ago). If you want animation on your site, you don’t have to ditch your designs altogether. HTML 5 has a canvas tag that lets you include animation on your site and replaces old Flash content. In addition to being easier and free to use, HTML 5 is also supported by most browsers with no third-party installation requirements. Search engines can also crawl the canvas tag, so your sites offer both attractive animation for users and SEO capabilities. The advantages give HTML 5 better benefits and a reason for web developers to dump Flash.
One example where I actually “draw” on the screen using the HTML 5 canvas tag instead of Adobe Flash can be seen in my actual size online ruler.
Introduction or Opening Pages
Remember when website standards called for an introduction or opening page? The opening page was the website’s home page, and then users clicked a logo to enter the site. This was a very common website design in the 1990s, but it’s been shown to increase your bounce rate and ruin SEO. When users open a website, they need to see content or media without adding any clicks in between. As a matter of fact, common website marketing includes reducing the number of clicks needed for users to find product or content.
There are several reasons to remove a website opening page. Particularly, they cost you readers, customers and search engine rank. If you have one of these pages, it’s best to remove it and create a home page with content.
Small Font Sizes
A 12-point font size is standard for most documents, so it was also a standard size for website fonts. This font size was standard when a majority of users had desktop computers. With the introduction of tablets and smartphones, a bigger font was needed to make pages easier to read on small screens. Webmasters with mobile websites increased the standard to 14-point fonts. At the very minimum, your website font should be at least 13 points.
If you have a small font on your site, consider asking a web developer to increase its size. You might need to change the layout or design to work with a different font, but you’ll improve your chances that mobile device users will stay on your site instead of bouncing. Additionally, search engines such as Google have a mobile search, which detects mobile-friendly websites and shows them prominently in search result pages.
Using a Separate Website Domain for Mobile Sites
Now, website styles are all about responsive design. Responsive design came after CSS3, which supports media queries. Media queries detect the user’s screen size and adjust the website layout accordingly. Even some web developer plugin styles such as Bootstrap include media queries and responsive code in its files. The concept takes less maintenance from webmasters, and there is less code for web developers to support. Search engines also suggest using responsive design to make it easier for your users who might get confused with a separate site.
No More Keyword Stuffed Content
When Google announced that it would no longer use the keyword meta tag and instead evaluates content as a whole, webmasters ran to SEO copywriters to create content that had a specific keyword density. Now, keyword density can actually harm your site instead of help it. If you keyword stuff your content, you might find your site affected by Google’s Panda algorithm. Panda evaluates content for readability and quality. If the quality is poor, Google’s secret sauce devalues your site and you see a major drop in rank.
In more severe cases, Google manually penalizes sites and even deindexes pages altogether. It’s difficult to keep track of all of your web pages, but quality control is a must if you want to rank in Google. Go through your web pages and evaluate the content for quality. If you think it isn’t the best for your industry, remove it and add better quality content that’s written for users and not search engines.
If you feel your site is using old styles, it might be time for a change. When you upgrade your site, ask a web developer to make it responsive to cover mobile devices. Old HTML and web design can turn off users and decrease SEO efforts.
Even with great SEO on your site and great backlinks, if readers don’t like your site, they might choose a competitor instead. You don’t have to use the latest web design, but good design greatly improves your conversion rate and readership.