For the sake of your time, Ive categorized these indicators into four big buckets: Tech, Usability, Design and Content.
1. Tech: Your CMS is achingly old
Were not saying you should update your Content Management System every day, but it is a good idea to do it at least twice a year. There are security updates, new features, better admin features, and all kinds of other things that the new versions comprise. Plus, its just a good idea to get in there and clean out the junk.
Maybe its time to update or switch entirely. Here, I wrote a post about how to Break up with your CMS.
2.Tech: Forget that last one, you dont even have a CMS
Most sites have CMSs now. If you dont, your developer is holding you hostage or you have a hugely complicated ecommerce site. Im betting on the first one. You should be able to update the content on your own site. Its 2013.
3. Tech: Flashy Flash
Flash is over it doesnt work on most mobile devices, or if it runs at all its probably still unusable. Flash sites are also not accessible to users with disabilities since theres no real content in Flash. For that matter, youre probably not getting any search engine traffic since your Flash site cant be properly crawled. Get rid of Flash.
4. Design: Your site LOOKS old
When we see a bunch of gradients, rounded corners, small clicks, stock photos or clip art and pixel type, we know were looking at a site that needs updating. Excessive patterns, backgrounds and type are also huge tells. We just wrote a post about what design is doing: moving more toward Flat Design. Check it out.
5. Design: Everything on the homepage is crammed toward the top
Someone on staff obviously is stuck on having things appear above the fold. Let me tell you now: Were over using print newspaper terms to define web layout. It might have been appropriate a decade ago, but its not now. People are used to scrolling, thanks to popular sites like Facebook and long HTML emails. When we watch users open a site, one of the first things they do is scroll up and down to see whats going on. Then they start looking for what they want. A better idea is to have a plan for the design and content.
Seriously, scrolling is OK.
6. Content: Theres a welcome message
No need to welcome people to your site. Most of them know what a website is and will spend only a few seconds looking for what they want. Give up this valuable real estate to some SEO- and user-friendly content.
7. Usability & Content: The words only make sense to your staff
We see this all the time, especially with nonprofit sites. Your sites main audience probably isnt your internal staff, so stop using words in the copy and navigation only they would understand. If I see one more site organized like an organizational chart
Get into your users heads and think about how they will look for content. Here, we wrote a post about user testing your own site.
8. Usability: Text, text, a sea of text
on the homepage. The homepage is a directional page to get your users to where they want to go. Its not a place to dump every news release, press release, report or other bit of content. Its a place to get started, not a place for a 400-word mission statement.
9 Usability: Your site isnt responsive
I dont have to tell you how many people are moving to mobile. If youre like me, when youre not at the office, your phone or iPad/tablet is your primary web surfing device. I check Facebook a few times a day and I click on a lots of my friends and liked-pages posts. If those links show up looking like garbage on my phone, Im out of there right away. And even though Id like to remember to read it the next day on my computer at work, Ill probably forget.
How does your site fare?