7 Signs Your Website Is Ready for a Refresh


Web professionals put the lifespan of a modern website at around three years. While not all firms can invest the considerable resources needed to redo their sites by the three-year mark, there are some easily recognizable red flags that indicate it’s time for a refresh. Some are more urgent than others, but each of these seven signs indicates the time has come – or come and gone long ago:

1.    Nonresponsive websites. Are your fonts, table widths and page layouts fixed, or tied to a few specific screen resolutions? If so, that’s a problem. Mobile devices now dominate and the major search engines penalize legacy websites that aren’t built to be responsive to different hardware and viewports. Until you refresh the site, you won’t be making site visitors or the SEO gods happy, and that’s a mistake that can hurt your firm badly.

2.    Distracting animations. Rotating logos, pixelated avatars that pop out unexpectedly or any other type of nonessential gif action smacks of the 1990s. Besides looking dated and unprofessional, these animations disrupt the conversion process by distracting site visitors from the information they seek.

3.    Adobe Flash. It was revolutionary once, but technology has moved on and so should your website. Flash-based content left over from an earlier era creates security vulnerabilities as well as slowing down your site’s performance. Since Flash is no longer supported by Adobe, the security risks increase with each passing day. And since some modern browsers don’t support this obsolete technology, more and more of your potential clients won’t even be able to render these site elements.

4.    Outdated copy. Dated copy is a clear signal that your older website can’t deliver the results you want. If your existing copy presents services you no longer provide, industries you no longer serve or professionals who are no longer a part of your team, it’s time for a refresh. Even if it’s factually correct, copy that doesn’t match the current state of your profession or trends within your clients’ industries won’t reflect the leadership you want to convey.

5.    Cluttered pages. Are you guilty of jamming too much (arguably) good stuff onto a single page? A wall of information presented in tiny text, bullseye graphics, fancy fonts, textured backgrounds, shadows cutting through button text, enough boxes to rival an old-fashioned library card catalog – these are fine (or not) individually, but shoving them all together in one hideous page won’t win you any design awards. It won’t win you many clients either, since web users have come to expect a higher degree of design sophistication on the sites of leading firms.

6.    Contrast problems. When colors contrast to an extreme degree, viewing web pages becomes a painful experience. Too little contrast is less jarring but creates eye strain as viewers struggle to read the text. Poor font choices often exacerbate both problems. If your web pages veer to either end of the contrast spectrum, there’s a good chance that other design issues exist as well, making the site ripe for a redo.

7.    Broken links. Internal links that don’t function as they should can be a natural consequence of incremental changes that happen over time or reflect inadequate site maintenance. Whatever their cause, dead-end links are a serious flaw that indicates your site is in dire need of attention. They not only make it impossible for visitors to access the resources they expect through your site, but also create a terribly unprofessional image for your firm.

Whether it’s a technical issue, a design disaster or a content-related concern, if any of these problems apply to your website, consider it a clear sign that a refresh is overdue.

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Sarah Warlick

Sarah Warlick founded Proof Positive Content to provide professional service firms with high-quality content that resonates with their target audiences. Sarah's writing appears in books, on the websites of over a dozen Top 100 Accounting Firms and in Accounting Today, Forbes and other leading publications, but usually under another name. Ghostwriters rarely get the glory - their clients do!