Poor website = poor business?
“Of course not”, you’re probably thinking. A website is just marketing — not a representation of the quality of a company’s products/services, how profitable they are, or what their future looks like.
Unfortunately, perception can be stronger than reality. Studies show people have an instantaneous reaction to a website. If it’s outdated with a poor design, old content or obsolete functionality — that reaction will be mostly negative. And that spells trouble for the company’s credibility.
Frankly, outdated websites send the wrong message and here are 8 perceptions they disastrously create:
1. “They’re going out of business”
Your outdated website is putting up a "Closed for Business" sign. Where’s the latest blog? Press release? Social media status? Upcoming sale? New product release? “No news is good news” is certainly not applicable here. This silence gets people wondering if the company is dying a slow death (even if their books show skyrocketing profitability!)
2. “The company must be OK with the status quo”
Consumer expectations are high, especially in retail. Shoppers want to experience a brand online as they do within the store.
consumer-expectations-chart76.5% of people stated that “looking credible & trustworthy” is one of their top factors in making a website purchase
A company that's OK with an outdated website gives the perception of a company that's OK with just doing enough to get by.
3. “They just aren’t with it”
Though being “with it” is difficult to translate into practical meaning (and sounds like teenager speak), it’s still a gut reaction that damages credibility. Being “with it” could mean a variety of things, but my guess it’s related to the website’s design — a factor with significant persuasion.
Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab found that almost half (46%) of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning credibility. So, if you're is outdated (generally anything older than 3 years), it falls into this category unfortunately.
4. “They have technology incompetence”
A recent WSJ study found more than half (54%) of small to mid-sized businesses are concerned with “technology outpacing their ability to compete”.
Technology can’t be ignored. Especially on a website. Outdated websites typically run old technologies (e.g. Flash, Frames, Hit Counters) and give the impression the company hasn’t left 1999. This creates the perception that the company faces similar technology incompetence — which impacts almost every single aspect of today’s business.
5. “They won’t keep my data safe and secure”
An outdated website tends to forget about the details, even the critical ones like integrating & then keeping their SSL certificate renewed (which allows the URL to securely shift to https://).
Negligence with security (like an expired SSL certificate) leads to skepticism when giving up sensitive information such as name, email address, phone number and — especially — debit/credit card information. When’s the last time you saw one of these security alerts and proceeded with confidence?
6. “They must not be proud of their company”
When you interact with an updated and lively website, you can almost feel it. The company’s executives and their employees feel proud to be part of things. Your website is an extension of your organisation.
Outdated websites don’t represent organisations well because they send an apathetic message — which might not be an accurate measure of pride within the organization.
7. “There’s no buzz”
Most people like to buy from companies that are exciting and have a “buzz” to them. I’m sure you’ve heard of Apple? This buzz is especially important in the B2C (Business to Consumer) sector where emotion has a dramatic role in marketing. Existing and prospective customers want to — sometimes unknowingly — be part of something buzzworthy.
This brand excitement is hard to see and hear without an updated website.
8. “They’re not good enough for my money.”
This perception feels a bit harsh, but I’m getting the impression that consumers just don’t care anymore. An organization with an outdated website is simply, bad business.
Studies have found that 35% of consumers walk away from a small business because of its poor website. Lets repeat that: Over 1/3 of them WALKED AWAY.