5 Outdated Website Trends You Should Ditch

“You have the attention span of a gnat,” is a common insult. But the truth is, the viewing public is getting more gnat-like every day. Sure, a gnat has the attention span of only 0.2 seconds, but the average website viewer will only award you a precious 8 to 10 seconds before clicking off your site. What does that mean for your business? It means cutting some of the outdated crap—no offense—out of your website to be more succinct and relevant to your viewers.

There are dozens of ways to update your site, but here is our list of the top 5 outdated website trends you should ditch.

Want even more tips? Download the 30 Secrets to Effective Lead Generation eBook

#1 Content Overload

This is an example of saying something for the sake of something because you want to talk about something that has do with this thing and the other thing. Let’s talk more about that something because I have more space on the page to fill and I’ve been told that more stuff on the page equals a higher search ranking which is something that used to be a thing but is no longer a thing. Wait, there is more space to fill. Must say more things. Can’t stop providing information because everyone reads this much text, or, if they don’t, the search engines will appreciate my vast use of these same words over and over again. And search engines are what’s important, not the actual visitors of my site who would become leads, so we must cater to these almighty beings and provide more text about things…..

Or not.

Moral of the story: be concise, be informative, and be engaging. Your content needs to get to the point quickly and provide a solution to a visitor’s problem. Consider big blocks of text as roadblocks for user engagement.

Pro Tip: Hubspot - How to Create Content That Actually Resonates With Your Readers

#2 Design Overkill

A website is like a house. When you start cramming stuff in, it becomes overwhelming. The design of your site should guide the user to the content. Don’t distract them with tons of colors, crazy fonts, and multiple sidebars filled with links and images. Remember, you only have 8 to 10 seconds of their attention! Impress but don’t overdress.

Here are some extreme examples of “design overkill”

ugly-website-uk gullas_arrestling.png contests-mock
Keep your designs clear of clutter and learn to prioritize. Not everything should have a spot on the home page. In fact, visitors rarely spend more than a few seconds on your home page before continuing through the site (if they continue at all).

Pro Tip: Forbes - 25 Web Design Tips for Entrepreneurs

#3 Bad Bad Stock Photos

There is a right and wrong way to use stock photos. Outdated websites put a lot of stock (excuse the pun) in these cheesy, smiling faces because they’re quick and cheap. Here are a few ways stock photos can cause more harm than good.

  • Loss of credibility - Anyone can purchase a cheap, stock photo, and that photo might be used on hundreds of other websites. The legitimacy of a business is immediately questioned when using inauthentic imagery.
  • No relevance for the audience - Take a dentist website, for example. Would you rather see a smiling family prancing in a field of sunflowers* or a real patient with the doctor from that specific office? Your audience should feel a connection to the photo and picture themselves using your product or service.
  • No strategy, just filler - Using stock photos for the sake of filling space is unnecessary. Again, if the photo is not relevant, your audience won’t connect. There are plenty of ways to use graphics, icons, and colors as primary visuals without the use of stock photos.

Keep in mind that not all stock photos are bad. What’s important is knowing how and when to use them.

Pro Tip: LinkedIn SlideShare - 4 Tips for Choosing the Right Stock Photography

* Our apologies to all of the prancing-through-sunflower families.

Businesswoman with others in office

#4 Auto-Play Sounds, Music, or Video

No explanation necessary unless you want to instantly annoy your audience. Be better.

#5 A Silly, Separate Mobile Site

If you haven’t heard the phrase “responsive web design,” it’s time to get on board. A responsive site is built to allow the layout to adjust based on the device in use. Photos, text, and features shift as needed as the screen reduces from desktop to mobile formats. 

So what? You have a separate mobile site, and it’s working just dandy. Wrong. A separate website built for mobile has many disadvantages, including multiple subdomains, duplicated content, and design inconsistencies between desktop and mobile. Google and other search engines are giving preferential treatment to responsive websites. Build your website right from the start and bring your visitors a fully integrated experience.

Pro Tip: SEO Journal - 4 SEO Benefits of Responsive Web Design

Technology is always a’changin’. In fact, this article may become obsolete just a couple of years. But if you recognize some of the elements above in your own site, it’s time for an upgrade. As audience behavior changes, we need to adapt. Impress, inform, and influence your audience. If your site does this successfully, you’ll have no problem keeping the attention of those gnats.


Download this Complete Checklist to Prepare for a Website Redesign

A cross between a worksheet and checklist, the Website Redesign Checklist:

  • Helps you understand the redesign process.
  • Establishes vital information and plan your strategy.
  • Provides free resources and tools to optimize your website.
  • Allows you to achieve your website goals.

Your website is a powerful marketing tool. Be confident in its design and functionality. Download your free copy of the Website Redesign Checklist and get started.

Download Your Checklist