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Written by
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in Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Web Design

Don't use Flash

If you own a website, don’t take the title personally. It’s a well known fact that web technologies are always growing and expanding. Over the course of a few months, changes can happen in the web world that completely outdate your site. Unfortunately, not everybody keeps up with the always evolving web, which causes many hiccups with both performance and site visibility. Here’s 5 of the most common outdated practices that we find when working with website redesigns.

1.) Your website is built with a table structure

Back in the infancy of the web, content was very difficult to style. Many of the beautiful designs present on the web today were simply not possible. In an attempt to create more intricate layouts for the web, many designers used to use HTML tables. HTML tables allowed designers to layout content similar to the way you could in a Microsoft word document. It enabled designers to move elements around the page in ways that just weren’t possible otherwise.

Unfortunately, we’re now in 2013, and tables on websites have gone the way of the wind. Modern search engines rank your site not only on its content and reputability, but also on its HTML markup and structure. Using tables confuses search engines, and thus hurts your website’s visibility.

How can I tell if my site is built using tables?

A table structure is very easy to spot in your website. You can open any popular browser, right click any area of the page, and click on “View Source” or “View Page Source”. This button will open up another window that shows the entirety of your page’s HTML. You can then simply scroll through this page and look at the code. You’re looking forĀ elements that look like this: <table>, <tr>, and <td>. If you see an exorbitant amount of these elements, then I regret to inform you your site is built on a table structure.

2.) Your site isn’t responsive

According to statcounter.com (one of the leading resources for web statistics), by the end of 2013, mobile browsers (smartphones and tablets) dominated over 1/4 of all web traffic. This number is simply too large a statistic to ignore any longer. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’re losing money, and when I say “isn’t optimized for mobile devices”, I mean just that. Even if your website displays fine on mobile browsers, if you are serving the same website to desktops that you are to smartphones, you have a problem.

Smartphones simply aren’t designed to view standard websites. Thanks to slower mobile network speeds and smaller screen sizes, you have to make sure you’re optimizing your site specifically for this growing market. If you require your user to zoom in to view your site, or your site takes 10+ seconds to load on mobile, you’re definitely losing clients.

There are a number of different ways to optimize your site for mobile devices, some being better than others. No matter what method you choose to mobilize your site, you should make it a goal to get it ready for mobile by the time 2014 is over (the sooner the better).

3.) Your copyright date is pre-2005

The web is constantly growing and evolving, along with the technologies we use to build it. Every day, search engines are coming out with new updates and algorithms that change the way we look at search engine optimization (SEO). Every time a new version of a web programming language comes out, it carries with it new functionality that enables designers to build much more feature rich sites.

One of the biggest problems we see with sites is outdated copyright information. The fact that the copyright date is outdated isn’t the important issue. What’s important is that most sites with a pre-2005 copyright date haven’t had their content updated since then either. Given how much the web has grown in the last 5 years alone, anything this old is guaranteed to be suffering from some search engine ranking problems, as well as some major design issues (such as not being mobilized).

If your copyright date is pre-2005, all may not be lost right now, but it’s only a matter of time before technology slowly pushes your site to the side in favor of a newer, better alternative. If you’ve been wondering if it’s time to give your site an update, it probably is.

4.) Your brand identity doesn’t match up

Brand Identity is a HUGE factor when it comes to advertising any business. Major brands like Target and Walmart succeed by creating a unified image that sticks in the minds of their clients. By making sure you use the same logo and color scheme on all of your marketing material, you too can take advantage of the added benefit of a unified brand.

There are a ton of templated website creation programs, and a lot of these programs can be used for little to no cost. For a small start up business, this may seem like a great money saving opportunity. Unfortunately, the detriment to your brand identity caused by using a templates website can cost you leads. If a client visits your site, and it doesn’t match your business cards, this will undoubtedly cause instant confusion. The client will continue to look around for other sites that look more like yours, and some may never come back to your actual site. By simply unifying your website’s design with the rest of your marketing material, you instantly create a much more memorable, user friendly identity for yourself.

5.) Your site is built using Flash

Adobe Flash was once a great tool for building creative, unique websites. Flash allowed for things such as on site music and even animations. There were quite a number of very nice Flash sites back when it was in its prime. Unfortunately, as stated previously, the web is constantly evolving, and with that comes the deprecation of old software. Nowadays, Flash sites greatly hinder the web. Sure, they may look great, but from a marketing standpoint, they’re an absolute nightmare.

Search engines read the actual contents of your web pages to pick up on different cues about the topic of each individual page. Sites built on Flash actually prevent search engines from being able to properly read each page’s content. To a search engine, Flash websites are nothing but a big blank void.

If you care at all about driving traffic to your site, search engine optimization should be one of your number one focuses. If your site is built on Flash, your first move should be to transfer your site to semantic HTML and CSS code as soon as possible. The sooner that search engines can read your site, the sooner you start showing up in search results.

We can help you fix your site

We’re a full service web and graphic design team based out of Pittsburgh, PA. We’ve worked with businesses nationwide to redesign old, outdated sites. We’re very familiar with these old web technologies, and we have what it takes to bring your site up to speed with modern standards. If you’re interested in learning more about us or what we do, you can visit our home page. If you’ve decided it’s time to fix your site’s problems, you can get in touch with us to request a quote.

Regardless of whether you choose us for your web needs, make sure your get your site up to date for 2014 as soon as possible. The sooner you bring your site up to standards, the sooner it can help you make money.