Unlike wine and whiskey, websites don’t really fare too well if you leave them on their own to age. Sites that aren’t regularly updated and maintained are susceptible to a wide range of risks. You should be aware of them.
5 Potential Pitfalls of an Outdated Website
1. Legal Risks
Websites that aren’t compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are considered to be discriminatory in the eyes of the law. That means if your website isn’t compliant, it’s extremely easy for someone to win a lawsuit against your company on the basis of discrimination.
There has been an increasing number of website-related ADA lawsuits over the last few years, and New York businesses seem to be at the highest risk. In 2018, 1,471 website-related ADA lawsuits were filed against New York-based websites.
And if you think your website is exempt, consider that the following are elements of common lawsuits levied against businesses:
- No alt text on images
- Non-screen reader friendly
- Text that can be resized up to 200 percent
- Lack of unique, descriptive page titles
It’s very likely that your website could have some noncompliant elements, so don’t assume you’re in the clear.
2. Critical Security Flaws
Outdated WordPress plugins are the leading cause of hacked websites on the internet. Routine updates to plugins (which are basically add-ons that enhance a website’s features and functionality) are critical to maintaining the security of a website to keep your customers’ and your own data secure.
3. Performance Issues
Technology is progressing. Search engines and web browsers index and display websites differently than they did just a few years ago.
Since older, aging websites are built using older technology, they’re vastly more susceptible to slow load times and buggy interfaces.
4. Poor Search Engine Rankings
Search engines like Google are constantly updating their algorithms to make sure searchers get the best possible results. In fact, there’s been about eight major changes to Google’s algorithm since 2018, in addition to thousands of smaller updates.
Among the top-ranking factors are website speed and freshly-updated content. Websites that aren’t being maintained often slow down and certainly don’t publish fresh content. The result is a drop-off in search engine rankings, meaning potential customers are less likely to find your site.
5. Stunted Business Growth
Websites are the perfect hubs to use for new product or service launches. An aging website that cannot accommodate the addition of new pages is a website that cannot be relied upon to help expand your business.
Additionally, older websites are not ideal for ecommerce. If moving into online selling is a future business goal, you better have an up-to-date website.
6. Wasted Investment
All of these pitfalls ultimately make your website a wasted investment. You spent a significant amount of time and money to get your website designed and launched as a means of supporting your business goals. Don’t let it go to waste by neglecting your site.
In the worst case, your website can become completely unsalvageable. At this point, a redesign is in order, which is a significantly larger expense than web maintenance.