The Internet is exploding in size with over 150,000 new websites being created daily. Some of these websites are for personal use, but the majority are for businesses and other organizations. It is difficult to estimate exactly how many websites exist in total; however, in 2008 Google reached a milestone of indexing 1 trillion unique pages. Sadly many of these websites have not been updated to keep up with the way users access the modern Internet.

In the past, websites were simply static brochures placed online for visitors to read; today, they are much more than online flyers. Modern websites allow us to book flights and hotel rooms, watch videos and listen to music, and even control other computers around the world.

More importantly than what we can do online is from where we can do it. No longer do you have to set aside a “computer room” to do all your web surfing. Now you can access the Internet from any smartphone, tablet, or laptop wherever you are. In fact, for those that just can’t unplug, you can also access the internet from your smart-fridge.

Users expect much more from websites today. If your website has not been overhauled in the past 3 years, you’re probably in need of a makeover. Here are 5 signs that it’s time to upgrade your old website.

Your website still uses Flash.
Apple’s Steve Jobs was  adamant about not running Flash on their mobile devices – namely the iPhone and iPad. The main reasons, as he describes on his blog, were because of security and to ensure a consistent experience for his users. In addition, he also explains that the majority of Flash applications can be replaced with newer technologies that function across all devices. If you’re still using Flash on your website, you’re limiting your audience.

Your website is not mobile friendly.
Over 87% of the world’s web surfers access the Internet from their mobile device. Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets make up a huge percentage of web surfers today.  If you’re website is not ready for mobile, you could be missing out. Mobile websites allow visitors to access information on a smaller screen with tap gestures as opposed to using a mouse and keyboard for input.

You still ask your users to click on an email link to contact you.
Email addresses are being replaced by contact forms and social media. Most companies now communicate with their customers through their Twitter or Facebook page. At a minimum, having a contact form allows you to control the flow of your inquiries. Instead of displaying separate email addresses for sales, support, and careers, your contact form can have a drop down list with these options. Based on what the user selects, the message will get delivered to one or more recipients in that department. As more of your visitors move to web-based email programs such as Hotmail and Gmail, using a contact form will help improve the channel of communication with your customers.

You have to manually edit your website.
Content Management Systems (CMS) have replaced old static websites. No longer do you have to be a web designer to make minor changes to your website. Updating text and images is as easy as writing an email. Making visual changes is even easier with a CMS. For example, changing your website’s colors for Valentine’s day would mean going from page to page to make the changes – this could take days and cost a lot of money. With a CMS making changes like these takes minutes and can be easily customized.

Your site is still “under construction.”
If your website is still “under construction” you really need an upgrade. There is no reason why you need to launch a website unless it is ready for public viewing.  Not only is this unprofessional, it is also very frustrating to visit a page that is incomplete. If you still have bright orange pylons on your website, chances are that you’re loosing customers to your competitors.

Upgrading or building a new website doesn’t have to be painful. Many business owners will say that their existing website is “doing just fine.” However, a new website can open up opportunities that you may not have known existed. For example, adding e-commerce capabilities to your website is easy and can present revenues from unexpected sources.

If you want to learn more about upgrading your website, or want some feedback about your existing site, contact me. Do you have an awesome website you wish to share? Leave a comment below.

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