Six Outdated Website Trends That Could Tank Your Performance

Six Outdated Website Trends That Could Tank Your Performance

By Carrie DagenhardMar 9 /2023

Stating that it's vital to keep your company’s website design ahead of the curve is like noting that the sky is blue, right? Not exactly. 

Many businesses still treat their websites like an afterthought. And though Google Research reports that half of internet users say that they use website design as a factor to formulate their opinion on a business, Forbes says, “While there are 1.13 billion websites in the world, only a fraction of these are actively used and updated. A staggering 82% are inactive, meaning only 200,121,724 of the 1.13 billion websites are actively maintained and visited.”

Don’t become a statistic. Work with an experienced web design team that infuses your website with all the ingredients you need to stand out in your sector. The pros know what to steer clear of and what to include to ensure you aren't losing buyers or tanking your SEO performance.

These six outdated trends should be at the top of your list to avoid. 

Autoplay Videos

We’ve all experienced a brief but mortifying moment when you open a website in public, and an unexpected video blares through your phone or laptop speakers, leaving you frantically searching for an “X” button.

Whoever came up with the idea for autoplay videos grossly misunderstood user preferences. Simply Googling “autoplay videos” returns over a billion results dating back more than a decade, mostly answering some variation of the question, “How do I turn off autoplay videos?” And during the heyday of autoplay videos in advertising, Business Insider reported autoplay videos were the second-most cited motivation for adopting an ad blocker (second only to virus and malware concerns).

In short, most people despise autoplay videos — particularly those with the sound on. And while the use of this feature has thankfully dwindled in advertising, some companies are still employing autoplay ads on their websites. If that’s you, consider stopping immediately. Even without sound, autoplay videos often slow page load speed and distract users from important messaging and calls to action.

And if you still need another reason, consider this: after removing an autoplay video from their homepage, video marketing platform Wistia reported their organic traffic jumped 53% and sign-ups increased 7%.

Disruptive and Unresponsive Popups

Popups aren’t inherently bad. A significant amount of data shows popups can boost email and event sign-ups and decrease cart abandonment. Website personalization platform OptiMonk found that the average conversion for popups was more than 11%, and the top 10% of popups generated an average conversion rate of more than 42%.

But not all popups are created equal. According to Sam Edwards, CMO of, poor popup experiences typically include the following:

  • Autoplay videos (again!)
  • Sound effects
  • Flashing images and animations
  • Barriers to closing the popup (such as a hard-to-find “X” or popups that require multiple clicks to close)
  • Full-screen popups
  • Obnoxious typography or clashing color schemes
  • Content that pops up before the website loads
  • Delivering the same popup after a user has closed it

If you want to leverage a popup, steer clear of these common blunders, ensure it renders correctly on all devices, and keep the experience clean, simple and user-focused. Otherwise, it’s best to avoid them altogether.

Incohesive Visuals

A study published by the Journal of Medicine and Life found 75% of users judge a website’s credibility based on its aesthetics. Study participants reported that aesthetics even outweighed factors like the creator’s reputation and authority.

In other words: don’t rely on your brand’s good name to do the heavy lifting. You still need a cohesive and appealing visual design. At best, websites with low-quality photos, conflicting design styles, or no distinct visual identity make visitors cringe. At worst, they compromise your company’s trustworthiness. And once you lose prospects’ confidence in your brand, it’s incredibly challenging to earn it back.

It’s worth noting that visuals are crucial even if your audience isn’t particularly design-conscious. That’s because humans are animals, and we base a sizeable majority of our decisions on visceral reactions. You might not know why a set of colors or imagery makes you feel a certain way, but it can still drive you to act.

A significant portion of website users, approximately four out of 10, may be deterred from engaging with a website if its layout is visually unappealing, according to Forbes Advisor. 

Bottom line: when it comes to your brand and website design, don’t wing it. Instead, seek out experts with a proven history of delivering powerful user experiences.

Unsecured Website

This isn’t a trend per se, but it’s still critical to consider because digital security is serious business. 

Cybercrime spiked throughout the pandemic, and every 22 seconds, someone becomes a victim of identity theft, according to the National Council on Identity Theft Protection. And while there’s no surefire way to prevent cybercriminals from accessing your customers’ and website users’ data, there are steps you should take to mitigate your risk.

Today, ensuring your website is hosted securely with an SSL certificate is non-negotiable. That’s because, in addition to ensuring sensitive information is encrypted, having an SSL certificate also supports SEO. For example, if your website and a competitor’s website are equal in all other ways, but your website is secure, Google will serve your result first.

If you’re unsure whether your website is secure, check your URL. If it starts with “https,” it’s securely hosted. If it begins with “http,” then it’s not.

Excessive Text

You might’ve heard that pages with longer word counts tend to rank higher on search engines. And while this is true (HubSpot found the ideal length for an article is between 2,100 and 2,400 words), there’s more to the story.

First, ranking depends more on quality than length. A page with thousands of words of poor-quality, keyword-stuffed content will consistently rank below pages that deliver shorter but more valuable content.

Second, this rule-of-thumb applies more to blog posts than homepages and product pages.

Third, giant blocks of text often drive users to bounce. Instead of striving to hit an arbitrary word count, prioritize delivering value. And when it comes to your homepage, focus on delivering compelling and concise messages that quickly inform prospects about your brand and drive action.

Also, when publishing lengthy, in-depth articles and blog posts, you should always break copy text into short, digestible chunks. It’s easier on the eyes than a giant wall of text and keeps readers from becoming overwhelmed.

Inaccessible Design

As the world wide web matured, so has our collective understanding of what drives usability. One of the most important advances made in recent years is making websites more accessible for the 1-in-4 adults living with a disability, according to the CDC. That means making websites easier to navigate and digest for those with mobility, cognition, hearing, or vision issues — including those relying on external devices or software, like screen readers. (Otherwise, you’re limiting your ability to attract and convert a significant portion of your audience.)

Designing for accessibility means considering text size, font styles, page hierarchies, navigation and more. (You can learn more about web accessibility best practices by reviewing the official Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.)

As a bonus, making your site more accessible optimizes the experience for everyone and can help strengthen its performance by providing a calm, clean, and easy-to-follow user experience.

Final Word

Website trends morph and evolve over time, and sometimes keeping up with these changes can be overwhelming. And the stats can take your breath away. Google Research reports that people judge your site in 0.05 seconds!

A website redesign is a significant investment, and you want to ensure your choices won’t lose potential customers and leave your website feeling dated in a year or two.

The good news is, by avoiding these six issues, you’ll already be ahead of many of your competitors. And by working with a full-service digital marketing team, you can ensure your website is designed to evolve with both your brand and your audience.

Website Design

The Author

Carrie Dagenhard

Carrie is a seasoned content strategist who worked as a department editor and music journalist before making her foray into inbound marketing as a content analyst. Carrie works hard at crafting the perfect content strategy for clients and using her hard-hitting journalism skills to tell your brand’s unique story.