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New Study Shows the Importance of a Fresh, Modern Website

According to a new study, 81% of people think less of a business if their website looks outdated

This study, published by Blue Fountain Media, surveyed 1,013 US based respondents between the ages of 18 and 60. The study asked a variety of questions about user experience, privacy, ads, shopping habits, and the general appearance of a given website. 

Before we dive deeper into the rest of the numbers, let’s focus on that 81% of respondents who think less of a brand whose website seems out of date. In your customer’s eyes, your website is your home on the web. It represents your brand the same way that your physical location does. If your office or shop is cluttered, messy, falling apart, and there’s no one at the front desk, then your customers are going to think less of you. 

The same thing holds true for your website. If your website looks neglected, doesn’t show your brand’s most current service and product offerings, and is hard to navigate, then people will think less of your business. If you don’t care about your website (or physical location), then people probably reason that you don’t care about them, either. 

Customer service is a key element of almost every successful business and, now more than ever, your website is a crucial component of your customer service offerings. 

The Importance of Usability 

Outdated websites aren’t just ugly-- they’re also hard to use. 

Overall, your customers value your website’s user experience (especially ease of use) more than they value its aesthetics. Having and maintaining a good looking website is important, but looks seem to matter far less than functionality. It’s not a case of “fashion over function.”

In fact, only 5% of respondents said 5% a website’s user experience doesn’t matter to them at all, and it doesn’t affect the brands they like.The other 95% cares about user experience in some way, shape, or form. 

How much usability matters:

  • 43% of people ranked ease of use as their top priority when it comes to a website
  • 58% of people said speed and overall ease of use were the most important factors of their online experience 
  • 42% of people said search functionality (their ability to find whatever they need) is the most important feature of a website 
  • 25% of people said they’re most displeased by a website when it isn’t mobile friendly
  • 13% of people said they’re most displeased by a website when it isn’t visually pleasing

Most modern websites, even those offered by canned or boxed solutions, are at least moderately pleasing to the eye. It takes a real designer and developer, however, to make sure a website serves its users’ needs. 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so there’s no one consensus for what attractive design is (though we can all agree on those outdated websites we find ugly or unappealing), but user experience is more objective. 

We agree with the research-- if your website is outdated and unusable, then it’s time for an update. 


The Importance of Features 

Website features are important to users. But which features should your website provide?

It depends on the website. 

A real estate website, for example, should offer easy access to listings, a mortgage calculator, and an “about us” page that clearly showcases realtors. A website for a medical practice should allow patients to make appointments, view a list of services, and provide information about providers. 

According to this study, these are some of the features users value the most:

  • 28% of users require a search box somewhere on the website, in order to easily find what they’re looking for 
  • 24% said the most important feature to them is users reviews, testimonials, and photos from customers 
  • 16% of users say they value new content and features on a website the most 
  • 8% of users are most displeased when a website has no clear “about us” page

During the website creation process, you need to have a clear discussion with your designer and developer about which features your users will need, and which features you can’t afford to leave out. Do you really want something as simple as an “about us” page to alienate 8% of your potential customers, when that’s something every website should have anyway?

Closing Thoughts 

If you take anything away from this survey, know that your customers want your website to look fresh, and up-to-date. Even more, though, they want features that work. They want to be able to find what they’re looking for, they want it to load quickly, and they value overall ease of use. 

Here’s another link to the study, and another analysis is featured on Search Engine Journal

If your website is outdated, then you’re losing customers. It’s as simple as that. 

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