What New Websites Can Learn From Old Websites and Vice Versa

Lately I have been working with small businesses who have had their websites for many years. These clients were not looking for content or writing help. They were colleagues or referrals who had a WordPress issue that I could solve.

I took the opportunity to look more closely at their sites. Just as I do every time I see a website, I study it from top to bottom, seeing what’s working well and what can be improved. It’s a habit I enjoy—and these older websites are especially interesting.

Here are some observations.

Old websites get to the point

One glance at the home page tells you exactly what the business does. That’s a contrast from a lot of modern websites, on which the businesses appear to be struggling to define themselves.  

Perhaps these old websites are this way because of how we started using the internet. Do remember—or are you familiar with—the old printed Yellow Pages directory? Each ad communicated clearly and was packed with valuable information. So, as we started using the world wide web, wouldn’t it have been natural to promote our businesses there the same way?

Old websites are hard to read sometimes

Tiny fonts, bad choice of colours, unreadable on a smartphone—these are the typical problems of old websites. A prospective client landing on such a site might give up too quickly and move on to a competitor. The outdated appearance alone might make them question if the business still exists.

No business website needs to follow the latest trends. That’s fortunate because trends evolve quickly. But upgrading an old website to a modern look might be easier than you think. If the website is WordPress, converting to a generic modern theme can be done very quickly.

Final thought

If old websites had the readability of new websites, and new websites offered the clarity of old websites, I think users would rejoice.