The One Vital Reason You Should Get Your Website Redone

Business Owners | Designers

Everybody’s seen the websites that look like they were made in the 90’s – terrible layouts, hard to read or find the information you’re looking for, colors are all weird. We all know those should be updated, but is it just for aesthetics? Do you only updated a website because the look is old?

Hidden under the design is the most important part of your website: the coding. Most of you have probably never see the actual coding for your website. But despite this, that coding is what will make or break your search engine optimization.

Programming is Always Changing

This might come as a surprise. Can’t I just make my website and let it stay there? I update the content; why do I need to redo the actual site?

But coding isn’t something that stays the same. It’s always changing – just like a language. Except in coding languages, when something gets replace, we say the old way is “depreciated”. Basically, that old way of doing it is no longer used and will, in the near future, stop working.

For example, “bindlestiff”, meaning a tramp or a hobo, isn’t used anymore in the english language: it’s depreciated.

PHP – A language for your website

In PHP, one of the most commonly used languages for building websites (including WordPress websites), we had PHP 4.0 launch in 2001. PHP 5.0 launched in 2005 with huge differences. PHP got a major upgrade in what the language can do in 5.0. In 2014, PHP 5.3 was launched. The current version, as of this writing, is PHP 5.4. Want to see the list of versions? Here’s the old versions on the PHP documentation.

There’s two sides to PHP: First, you’ve got the side that exists on the server (the computer where your website files are). That will run a certain PHP version. Then you’ve got your website. Your website is written using a certain version. As the server version is updated, say to PHP 5.4, and your website is built 8 years ago in PHP 4.4, then your website is going to start breaking. 

But what does this MEAN? Think of it this way: using an old PHP version is like having Captain America in 2015, but without any ability to learn new things. He’s stuck talking exactly how he spoke in the 1950s and reacting exactly how he saw things in 1950’s. In the story, he can learn new things because he’s human. Programming languages can’t. Instead of using Captain America who is incapable of learning for your website, you want to use Iron Man – PHP 5.4. (sorry Captain America).

HTML & CSS

PHP isn’t the only thing that’s changed. HTML & CSS have both gone through some major updates recently. HTML is now HTML5, and CSS is version 3: CSS3. You might have even heard those terms before. But again, what does that mean for your site?

For HTML5, they added in additional “tags” that tell search engines where the important stuff is. There’s tags for telling it where the navigation bar is (“nav”), where the main information is (“main”), the sidebar (“aside”), and even the footer (“footer”), and many, many more. Seems fairly basic, right? It always seems obvious after it’s created! Before HTML5, we didn’t have ways to tell the computer what was where.

CSS3 also got a huge bump in ability. It’s like CSS, but all grown up. The most important thing to note in CSS3 is that it is so much more powerful that it can take on animation that previously had to be done in another language (usually javascript). It can also take on things like rounded corners on items that had to be done with images before. It really all boils down to a speed issue: CSS3 can make your website faster.

What about the SEO?

So you’re probably thinking that I didn’t talk about search engine optimization yet. Google’s algorithm, currently a secret unless France wins, deals with tons of aspects of a website and boils it down to ranking. Most importantly, Google is always updated to the newest technology and how that technology can help see if a site is a quality site. For example, just this April, Google stated that if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, it will be dinged. Want to check your site? Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

But mobile-friendly is just one aspect: it’s a huge aspect, but it’s just one. If you’re using outdated coding, Google knows. If you’re not using any of the HTML5 tags to tell Google where things are, Google knows. Using the updated HTML5 and CSS3 will, if used properly, give your site a leg up on the competition.

What’s the Bottom Line?

It’d be nice if we could create a website and leave it, but technology just won’t let that happen. You should be giving your site an overhaul every 2-3 years.

If your site’s built in WordPress, great! WordPress has a team of people constantly updating their coding to keep it with the latest, and you can buy recently made quality themes that will make sure all that coding is up-to-date. If you’re looking for a good WordPress theme, here’s How to Choose a Good WordPress Theme.

If you’re using a custom built website, make sure you get a quality programmer to create it. If you’ve got a Captain America programmer, it’s not going to matter how often you redo the site. Upgrade to Iron Man.

Need some help? Want me to take a look at your website to see if you need it redone? Tell me about your project below!

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