By Tim Priebe
October 25, 2022

The danger of an outdated website

Without an update, your website could face security vulnerabilities, poor search rankings, and more.

In today’s ever-changing digital age, having a website is essential for any business or nonprofit that wants to stay relevant and be found by potential customers, clients, donors, and volunteers.

However, a website is not a one-time investment. Maybe you invested thousands of dollars a few years back and assumed you would be good to go for a while. But if you haven’t been investing in website management during that time, your website is not up-to-date, and there are some dangers you aren’t even aware of.

Here are just a few risks of an outdated website.

Outdated software and security vulnerabilities

One of the most important things to remember is that server software, website software, and web browsers are constantly being updated. Older versions become outdated and vulnerable to security exploits as new updates are released.

For example, if your website runs on an older version of WordPress or another Content Management System, aka CMS, it’s a bigger target for hackers. And if your website isn’t running on a secure HTTPS connection, it’s also at higher risk of being compromised.

My team and I recently worked with a client with this exact issue. While we had built his site 5+ years ago, he had maintained it on his own and hadn’t updated WordPress or the plugins in years. He experienced a spam attack, rendering his email useless. That specific situation could have been avoided if he had kept WordPress and his plugins updated.

Compatibility issues

Another danger of having an outdated website is it may not be compatible with the latest browsers and devices or possibly even the operating system on your web server.

If your website isn’t compatible with the latest web browsers and devices, that can cause problems for your visitors. Best case, the website doesn’t look quite right to them. Worst case, they can’t view it at all.

If your website is so outdated that it’s no longer compatible with the operating system on your web server, things start to break for everyone. Sometimes, just a few pages or some functionality stops working, but most of the website is fine. Other times, the entire website breaks and is no longer recoverable, and you have to start over from scratch.

SEO issues

Finally, for most organizations, people must be able to find you online easily. If you’re not regularly updating your website, you actually get penalized by Google, resulting in your website slipping further and further down the list of search engine results. You can even disappear from Google altogether!

While Google is by far the most popular, even the other search engines prefer sites that are kept updated, both in terms of software and content. So an outdated website will make it harder for people to find you online.

Of course, even with all these dangers, each business and nonprofit is unique. So it may or may not make sense for you to update your website. Find a qualified digital marketing professional, and they can give you guidance for your specific case.

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About Tim Priebe

Tim is a public speaker, author, publisher of Edmond Business, and the owner of Backslash Creative. He helps businesses that are worried they don’t have the expertise or time required to invest in doing their own digital marketing. He helps them plan where and how much to invest and often helps execute the plan.

Tim started the Edmond Business online magazine in May 2020 to fill a need in the community when The Edmond Sun shut down and stopped publishing their monthly magazine, The Business Times.