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This is Block 81's archive of past articles. Once in a while we may add more, but it's rare.

Block 81 is a design studio producing beautifully crafted websites and brands for independent businesses and startups.

Not Everything Old Is New Again

You might have noticed a trend lately where everything old is new again. While that works in some areas, such as fashion, not everything old is new again when it comes to your website and branding.

Going back to old techniques and technologies isn’t always what’s best for your brand. In fact, many customers may just think you’re outdated.

Instead of trying the retro trend, it’s okay to stick with what’s new. After all, everything old doesn’t need to be new again.

Outdated Sites Aren’t New

The title says it all – outdated sites aren’t new. In fact, they’re sluggish, cluttered and difficult to navigate. Just take a look at the 2014 list from Websites That Suck to get an idea of what people really think of outdated sites. While these are extreme examples, even employing trends that were big just a few years ago shows that your site hasn’t been updated in a while. That speaks volumes to visitors and may very well hurt your credibility and conversions.

Retro Branding May Not Work

Retro branding is a trend that seems to come and go. For instance, how many times have you seen food brands switch between brand new logos and retro logos? The problem with trying the retro trend is it’s been done to death and it may just make consumers think you’re unoriginal. Instead of creating your own brand identity, you’re simply following the leader.

That was one concern with NBA teams switching back to retro logos. If you want something different, go new and be original.

Would you rather type on this or the newest keyboard?

Limiting Online Support Could Hurt

There’s a trend to a more personal customer support, but that doesn’t mean everything old is new again when it comes to customer support. Eliminating everything but a phone number won’t help. In fact, it may drive customers away who prefer other support options. While some customers still prefer calling a business, others might prefer a contact form, email address, live chat or social media. Multi-channel is the new and it’s what works best.

Older Design Could Create A Risky Site

Older designs and outdated technologies don’t just look bad. They’re also security risks. For instance, if you have a WordPress site that hasn’t been updated in several years, you’re putting your business and visitors at risk of malware attacks and identity theft (if you store user information). Another example is adding Flash content to your site. In just a six week period, Adobe identified 30 vulnerabilities, with 16 being critical. Going old school isn’t worth the security risks.

Mobile accounts for 70% of all Internet usage and it’s expected that desktop usage will fall by 16%.

Refresh Versus Reusing Old Content

You already have plenty of blog posts on your site, so why not just make those old posts new again? If you’re actually refreshing them and updating information, that’s a great strategy. However, if you’re just re-posting the exact post you posted to your blog three years ago, your visitors are going to wonder why the information is so out of date. After all, if your blog isn’t current, your products/services may not be either.

Desktops Won’t Overtake Smartphones

Still holding out on mobile-friendly design? Even though desktops have bigger screens, it’s not likely they’ll make a major comeback any time soon. While they’ll probably stick around due to a more ergonomic design, mobile accounts for 70% of all Internet usage and it’s expected that desktop usage will fall by 16%.

Now that smartphones and tablets have surpassed desktop usage, it’s unlikely that desktops will lead again. In fact, smart TVs are becoming more popular as desktop alternatives for browsing online on a bigger screen. This means it’s best to go with what’s new in responsive design to ensure your site and brand stands up to the test of time instead of becoming outdated.

While everything old isn’t new again, some things never go out of style, such as incredible customer service and connecting to your audience through compelling branding.

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