HPT plaque bronze 5 1 2013 Is Your Website Eligible for Historic Preservation?As I walk throughout Lancaster I see a lot of really cool old buildings. Some of them are in various states of decay, while others have been refurbished and given a face lift. One such building is the historic Hotel Fulton just around the corner from my house. It has a great history, and was apparently shut down during prohibition for operating as a speakeasy. Later on it became the Fulton Bar and was shut down again a few years ago as a “haven for disorderly persons.”

And yet the building is beautiful.

The good news is, that like many other buildings in our area, someone has purchased it and plans to open a new business there (restaurant and whiskey distillery) while maintaining the architectural integrity of the structure. In Lancaster we also have the Lancaster Arts Hotel which exists in an old tobacco factory, and the Cork Factory Hotel which was built in, you guessed it, and old cork factory operated by Armstrong World Industries. Downtown we have a convention center and hotel that was built behind the facade of the old Watt & Shand Department Store.

Often there are funds that go along with the redevelopment and reuse of old, historic properties. But that’s not the case with your website.

We might “ooh” and “aah” at cool looking architecture, but rarely will we be impressed with your old website.

My website is old

Really old. Four years old, to be exact.

While that might not seem all that old to some of you, it’s definitely over the hill in website years. In fact, for the past year or so I’ve been making noises about a whole new redesign of the site, from top to bottom. Complete renovation of the look and feel of the site, and some of the content.

If your website hasn’t been touched for a few years, there’s a good chance you need to just tear it down and start from scratch. You won’t qualify for an historic preservation funding in order to maintain the look and merely update the content.

What was once new and trendy is probably grossly behind the times now, both in terms of form and function. In fact, if you are using flash animation, animated GIFs, or any sort of auto playing music or videos, you might want to call the demolition crew right away.

Antiques and historical buildings have value and character. Old websites are just that: old. They hold no value, and in fact serve the same function as those old rundown properties you find in many cities: they are a detriment and ruin property values. But instead of lowering the values of the properties around you, your old website is doing you a disservice and lowering the value of your business.

It reflects poorly on you and the value you place on your business. There I times when I see an old shoddy website and I immediately think that the business owner doesn’t take pride in their business; they just don’t care. At the very least, it indicates a lack of understanding of how the internet works and how people are using it. I’m shocked at the number of really bad websites that still exist out there. Mortified, even.

Don’t let your site get rundown. Don’t think that someone will slap a Historic Preservation plaque on your site so that you can sit back and relax. Take a long hard look at your website and compare it to other sites that are out there.

Is it time for an extreme website makeover?