"Social media can be very powerful, but it can also be a big hindrance for brands," says Noah Ross, executive creative director for New York-based advertising agency Launchpad. "If you've ever gone to a website and seen five-plus social media icon options, chances are at least one of them will be a dud when you get there. This problem lies deeper than just the website, though. It lies in the social media strategy." Ross says companies shouldn't be involved in social media for social media's sake. They should choose their communication platforms "purposefully" and build a strong strategy around them. "For example, if you're in retail, Pinterest may be a great place to focus your energy so that you can gain visual exposure of your products in a share-heavy network. But please don't also start a Flickr, Vimeo and Twitter account if you're not going to man those stations with an equal amount of energy and continuity," he says. Even though your site may look great, leading clients to a Web presence that's not up to par will never reflect well on your brand. 3. You have an out-of-date blog "Blogs are one of the riskiest features to include on a brand's website because of the misunderstanding of how much time it will truly take to maintain," Ross says. "The minute a customer visits the blog on your site and sees that you haven't posted in two months, you've just communicated that you can't maintain your own marketing strategy," he adds. Companies with outdated content on their site appear to be "dropping the ball," no matter how strong the content may be, Ross says. It gives the impression that a company just doesn't care enough to make the effort, which is the last thing a brand should convey.
"If you're noticing a decrease in traffic and search engine rankings it could mean that you are not creating enough 'buzz' online," says Eric Covino, CEO of Creative Signals, an SEO and Web design company. "It may be time to re-examine not just the site's content, but its usability as well, to make sure both are compelling enough for other sites to talk about and link to," he explains. Companies that are seeing a decrease in pages viewed per visit may need to think about how easy their site is to move through. Users may have a hard time navigating it or they may not find the content relevant. "With so many tools readily available, all businesses should be using analytics software to track their website's metrics," Sullivan says. "Whether it's where traffic is coming from, what pages users click on most or how much time a visitor spends on each page of the site, all of this data is meaningful and can yield valuable insights about your company's offerings." 5. You have out-of-date photos or graphics
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but classics are easily identifiable. If your site looks like it was built in 1999, then your users will use it the same way and they'll question themselves with every step," says Mike Haley, VP of strategy for AmericanEagle.com, a Web design and development firm. "Your site needs to look current, but it doesn't have to look like a Monet or Van Gogh. As long as you manage your brand identity and display it in a clean, friendly format, users will enjoy using your site." Even if you think your photos are fine, keep in mind that they don't have to be blurry to be outdated. Ask yourself if your site looks older than those of your competitors. Even if your images are "new," it's never good to use stock photos if you can avoid it. "A company must be objective in realizing its website isn't up to par with today's standards -- warning signs can include generic Web content, including text, images or photos," Sullivan says.