Web Trouble: Is It Your Hardware?

old computer

Is it possible that you think you have a problem with your website when really you just need a new computer?

This question hadn’t occurred to me till I got a call from one of my favorite hardware guys. He has a new client who was getting frustrated with his computer. He uses computers to run his business, and there were some issues with speed and security. So the client bought a new computer.

The problem wasn’t solved. There were actually some significant problems with software and networking.

But there can be issues with your computer that make it hard to tell whether your website is in good condition or not. Modern websites don’t always support old systems and browsers, just as old websites don’t always look good on new devices. Before you decide it’s your hardware, check on a few things:

  • Have you updated your browser? Many people never update their browsers, which effectively leaves them with old computers when it comes to the web. If you haven’t updated your browser recently, you should. Here are the links:
  • Your computer probably has some maintenance options. Chances are good that you can defrag your disk, compress files, remove old files, and otherwise clean up your computer for improved performance. The laptop I’m working on right now keeps these options in “System Tools” under “All programs” and “Accessories,” but your system may be different. Try “Control Panel” and “Help” to locate yours.
  • If you can’t do these things — if, that is, your computer is old enough that you don’t have maintenance tools and can’t download a new browser successfully — then go borrow a newer one and look at your website on it before you make decisions.

One final thing to remember: your Google Analytics can tell you what browsers and what operating systems your visitors are using. If your site looks great on Firefox but half your visitors are using their iPhones, you can’t relax till you make sure your site works on mobile devices. If 28% of your visitors use IE6, then you might need to borrow an old computer instead.

The truth is, business owners are often the last ones to see that their websites need updating. The chances that you think your site needs work and it’s actually fine are slim. But it may be that your machinery is giving you a false impression of just what needs work — or a false impression that things are fine.

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