Websites can never be static for long - businesses must constantly improve and upgrade their sites to keep up with their competition. But if you can update it rather than redesign it every time, you’re already on the right path to keeping it futureproof.
Platforms like WordPress allow add-ons and features that are constantly being updated to keep up with modern requirements.
To help you keep your website (and therefore your business) ahead of the game, here are seven useful tips:
With so many changes happening so regularly in the world of digital, it’s important to be flexible and accept that what you do now won’t always be the best course of action. However, building in a degree of flexibility at an early stage means it’ll updating aspects of your website as and when you need to will be relatively painless.
Even in the last five years, processes and algorithms have changed beyond all recognition, meaning many websites will have already fallen well behind the curve and be beyond the point of salvage.
A website is only as successful as the sum of its parts, so it’s important that coders, UX and graphic designers, content creators and the person who’s actually responsible for updating the site talk to each other regularly to get the best out of it. This interaction enables all bases to be covered in a streamlined and cohesive approach, making the experience a positive one for everyone concerned.
Search engines have become so entrenched in public consciousness that being found in the first few online results is imperative for the success of any business.
Using the right keywords in the right place is an art in itself, but the return on putting in the effort is marked. It’s well understood that it can take four to six months to see a return in search engine optimized content, but it’ll provide a steady rise in traffic and activity on the site, which should then result in conversion if the content is accurate and pertinent.
It’s just as important to have ease of updating for you and your employees as it is to have ease of use for a consumer. Danny Wong makes the point on Lifehack:
It is also critical to think about who will be in charge of updating your site design years from now: the answer is you do not know. If the design is based on a platform that one person who is no longer with the company is fluent in, you may find yourself having to start from scratch when adaptable code would facilitate simple updates.
A simple, minimal, timeless theme that cuts out extraneous information and data makes your life a breeze when it comes to updating content and adding pages. It also ensures your main message is clear to your customers. Compressing image and video files means loading speeds are faster, creating a more intuitive and pleasant experience and encouraging return visits. Keep your content relevant and indefinite so it won’t go out of date and will remain useful in an ever-changing environment.
Gone are the days when everyone accessed websites through a desktop computer. Browsing on mobiles and tablets has been a huge growth area, and websites now have to be able to adapt to different screen sizes, responsive to touch screens and finger scrolling and compatible with a variety of operating systems. Including all this at the design stage will make everything much easier in the long-run and will show your customers that you’ve thought about their online journey.
Regular malware scanning and firewalls are imperative for keeping out bugs and viruses, and also gives confidence to consumers that their data is being kept secure. Backing up your site and having designated restore points will also help minimize the damage if the worst does happen.
Digital Consultant and Freelance Web developer Dan King wrote on his blog about popular development platform WordPress:
If your WordPress site is old, there’s a very good chance that some of the code or plug-ins used will throw errors or stop your WordPress site from working completely. These errors may be visible to visitors to your site and can damage your reputation.
His process to combat this and future-proof a website is as follows:
- Clone the live site to my server
- Update WordPress, plugins and themes to identify where the errors are
- Fix what’s fixable – it could be a few lines of code or mean swapping out a plug-in or two
- Advice on the best course of action for your site
It’s always good to get a professional to take a look at your website if it isn’t working technically as you expect. They’re best placed to recognize errors and will take the necessary steps to avoid endangering the site and losing all your months or years of hard work.
There are several analytics software packages out there, but Google Analytics is one of the most regularly-used and easiest to decipher.
There’s nothing more valuable than being able to see in real-time which pages your customers are visiting, how long they’re spending on your website and each individual page, whether they’re clicking to convert to a sale or generate more information and even the demographics of who your consumers actually are. This information is key when marketing your business, and having a website that works to give you accurate and useful data is critical.
No one knows what will happen in the future, and how it’ll shape technology going forward, but implementing these pointers should at least help you to manage whatever is thrown at you.