A Good Website Is Never Done
By Brad Stitgen
Back in the early days of the web under construction signs were a common sight. In fact, there seems to have been a cottage industry back then of people creating animated under construction graphics — with each person trying to outdo the other. These days it’s uncommon to see under construction pages (and the ones still around really aren’t under construction… they’re abandoned).
While the usability experts are probably to blame for the demise of the under construction page (a good call, by the way), the reality is good websites are always under construction — they just don’t have a sign stating it!
The reality is, to be truly effective, business websites need to be managed and updated on a regular basis. With this in mind, the following is a list of things that require attention for the typical WordPress business website.
Website Software Updates are Critical
Just like your home computer, smartphone, or tablet… the software used to power your website (frameworks, plug-ins, and WordPress itself) are constantly being updated with new features, bug fixes, and security updates. Like your home commuter, smartphone, or tablet… ignoring simple updates can result in the “bad guys” taking advantage of out of date software vulnerabilities. While keeping your software up to date won’t guarantee 100% that your site will never be compromised, it’s a good start and a wise investment.
For Those Interested in Good SEO…
Google likes to see websites that have great content and are constantly evolving. A static website simply doesn’t cut it for those in competitive online markets. It’s for this reason blogs on business websites are popular. They provide a great way for you to continually add content to your website as well as connect with your customers.
Customers Needs & Expectations Needs Are Constantly Changing
Not long ago websites were solely the domain of the desktop computer. Websites were designed to be viewed on monitor providing a generous amount of screen real estate while using a mouse for navigation. Today, with more and more web content being consumed via smartphones and tablet computers, a mobile friendly responsive design is a requirement for many websites.
A Website Can Always Be Improved
No matter how skilled the web designer, the developer, or the team that built the website is, the initial design of a website can always be improved. Websites should be designed for your customers, not your business. While a business owner may have a pretty good handle on who their typical customer is, it’s impossible to completely predict how they will react to a particular design. In fact, large websites with big traffic (and budgets) commonly use a technique known as A/B testing. A/B testing is a Technique whereby two versions of a particular webpage exist and the results of those pages are carefully monitored to determine which page design converts the best.
Backups are a Must!
Hackers, incompatible plug-in updates, or simple user error can all wreak havoc on a website. Performing frequent full website backups (and preferably saving these backups offsite) is time well spent. Just ask someone that has for any reason needed to rebuild their website from a backup. It sure beats starting over from scratch!
Website Design is Constantly Changing
Like the world of fashion, particular website design styles web are constantly changing. Hang on to a particular website style too long and your site might look out of date — thus possibly giving your website visitors a less than favorable impression of your business.
WordPress Itself is Constantly Evolving
New features and ways of doing things in WordPress are constantly being introduced with each new release. What might have been impractical just a year ago may be very doable due to changes in WordPress itself, a newly released plug-in or a theme framework release.
Just like many things in life, to be effective and provide value websites require a certain amount of attention and upkeep. Websites should never be considered a set it and forget it proposition. Letting a business website grow stale and out of date will likely result in a site that does not perform nearly as well as it should. This can result in lost sales and poor customer satisfaction. Something no business website owner ever wants to see.