Everyone wants to build a website that will stand the test of time, but with new technology sweeping the market by the day, this can be a tricky feat. If you want a site that can grow alongside your business without requiring a complete overhaul every few years, you can save yourself ample time and money by making the right decisions now.
BUILD ON AN OPEN SOURCE CMS LIKE WORDPRESS
The first step to future-proofing a website is to choose a tried-and-true open source CMS like WordPress that will remain stable for a long time coming. WordPress is the CMS for 27% of all websites, and it’s not going down anytime soon.
Since WordPress is an open source platform, anyone can access its code at any time. Opting for open source rather than hiring one person to create a custom CMS ensures that you won’t have to depend on one person alone for changes. You also save yourself the hassle of broken links and temporary unavailability associated with closed proprietary systems, which could easily lose their market or shut down overnight.
ADHERE TO “PROGRESSIVE ENHANCEMENT”
CREATE QUALITY CONTENT
There are two kinds of content– timeless and time-sensitive. Your timeless content should adhere to strong brand standards and usually should not have timestamps– this is the content you won’t have to edit, unless you rebrand. On the other hand, it’s a good idea to keep your site fresh by scheduling content additions such as blog posts a few times a week. You can write these ahead of time and choose the publishing dates. Blogs are a great way to give people a reason to keep visiting your site in the future.
USE CONCEPT-DRIVEN DESIGN
Avoid trends – they’ll make your site look dated earlier. Instead, design for concepts, for brand standards, and for principles you want your site to express. If you go with an open source CMS that separates content from design and uses a modular grid-structure, it will be easy to add or remove features at any time. You will also have the option to hire a professional to reskin the site, which admittedly can be pricey, but is a better solution than starting from scratch.
OPTIMIZE YOUR SITE TO NEW DEVICES
Responsive web design ensures that a site will look good and be user-friendly on mobile, tablet, and desktop devices. A website’s flexibility among various devices can determine its likelihood of accessing different market populations and staying current in an accelerating technological landscape.
One of the things that has already shifted in the way that people view content on the web is mobile. More and more, people are using their smartphones, tablets and small laptop-tablet hybrids to browse the internet. This means your site had better be optimized to look good on those pieces of technology. Problem is – who’s to say what size the next great smartphone or tablet is going to be? Insert Responsive Website Design.
Responsive Website Design simply means that the website ‘responds’ to the width of the device it is being viewed on. (This is also called Device Agnostic Website Design because the website ‘doesn’t care’ what device it’s on.) This is done by using special coding that allows many different widths of devices to still view content on the web the way it was intended to by the designer.
Image courtesy of Flickr by bjornmeansbear.