The internet is in a constant state of evolution with technologies popping in and out of existence too quickly for most people to even begin to grasp their ramifications.
From HTML5 to new versions of CMS, CSS, and disruptive technologies like blockchain, how websites behave, function, and even look can change very quickly.
Websites are an investment and as such seeing an ROI on it is something most, if not all people, want to see. Because of this, making future-proofing your website a wise, strategic move.
So what steps can you take to ensure your investment lives long enough for you to see a return on it?
In this article, we will look at ways at how you can future proof your website through design as well as functionality. Of course, nobody knows exactly what the future will bring. However, with a bit of foresight, we can very easily hedge our bets to not end up with an out of date website far too quickly.
Build on strong foundations
Most websites today come equipped with a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress which allows website owners to quickly and easily update their website. However, WordPress is not the only one. In fact, some estimates show there are some 350 different systems available.
This can make choosing the perfect CMS somewhat of a nightmare but it doesn’t have to be. To make sure your website is as future proof as possible, one of the very first steps you should take is to choose a CMS system that is well established and enjoys widespread support.
This will help you ensure there is plenty of help when you need it and that the CMS system on which you build your website will continue to be supported for years to come.
Whilst you might feel that some obscure system dots all of the i’s and crosses all of the t’s, whether that CMS will still be around in a year’s or two times might be questionable at best. To help you future proof your website, look for something that offers regular security updates and general support as, without either, your website could be doomed before it has even launched.
- Choose a CMS system that has a proven track record.
- Make sure that it offers wide-spread support
- Make sure regular updates are made available consistently
Look for support before you need it
With the CMS system generally providing the framework on which the website is built, plugins can help extend what a website can do. Much like CMS’s, plugins come in all shapes and sizes and the same caution as with CMSs should be exercised here. Be sure to read reviews that might offer a window to what issues other users have experienced.
Keep an eye open for freemium plugins which can offer more support options should you opt for a pro version of the plugin – a wise choice if much of the functionality of the website depends on that particular plugin.
If you are commissioning your own code, have a look at your business plan first and make sure that the investment you do now will continue to serve the company long into the future. Look at which areas your business might grow in, and what opportunities you might need to take further down the line and make sure the code and website’s functionality can scale in that direction.
Remember that when all is said and done, websites are there to serve your business and not the other way round and as such, requirements should be dictated by the business.
- Understand what the business needs and design accordingly
- Look for plugins that enjoy regular updates and have received good reviews
- Consider using pro versions of key plugins on which your website will depend
Align the design
When it comes to the actual design of the website, there are also a few steps you can take to make sure that it does not go out of fashion all too quickly.
Whilst it might not be entirely possible to predict the future, we can look at what has worked in the past to suss out trends that have worked for a longer time. Simple and minimalistic designs do not only offer a better user experience, but they can stay relevant for much longer.
Technology is also in constant evolution to help designers do better work with the latest CSS features helping administrators to design a more modular website that is much easier to update when the time comes.
By building a modular website, you can update individual elements as you go along rather than completely rebuilding everything from scratch every time, helping you not only stay relevant long into the future, but do so at less cost and in less time.
Micro-sites can also be helpful when it comes to launching new products or services; helping you avoid a complete overhaul every time you launch something new in the market.
Designing with growth in mind can help you make sure that when you hit the jackpot, your website can carry on.
- Look for long-lasting trends that have withstood the test of time
- Leverage technology to design in a more modular way
- Design with your business’ future in mind
Taking extra steps of precaution to ensure your website lasts well long into the future does not have to be a gargantuan task.
It might not always be an easy task to align the needs of your business with what is technically feasible at any given moment in time, but by taking extra time to do so can yield dividends that continue to pay for years to come.
If you need advice about how to go about getting your website or just want to ask any questions, please get in touch!