I currently own a website, or I plan to set up a website for my business or organisation. Once it is up and running, how often should I review its overall look and feel?
In the real world, we tend to re-decorate our house, change our car or upgrade our smartphone on a regular basis. Websites are no different. Trends are changing so fast – not only technology trends, but also the way people use the internet – that a website should be reviewed, updated or revamped every 15 months to two years at the very least.
Several factors illustrate this constant state of flux.
- Since October 2014, html, the markup language underpinning the structuring of content on the web, is in its fifth instalment. Reflecting the increasing use of multimedia content, html5 improves the language for more complex and cross-platforms multimedia applications.
- The gradual shift towards mobile devices has had a knock-on effect on web-design practices. Most modern websites are now mobile responsive and will resize automatically depending on the device they are accessed. Since April 2015, mobile-friendliness is used by the Google search engine as a ranking signal. From that date on, your website should be responsive.
- WordPress is an open-source Content Management System, and like many similar platforms or products, it is in a state of constant flux and continuous improvement. Since its initial release in 2003, the platform has gone through a major new release every four months on average. Every new release reflects the new technological trends, fixes bugs and improves customer experience. In order to showcase these ongoing updates, WordPress also releases a new default free theme every year.
In other words, digital updates are continual and major changes have taken place within the last two years, affecting countless websites across the world.
As a business owner, how can I ensure my website reflects the latest trends?
Instead of investing heavily in a bespoke design that will cost thousands, small business owners who want to quickly establish or retain an online presence are better-off setting up a clean and professional layout that can be easily reviewed and upgraded on a regular basis to reflect the latest trends. As a flexible and dynamic database, the WordPress platform is ideal for small business owners as it provides a solid foundation that can be further customised and built upon over time.
Once set up, it is easy to future-proof a website by adopting the following practices.
- Focus on your website content (pages and posts) – this is the essence of your brand
- Focus on a crystal clear site navigation (menus and links)
- Follow best practice regarding seo and hyperlink structure
- Categorize and tag your posts rigorously
- Organize, caption and document all your images
- Adopt a simple and consistent branding strategy that takes into account potential future upgrades