Tips from IT Developers for Designing Your Website
If you are looking to setup a website for your business, you have likely come across a number of those articles which provide you with ‘X Steps’. This article provides tips for designing your website directly from IT Developers.
1. Don't Underestimate the Time Commitment
Website development is a time-consuming activity, even when you outsource it you will at minimum be looking at 4 to 8 hours. Remember that even when others are doing the work, a lot of effort is involved in coming up with a clearly documented description of what you want. That's not even considering the time involved in reviewing potential design/development groups as well as reviewing what they eventually provide you.
Unfortunately, this is not something that can be avoided. If you limit the time you spend in planning in your website, you will almost certainly make up the difference in the extra time you spend reviewing and modifying your website post construction.
2. Sometimes You're Better to Make Your Website Yourself
Back in the day you could not get a website without knowing HTML or outsourcing to someone who did. Nowadays there are a ton of website builders out there which can cut out the coding complexity.
If your looking for a very simple website that is just a page or two with maybe a contact form, you can be surprisingly better off doing it inhouse. You need to keep in mind that outsourced groups need to do several extra steps when creating a website. They need to conduct meetings with you, set up backups, test everything they add to ensure they can’t be held legally liable for problems and a range of other functions that you might not even consider.
Extra steps may not be a lot in the grand scheme of things for a large website but, for your basic ones they can make up almost half the time. With this is said, you really should only consider making your own website if you are a curious kind of person as there is a lot of learning and fiddling that does go into creating one.
3. Have a Backup
No designer worth their salt should add things to your website without first ensuring that there is a backup or that they use a dev site first. There are some exceptions to this like adding a blog or changing an image as these typically won’t have any impact on the rest of your site. However, plugins and new pages can.
Doing this is especially important for platforms like WordPress.org which do not automate your backup and recoveries.
4. Have a Disaster Recovery Plan
If you have not yet made one you should consider arranging a DR plan which not only covers your website but any other critical systems in your business.
If something goes wrong with your IT systems this plan is meant to have all the relevant information, such as hyperlinks and passwords, so that you or your managers can most effectively handle the disaster.
5. Make Sure Your Themes and plugins Can Be Used Twice
Similar in principle to the last tip make sure your themes and plugins can be used on at least two sites. One for your dev and one for your live.
If it is going to cost too much to do this seriously consider setting up a new website to run through the plugins before you bring them onto your live system. Yes, it will take more time then a single install but ultimately it will help you avoid any potential crashes or breaks in your website. Remember, such breaks are most likely to occur when you install large plugins.
6. Check To See If You Can Export Your Website
Website builders like Wix are great for getting a nice clean website up relatively quickly. The downside of many of them is the costs and plugin limitations which become increasingly frustrating the more you need your website to do.
If you decide to go to such a builder check to see if you can export them to something like WordPress for when you eventually need a heavy-duty site. If they don’t just keep in mind that eventually you may need to build a new site from scratch.
7. Be Content Critical
You may be inclined to create a massive website which goes into detail about all your options and covers every possible question a client may have. Be careful though as most people will jump through your content and if there is too much, they may miss what is truly important.
Consider what is critical to your offering and make sure that it is very easy for your potential clients to get this information.