With 2018 fast approaching I wanted to provide an easy resource for business owners to familiarize themselves with what it will take to keep your website relevant and effective.
1) Mobile Responsive
This almost should not be on here, after all, mobile responsiveness is not exactly new. However, I still see far too many sites without basic mobile responsiveness. Recent data has mobile traffic starting to exceed desktop traffic. Get yourself mobile ready and take advantage of the thumb-scrolling traffic.
2) Content Management System (CMS)
If you are paying a web developer to update every bit of your content, then you are throwing money away. With software such as WordPress, the ability to create and edit your own content is straight-forward and can be done by any computer literate owner or employee. Don’t settle for a little bit of control. Any significant part of your content that needs to be edited regularly should be at your fingertips.
3) Modern Hosting
Did you set up your website in 2009 and then forget about it? If so you are likely running on some server that your conveniently-price hosting company has since locked away in a closet and barely keeps the lights flickering. Many times I have seen hosting companies move on to more modern, often cheaper, solutions without notifying their existing customers. Your website is running on the dregs of yesterday’s hardware. Upgrading to a modern solution, often at the same price or less, will give you a better performing website and close up a number of security holes by using updated software.
4) SSL Certificate
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is a protocol for encrypting communication between a server and a personal computer (or phone). Why do you care? The web community has decided that every website, not just those processing finances, should carry an SSL certificate. This means the search engines and browsers will increasingly reward sites that operate with an SSL and punish those that do not. As time goes on, users will be warned in more alarming and obvious ways if your site is not using an SSL. Don’t make customers question the security of your website.
5) A Plan
If you walk away with anything, remember this. You can’t hire a web developer to work some magic and expect customers to start beating down your doors. Like anything in life, with a website you get what you put into it. Websites need a plan. What content are you adding and updating? How are you educating your customers? How are you capturing people’s interest? How are you going to improve your website over the next year? Have you included your website in your annual budget?