Predicting the future is notoriously tricky – just take a look at Marty McFly’s massive failure in not seeing the internet when he landed in 2015, way Back to the Future in the 1980s!
But as soon as you understand that your perfect website today might not work so well for your business tomorrow, you are already on your way towards future-proofing your new website. Taking a few moments to anticipate what you need from your website to achieve your future aims will help to ensure that it is built to adapt to these changes and could save you a lot of time and money in the future too. After all, you want your shiny new website to last as long as possible.
To help you, we have put together our top tips for future-proofing your website.
1. use a popular, flexible CMS
Choose a good Content Management System (CMS) that lets you update content easily and whenever you want. Plus with the flexibility to allow new functionality to be added later. Using a database driven solution (like a CMS) means you can update the look of the site without worrying about disrupting the content.
Using a popular one like WordPress makes sense. It will be supported for change going forward and is much less likely to disappear than an unknown one.
2. don’t get tied in
Use software that won’t tie you to your website developer, for example with a bespoke CMS. There was a trend a few years back for developers to build their own CMS. Most of these are no longer used.
3. make it responsive
Ensure that your website design works with all device sizes not just those popular today. Here are examples of responsive websites we have designed and built for our customers.
4. find a good website company to work with
Use a reputable company that can be relied on for support once the initial development and design is done. Make sure that it can update to the latest version of your CMS. Some CMS versions have be known to stop working with certain browsers within 5 years.
5. make your plan and stick to it
Your website needs to meet your defined aims and objectives – and not just follow current trends. Think about where you want your company to go? What will the website need to do as part of this plan? Will the site be able to adapt to fulfill this at a later date?
6. use a link checker
Use an automatic link checker to warn you when links stop working. Here is an example link checker you could use.
7. don’t rely on third parties
Third party services are out of your control and can disappear or change, especially the free ones. If you do use third parties – e.g. for embedding videos – use main players like Vimeo or YouTube. Because it is their core business they will adapt to new technology quickly. You can’t rely on other lesser-known tools to see the urgency.
8. flexible functionality
Functionality is how people ‘do things’ and interact on a website. To future-proof your site you need to ask your developer to make sure that the coding can accommodate flexibility, for example by being able to add new sections or delete old ones without impacting others.
9. be up-to-date today
You can’t expect to future-proof your website, if you are using techniques that are already out-of-date. Make sure your website designers use today’s best practices for web design, SEO etc. Find out what support packages they offer-if they include regular upgrades to the latest CMS version, it offers an easy and secure way for your website to remain up-to-date.
Flexible, functional future-proofing of your website is definitely the way forward – but don’t expect it to last forever. In time, software will need to be upgraded for security, technology moves on, and … well, who knows exactly what the future will bring?
Read our case study on how we future-proofed the website for the the International Association of Hydrogeologists or get in touch for a consultation meeting through the contact form, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or pick up the phone on 01865 794009.
We have been designing and building bespoke websites for organisations in Oxford for over 12 years. Our friendly, highly experienced team of web designers and software developers are dedicated to helping our clients achieve the outcomes they want.