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The performance of your website can hang on whether or not you do some very subtle things properly. Find out some basic but invaluable tricks to make sure your website works the way you need it to. No matter how long a developer is in the game, even the mighty can fall to the hands of these mistakes.
Despite admirable efforts and the best of intentions, the long-term success of your website will be determined on aspects of your website you’ve probably never considered. Yes, the general layout and functionality should be your focus, but ignoring these factors that constantly cause problems for developers is madness.
Master these tips and tricks pro-actively, and you’ll minimise any chance of your site not performing exactly as you’d like it to.
Backups Save Developers!
Seems like an obvious one to start, but ensuring you have backups in place is web development 101. Amazingly however, we often see creators frantically search for lost content in complete vain. Saving your progress elsewhere on a regular basis is the only way to guarantee you don’t lose the time and effort you’ve invested.
Aside from that, backups allow you to live test new functions and tools. If they don’t work or slow your site, you can revert to your previous format with ease.
Use plugins like BackWPup or VaultPress to protect your work. It’s easy to implement routine backups that offer you that security on third party storage like Dropbox.
Fail to do this and we promise you’ll be kicking yourself at some stage along your development after losing valuable content.
Security – Managing Your Username & Password
When you begin your creative process, WordPress will knight you with the noble username, ‘Admin’. Change this immediately if you wish to manage your site properly and securely.
Because this title is bestowed to all users, unless it’s changed you become target number 1 for hackers. There is no better way to leave yourself vulnerable to breaching than using a generic term that’s easy to guess. Even if a developer builds multiple sites for different clients, if they’re in anyway responsible they’ll make sure each website has individual verification steps.
The exact same rule goes for passwords as well. We know it can be hard to remember a code full of capital letters, numbers and so on; but it’s genuinely the only way to guarantee you protect yourself from unwanted intrusion.
Have a laugh at the most common passwords from 2016. You’d be shocked at how many creators would use “admin” and one of these passwords as a log in to their website.
It might be a little easier to remember, but if you’re lax about security it’s a matter of time before you’re hacked, and possibly lose control of your site. We’re not asking for Fort Knox levels of protection, but something that can’t be guessed is a necessity.
Imagery – Choosing the Right Content
The images you use on your site will be one of the main factors dictating the look and feel of your design efforts. Because of this, it’s imperative that you invest properly into these features.
Images don’t just compliment your website, they’re often what catches the initial attention of a customer. A few hundred words of text can be informative, but what will captivate their interest from the outset? The right imagery is the perfect tool for this.
Developers often use generic or stock photography, without your branding. A lot of them are fine and might compliment your website, but are simply insufficient in delivering your personal message. You need something that defines you and nobody else. You should be trying to tell your story and evoke emotion.
Now we’re not suggesting that you spend frivolously on this obviously. Your own pictures and video will be far more effective in respect to complimenting your informative content though. Even by integrating a tagline or mission statement into stock photography will improve the level of engagement attainable.
Check out how we create images that impact customers in our Digital Hacks series. You don’t need to be a Photoshop pro, it’s just about that little extra effort.
On a more technical note, also be aware of file types and size. Nothing can slow a loading speed more than a lengthy video or picture that’s too big. Condense and reduce where possible, without losing quality of course. Don’t settle for homogeneous, use content that is built to make your brand shine.
Finding a Balance For Plugins
Plugins are awesome and offer unparalleled functionality. There is very little you can’t integrate into your site through these tools and you definitely should use them. However, you need to be wary of over use or reliance as nothing is without flaws.
Plugins make developers look amazing at demos as they offer new skills and functions to dazzle customers. Over the long term and used in practical environments, they can leave you pulling your hair out.
Unfortunately, plugins reduce loading speed and the performance of your site. If you want to destroy your bounce rate and SEO rankings, unnecessary plugins are the way to go.
It’s perfectly fine to use them and we don’t discourage it, but moderation is key. The best way to approach finding an equilibrium that suits you is simple:
- Plan out exactly what you want your site to offer customers. Document each specific function and tool you want to utilise and structure these processes as simply as possible.
- Work out what you can develop within the parameters of WordPress. For everything else look at suitable alternatives.
- Research different plugins and developers to see what will work best and fit your needs. Online reviews are bountiful and a great resource.
- Develop your website and test multiple different tools. Don’t rely on one without testing many first.
- Continuously test your site, update everything and swap out or discard functions that no longer work as you need them to.
Ironically, the best way to test plugins on your site is a plugin itself. Tools such as P3 will analyse how each function is working for you and monitor their performance. Be pro-active about this and you’ll minimise the chance of having a website that doesn’t work properly.
Just because a plugin looks amazing in what it can manage doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Keep your functions simple, make it easy to navigate and fast to load. Those three features are far more engaging and impressive than anything a plugin can do for you.
Staying Ahead of the Game
The landscape of web development and design is changing constantly. Make sure your efforts aren’t going to waste and stay informed on everything digital strategy related with blogs and video series. We want to see you succeed online, and help you in every way possible to achieving that.
Check out our other content and get in touch if there’s anything you’d like to know more about.