After more than 10 years building websites, and over 5 years creating sites for clients, I have seen lots of weird and just plain awful decisions when it came to businesses building sites. The reasons are varied, but it all comes down to experience and time, so I thought I’d try to offer a little advice from someone who has had to fix mistakes that range from insignificant, to massive.
Here are five things that you should consider before you build your website:
1 – Not all website hosts or servers are created equal
Deciding what website host to go with is a major question for anyone, and to start out, it’s hard to discover the right choice without making mistakes. After years of changing hosts, I finally discovered that my own dedicated server was the right answer, but not everyone can afford that solution, which is why a website developer can be a huge help, even if you just consult with them first for options.
On top of that, shared hosting has a multitude of drawbacks, including security issues, and speed problems, since most shared servers are packed with users. Take a few minutes and ask around before you choose your website host. If in doubt, ask at least 3 experts and pick the best answer among them. As a word of warning, while a shared environment can be cheap, I personally deal with hacked websites on shared servers numerous times a year.
2 – Installing a content management system can be a complicated process
While there are lots of mistakes you can make when building a website, setting up a content management system, like WordPress, can be troublesome if you have never done it before. General problems can include not setting up the directories right, forgetting to finish setting up your theme, or maybe just not keeping WordPress up-to-date, but it can lead to a lot of issues. The most common issue is that your website just looks or acts weird, but beyond that, you could end up making your whole site less secure, which can lead to hackers taking over your website or injecting malicious code into it, which will infect anyone who visits the page.
3 – Website security is all-important
Every day, there are people out there trying to break into insecure websites and servers, and WordPress sites are a major target. Simple security mistakes can lead to hackers corrupting your website, which can mean serious down time. If you want to take care of your business, you should be serious about security too. Security mistakes include your decisions about passwords, keeping scripts and plugins up-to-date, and even where you host your website. By extension, your website is only as secure as the server it’s on, so an outdated web server can be a big problem too.
4 – You need the right tools for the right job
Just because you’re using a secure connection on your website doesn’t mean your website is totally secure–a secure connection is only as good as the system using it. As one example, I worked with a major organization who had been using a secure connection to receive credit card information through a normal web form on their site. Ultimately, it only took a couple of months for a hacker to find that insecure form and take the data, which meant a lot of work for that company to then build a proper solution for accepting credit card payments, and to rebuild trust with their customers. A website developer can select the best tool for the job you need.
5 – Website developers and designers can get the job done quicker
Every business is different, but it’s safe to say that all businesses need to make money, and wasting your time building a website is likely not in your best interests. That wasted time could be spent making sales or being productive, and a website developer can also complete the work far faster. Additionally, a website developer can help you design a site that works well, generates interest, and will look right in all the necessary browsers.
These are my top five things to think about when you consider building your own website. Unless your company is in the business of building websites itself, chances are good that it’s best to leave this work to someone who can make your life easier. If you need some help, even just for a consultation, contact Phoenix Gate Studio here.