Five Points to Consider Before Starting Work on your First Website.

Businessman in deep thoughts while looking at his computer.
Back when I had very little knowledge about website development, I wish someone told me about these points before I took the plunge into a digital business (by the way, that’s not me! Image is by Pexels from Pixabay).

#1 Having a website coded from scratch might be better in the long run because…

although it is true that setting-up a new website these days can be relatively fast and cheap with a variety of website builders that do not require programming skills, but having started with a couple of popular website builders myself (which I rather not name the brands here) back when I had zero programming knowledge, I found it rather difficult to really customise websites built this way. I also found it not favourable to build a website that rely heavily on plugins and here are the reasons why I say it might better to build a website from the ground up based on my own experiences:

  • The drag-and-drop feature of easy website builders limited the look of the design I wanted for my website and this was a problem when I wanted to redesign my entire website for rebranding purposes. Back then, I wanted my website to look different and unique from my competitors, thus I obviously needed a design that was not built-up from a popular base template used by hundreds and possibly thousands of other websites out there.
  • I also ran into major compatibility issues after installing a few different plugins on my then websites that were built-up from a base theme. There was also another time when updating my website as prompted on the dashboard really screwed up the entire website and I had to resort to paying a Website Developer just to get back the base original design. Don’t ask me what happened to my backups, I thought it was suppose to be there too.
  • Another problem I faced was from a developer that built a plugin I bought. When I came across a bug on his plugin, I had to wait a few days just to get a reply from him and unfortunately, it looks like I bought a plugin that was developed by someone who could not write proper English. Needless to say, I struggled to understand what he wrote and eventually I had to pretty much solve the problem myself.

In short, if you plan to run a website that may change as your business or project moves forward, then consider building a customised website that is coded from scratch, rather than create one that was built from a base template. A customised website coded from scratch will allow much more options of customisations and designs and a skilled website developer should still be able to take advantage of the vast collections of JavaScript plugins out there to make your website beautiful and functional with less compatibility issues.

#2 Your website needs to be updated, upgraded and maintained because…

in most cases, a website that is regularly updated with new contents will entice your visitors to return for more. It is also a well known fact that Google SEO ranking favours good quality content that regularly updates. If you have been running a website that was built before the proliferation of mobile devices appear, then it is really time to upgrade because Google SEO has also revealed that they will give more priority to websites that function well on mobile devices. Coming to that point, if you want your website to be as visible and functional as possible all over the world that use many different types of computer devices (e.g. different types of desktop and laptop computers, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, etc.), then it is for sure that your website will need to be tweaked and perhaps even modified as you come across problems viewing your website on certain devices. Because of the technical differences in these devices that constantly update, it is thus impossible for a modern mobile responsive website to function perfectly the same across all the devices forever. In short, you cannot just leave your website alone after it is live if you want it to be at least basically functional on various computers and mobile devices.

#3 Your website need not be high-tech but it must be practical and designed to achieve your objectives because…

there are still many people around the globe who still use old computers to go online as branded computers are known to be able to last for many years albeit the software is outdated. It is therefore paramount to ensure that your website is still somewhat viewable on old computers and that is why having a lot of fancy graphics and modern web features in your website may not be a good idea as old computers just cannot load websites on a high Internet speed.

Thanks to today’s more consumer-friendly smartphones and tablets, it is now also a norm for more senior citizens to go online more often but bear in mind that a typical senior citizen will not likely be able to intuitively maneuver around a website loaded with modern web features. Mobile devices are also generally not as powerful as desktop and laptop computers and a ‘loaded’ website will definitely run slow on less powerful mobile devices and a slow 4G connection will also make it worst.

Do not forget too that the general people who visit websites for entertainment, information gathering and research purposes are not IT-skilled people, so you should not put a burden on them to learn how to operate your high-tech website just because you think it is exciting to integrate new web technologies. For example, if a typical business website’s main goal is to entice visitors to contact the company to obtain more information, then it is rather pointless to spend a lot of time and other resources into developing a high-tech interactive website when it is simply much more important to provide high quality marketing contents that actually generate sales leads.

#4 Your website should contain multimedia contents because…

first-time visitors to your website may only spare a few seconds to a couple of minutes of their attention to get a quick idea of what your website is about. Multimedia contents such as photos and a short video will thus allow your website visitors to get a gist of your contents without having to tap, click, scroll and swipe all over the place. Visitors on your website who find it difficult to locate what they are there for is one of the key reasons they will quickly close your website and this is interpreted negatively by the Google SEO machines as it indicates that your website visitors find your website to be NOT interesting or irrelevant to their search query. If this scenario is prevalent with the majority of your website visitors, this will cause the bounce rate of your website to increase dramatically and this is NOT GOOD as it means your website visitors are ‘bouncing off’ your website too quickly.

#5 Smartphones will never replace the jobs of media production professionals because…

even though the technology in smartphones are capable of taking superbly sharp photos and videos but it still cringes me to see poorly composed and obviously NOT edited photos and videos used for businesses advertised on Facebook and other popular social networking platforms. Producing photos and videos that truly capture attention and generate views require more than just a high-end smartphone as the atmosphere lighting, the talent of the actor and actresses, the script, the location, context of the story, crafting and editing the scenes approriately and many other factors MATTER A LOT in media production!

When you view popular YouTube videos, chances are there is a professional production team that work tirelessly behind the scenes or at the very least, much experimenting and testing have already gone underway to get the best story, lighting, visual, audio, background, etc i.e. TO GET THE PERFECT SHOT that consistently generate views. Everything on screen looks polished and organised because much work had already been done before the cameras even began rolling; and it does not just stop there as professional videos will surely have a video editor thoroughly reviewing the footages before the video goes public. It will not be a surprise to find out that many popular YouTube channels are most likely full-fledged businesses where a full-time production team works behind the scenes planning the shots, negotiating with relevant parties, writing the script, recruiting and preparing the actors, etc. After all, don’t forget that many of the videos we watch on YouTube are meant for SHOW and they are crafted with an aim to entertain us, the audience.

Evan Multimedia-Programmer

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