Every few years, technology turns the internet upside down. Everyone is looking to come up with the Next Big One. Because, after all, inventing the next Facebook is how to become a Billionaire.
What does that do to the average businessman, who really doesn’t want to have to spend the money, to completely redo their website every few years? A website can be a significant investment.
Can a website be future-proofed?
The short, unsatisfactory answer is, “Yes and No.”
No one can predict these kinds of disruptive changes, and when they happen, you are going to have to go with the flow. No matter how much you loved Flash animations.
That doesn’t mean you are helpless at the whims of invention and fashion. There are a few good rules. Follow these and add longevity to your website:
- Follow fashions, not fads. Fashions in websites last some years. Fads burn out sometimes in months or a year. Remember one-page websites? Me neither.
- Use WordPress. WordPress is the most widely used website platform in the world. As a result, when technology or fashions change, WordPress adapts to the changes, almost automatically. It isn’t going to become obsolete.
- But use care in choosing components. WordPress runs on “themes” (skeletons of websites with a look and feel, structure and sometimes functionality). Themes can be well- or poorly-built, and they can be well-supported or abandoned by their developers. WordPress also runs on “plug-ins” which add functionality, such as on-line stores or reservation systems. Plug-ins also can be badly- or well-built, can be poorly supported or even abandoned by their developers.
A poor choice of a plug-in can mean a website breaks a year or two down the road. The fix might be easy, but it might not.
While the WordPress website (WordPress.org) helps in sorting this out, it often takes a professional to tell the good from the bad.
- Which brings me to a key point. Hire a professional. I’m sorry, but WordPress is NOT a do-it-yourselfers platform. Your sister-in-law is NOT going to watch a video and turn out a website that looks and works right, and will CONTINUE to look and work right. The same point can be made about other website building platforms such as Drupal, Joomla and so on.
Even more unfortunately, for every actual professional there are dozens of wannabes claiming or pretending to be website experts. It isn’t hard to tell the difference. Look at their own website for starters (if they even have one).
- If that all sounds expensive and time-consuming, well, contemplate doing it twice because it wasn’t done right the first time. Happens every day. Which brings me to my final point: If you can’t afford to do it right, do it cheap. Use a do-it-yourself website builder, such as Wix or Squarespace or Shopify. At least that way you haven’t invested a lot of time and money, and with a little work you can have a decent looking (and working) website.