6 Best Website Development Practices for your Business
Believe it if you may,
The world creates a whopping 547000+ websites in a DAY!
Yes, not in a month, not in a week, but in a day. Website development is on a roll. And do all of these come out with flying colours? Of course not. Why, you ask?.
Well, there are websites, and there are websites, if you know what we mean. There will always be Facebooks and Youtubes and Amazons and there will be Craigslists. So, there are some websites that get it right, and some that miss altogether miss the point. Does that mean only a few businesses are able to use good website developers to create their websites and others are helpless?
No. Let us tell you something that we deeply believe in. The success of the website depends as much on the development-related decisions of the business owners as on the talent and delivery of the website developer a business uses.
So, after all, is there something that businesses can do to make their websites better? Yes, they can.
And they can begin by learning what not to do. That’s what we’ll tell you. Even if you don’t take our word for it, odds are that you will end up agreeing somewhere by Best Practice #3. So, let’s begin.
1. Setting a Scope
When any website project starts, it starts with an idea but you will be amazed how quickly that idea diversifies into features, tools, functionalities and pages. So, there will always be a difference in the scope and the time frame that you, as a business owner, may have had in mind while starting and the scope and time that may actually be taken once the project begins.
There will be rounds of design and development, there will be runs and reruns, rounds of feedback, testing, iterations, additions and modifications, which is normal.
But when this kind of thing goes out of hand, we call it scope creep and that is not a place you want to land in. So, decide on a methodology, Agile or DevOps, Scrum, Lean, or even Waterfall for that matter depending on how good your development team is at it. The idea is to set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-based.
The trick is to stick as close to the scope that had been decided upon by you and your development team after having considered all variables and adding a buffer time span. Yes, there will be modifications and iterations, but having a set scope will save you from falling into a bottomless pit of waiting to launch.
2. Make it All about the Customer
The one blunder that businesses and developers commit alike is forgetting that the customer is the hero of the story. When it comes to business websites, they think that the user is just like them. The truth: they’re not.
Coders may be amazing at coding, but the knowledge about what the target audience of that website wants may evade them. Why? Because, guess what, it’s the business’s job to know what the user wants. Unless you know what they want, selling is an impossible task.
And though, one may go to the extent of arguing that it’s the Sales and Marketing departments that need to do that, we’ll say that a business should know the pain points of their target audience first before the SAM department can do their job of creating buyer personas. And once they have, they should no longer have the website developer work in a vacuum.
You may develop a galaxy of functionalities but if your user can’t use it well, that’s your bad. It’s not about you (neither the business nor the coder). It’s about the customer. Make it so.
3. Be Selective about your Business Message
The pot pourri! It won’t work, even if you have hired the best developer in the world. And an awful lot of businesses still end up doing it. There are one-page websites and there are twenty-page websites, neither can be better or worse than one another unless you are trying to make each one do the other’s job.
There is one simple rule of marketing and sales: never give your customer too many options. They are likely to get confused and run away.
This is why each page of your website should be offering ONE clear business message/offer/feature/functionality. Think of it as a departmental store. You don’t expect to sell diapers in the men’s grooming, or to sell one particular variant of men’s shampoo easily if you offer 25 of them right there.
A good idea is to keep it as simple as you can.
4. Add Just the Right Amount of Futuristic
Some products die because they are too futuristic and some fail to survive because they failed to take the future in consideration. Bitcoin took soooooooo long to make a common appearance because it is too futuristic and Nokia ran out of business because it failed to see the reign of Android coming. It did take the lesson and made a comeback. And that’s a good thing.
Same is true for websites. You can’t be too innovative or too much in the present. For example, it’s good to keep a scope for voice search integration but not give up the traditional text search box because that is too innovative and might tick off the users who are not used to Alexas and Siris yet. You may want to include technologies like chatbots but not become 100% chatbot- driven.
You may be keen on being a disruptor but the odds of relatively quicker success lie in riding the tide and not inverting it, unless you have an unending supply of time and finance.
5. Never Take Your Eyes off the Website Speed
In times when video and even features like AR and VR have become desirable elements to make websites cutting edge, speed is something you will need to worry about. To be honest, these elements are great; audiences love these, but they may take the performance of the website considerably down.
Also, in the case of websites that experience high volumes of traffic, website speed needs special consideration.
David Zheng, in one of The Daily Egg blogs, give us something called the “15 Second Rule”
“If you haven’t generated interest in 15 seconds, then you probably aren’t going to.”
And that applies if your webpage has loaded instantly. Then all your UI and copy have is 15 seconds before the user decides to stick around or look for better choices elsewhere.
There’s a simple formula to follow. Just count 1…2…3 in your head. If your web page is able to load in that span of time, the user is likely to stay, else they are likely to leave.
So, no matter how many or how few animate elements or functionalities you put into your website, you should enable it to handle the load well. Your customers are anxious and hungry. Feed them quickly and feed them right. Else, the boat will sail without you on it.
Get your website developer to optimize your website for speed. Work on adjusting the on-screen elements if need be. The aim is to make your website absolutely high performance.
6. The World Is Mobile First
According to Broadband Search, a whopping 58.8 % of the world’s population accesses the web through mobile devices.
Going by simple maths, you can’t afford to ignore this class of users, which includes smartphone, tablets and other mobile device users. So your website needs to be optimized for PCs, laptops, and mobile devices like smartphone, tablets, iPads, notebooks, etc. Making sure that it’s optimized for all the screen sizes in all the categories of all the devices is also something that you will need to ensure.
So, responsive websites are one choice, a choice that has been a popular one for almost a decade. The other is progressive web applications, something that has been gaining traction due to their dynamic nature.
The choice will be yours, depending on how talented your website development team is and which of these choices has more scope for the UI elements that you need in your website.
Remember that the competition in the service as well as the product market isn’t becoming any lesser by the day when it comes to creating digital assets. Creating a standard website doesn’t mean you can’t make it. Creating a standard website that fails to cater to basic user expectations does.
Hiring a website development agency with experience does help a big deal with the technical side of the website. But that should not undermine your own responsibility in making decisions that affect the development of your website. Nobody knows your business like you do. Make it count.