A website is a serious investment of your time and money. So, it is practical that you will want your investment to be long-running and viable for the foreseeable future. In the current scenario of ‘change’ being the only constant, technologies are developing and replacing the old processes in the blink of an eye. This calls for taking some more of your time to sit back and review whether your website is ready or “future-proof” for handling this kind of change.
Why to ‘Future-Proof’ a Website
In simple terms, the steps you take now will ensure the following issues do not crop up later or there is smoothness in the current operation.
- Time saved in lesser Maintenance and Support
- Changes in future are easier to implement
- The existing data is not lost
- Avoid costly overhaul of the entire site
The first step in this direction will be selecting a versatile and mobile optimized development platform. WordPress themes are popular and tested tools in this aspect. With advanced and latest technological changes, your WordPress website should be equipped to incorporate any such modifications. The following steps will guide you towards making certain that your website is future-proof.
Back Up Your Website Regularly
This is one of the first procedures you need to follow to ensure your current operations are not hampered by any unforeseen circumstances. Fatal situations like server crash, hard drive corruption, virus attacks or a software glitch are ill-effects of modern technology which can lead to non-performance of your site. Even though your website host will perform regular backup activities, investing time or money (if budget permits) in a good remote backup solution is a good idea.
While choosing the backup tool, you may go for free or paid option depending on your budget.
While this exercise will not add any “future-proof” functionality to your existing website or help in your operations, it will be a failsafe for those unrecoverable software issues that crop up while upgrading or tweaking the website in general.
Select a Reputable and Reliable Web-Host
The day-to-day management of your website is done by a web-hosting services provider. As with any web service, there will be a variety of options available. The ranking of your website will depend on the loading speed and loading time. Along with these prime factors, minimum server downtime, the bandwidth and security of your site are factors to be considered. An efficient and reliable service provider should be able to look after these issues with professional attention. Budget is always important, but in this case, it is recommended that you look into the quality and assurance you are receiving along with long-term savings. The following elements need to be considered while matching your requirements with that of a web-hosting service provider.
- Cost – You should get the service you were promised and the charges should be reasonable and within market norms.
- Server Locations – Your website will be loading faster and access time will become minimal with a global network of servers.
- Scalability – If you plan to expand the size or grow your website, the “future-proof” web-host should be capable of handling the same.
- Bandwidth – This is related to scalability, if the web-host’s bandwidth is large, you will have no trouble in expanding your website.
- Customer Support – This will relate directly to their service quality, a good web-host should always be available to answer queries and provide solutions to objections.
Incorporate Child Theme during Design Process
This option is one everybody should use during designing, but most of us forget to implement it. These are simply those themes which contain the functionality and design of their parent themes. This enables making and testing design changes which will not affect the original website. This process simply consists of a style.css file, or sometimes a functions.php file which prevents overwriting. When WordPress’s core themes or plugins are updated, they overwrite any changes you have made in the previous versions. With these themes, the changes stay in place.
Use Plugins and Themes from Reputed Developers
The future-proof regular updating process of WordPress requires that you keep your plugins and themes compatible with it. The two directories dedicated to themes and plugins, which may be free or paid, are great starting places to search for your requirements.
The process of searching and implementing “future-proof” new plugins or themes are risky ventures. A plugin which does not adhere to the latest WordPress standards may damage your website. So, to get a reliable solution, pay attention to these factors below.
- Latest Version Support – Check whether the plugin or theme is supported by the latest version of WordPress.
- Update Period – If the plugin or theme has not been updated in the last six months, do not use it on your site.
- Download Figures – A high number of downloads means the theme is popular and regularly updated and maintained by its developers, hence, less likely to cause problems.
- User Ratings – This is the reflection of what users feel about the software. You should read the reviews (especially poor ones) before making the decision to use it.
- Support Forums – You will be able to find out about the kind, number and quality of support this plugin or theme receives. Check these threads for the number of unsolved issues for the software. Do not use any software which has a lot of pending or unsolved issues.
The factors described above will go a long way towards making your website future-proof. You should consider spending time on this aspect of your website design to overcome lots of issues later and longer technical viability of your website. For any kind of feedback or suggestions, kindly drop a comment below.