The day has come. Your once successful and well-performing website wears off. And you know what? It is okay. It happens to the best of us. Even while you are reading this article, we are revising our website to improve your experience with it. So let us explain how the updating process works, and not just because we are a software development company but because we understand. Right now, our designer is creating a fresh way of delivering cases, and our backend developer is engaged in the improvement of the admin panel.
Reasons to update
Firstly, the whole software development community is moving forward, creating better tools, improving technologies, and automatizing the processes that once were manual. You need to follow them to improve your website productivity and user experience. That means you need it to perform at the same speed as all other sites, or better – even faster. Secondly, one trend replaces another, making your target audience appreciate things they used to ignore. So you also have to satisfy their changing demands to remain relevant and competitive on the market. It leads to the conclusion that the main reason to update your website is your readers/customers/clients/users (underline what suits you).
For example, we update our website for YOU – a software developer, product owner, or just a technology-driven person – because we know: if the website is slow, the content is irrelevant, and the navigation is illogical, you will leave. So, keep in mind: you need upgrades to catch your audience, and do not let go. After all, your website is a crucial aspect when users form their opinion about your brand. Just a glance at one of the landing pages may tell you a lot about the quality of the product. The design and navigation indicate how much time you have (or have not) spent decluttering and improving. Speed and performance indicate the quality of the development team and technologies that may lie behind the code. Security measures show how much you care about your users. Over 1.5 billion websites are available on the web. For one of them to be usable in 2020 by the current demanding audience, there have to be some requirements met. The only thing is: these requirements are changing.
Things you need to update (or implement)
Your business is evolving proportionally to your experience and society demands. Two years ago, I needed a product or service at a reasonable price. Today I want more style and comfort or good service and compliance with environmental laws. If your target audience has some mental shift, you need to adapt to these changes to stay afloat. Rebranding may include corporate values changes, targeting additional markets, altering design content, and rewriting content.
Whatever it is, in the end, you will have to depict the changes on your website. It may involve the whole scope of redevelopment and redesign or just change of colors and fonts. So, if you have already performed rebranding on all stages, and your website still has its initial looks and performance, it is time to update.
Trends following is not about changing design each year because Pantone called another color of the year. It is not about shifting from animation to minimalism, and on and on. Adopting modern tendencies helps to create a design concept popular in modern times and relevant for some years in the future.
Yes, there are examples of companies that don’t change the looks of their website in years. Amazon has had the same design since 2004. However, it is an E-Commerce giant with millions of products. They don’t need to follow design trends to attract users. They target fast delivery and constant availability. However, if your website is the first thing users judge, better don’t get stuck in the 2000s while the world lives in the 2020s.
Above are the most trendy web design concepts as of 2020. They fit most industries: from SaaS and E-Commerce to personal blogs and educational resources. Also, there is growing popularity of animated objects, minor interactions, and videos. However, when planning a grand project with these, remember a few rules. 1) Complex animations and interactions require more costs from you and efforts from your development team. 2) These objects are often just a source of entertainment. They may not imply an improvement in navigation. Still, if you have spare money and time for your coders to run the job smoothly, why not?
You can target your users with the same content and offers. That’s what many websites do. However, to be competitive and innovative, try implementing (or improving) personalized experiences. They are keys to the 2020s web world because users explore the content relevant to their needs and preferences. From automatic language selection to personalized discount offers, all of this is a great time-saving and engagement-increasing tool. For example, you can recognize them by their names when making offers (Jim, there’s a 50% discount for you!). Recommend the content based on what users have read or seen before and target optimized landing pages. Make your users feel unique.
The problem with user security is that you may not know when it is at risk. Usually, companies find out about the leakages and data threats after the outcomes, scandals, and complaints. It is especially topical for projects built using open-source technologies because the code base is available for a wider audience.
Among the most spread security threats are the following. Phishing attacks aim to obtain personal information about users and manipulate it to their disadvantage. Usually, it happens with the help of a fake website resembling an original one, so that the differences are minor and unnoticeable. File inclusions can take the overall control of the website pages, including the admin panel and the host server. Command injections allow cyberattackers to execute code and take over the hosting server. Cross-Site Request Forgery aims to manipulate admins so that they do what the hacker needs without knowing it. It can result in changes in the info on the website, like prices and values of products. It may result in money transfers from customer accounts. Mobile Malware targets mobile users, utilizing drive-by downloads, browser exploits, and spyware.
Developers understand it and use various security plugins to ensure the data is safe. However, to err is human, and it is necessary to revise everything systematically. Also, hackers are a community that does develop, creating new attacks – more elegant and powerful. Build a wall of secure code that won’t let them get to you. Constant website updating is one of the bricks.
Features and integrations
One of the reasons to consider updates is if your website lacks functionality. Of course, there should not be hundreds of redundant and overwhelming features that do not solve any problem. The bare minimum depends on your industry. E-Commerce requires search, product pages, descriptions, and vivid photos. However, you can go more by adding the calculator of taxes. Educational websites require features that allow their users to enroll for courses and view scores. However, it is also great to add reminders about deadlines that would come to an email. Voice search, chatbots, VR experience – all of that enhance your functionality. As for the integrations, they help to automate authorization and simplify sharing content with other users.
Smartphones enrich our life with convenience and time-efficiency because you can take them everywhere and still get access to the Internet. So if you do not provide a mobile version of your website, you lose your users for most of the day. There are so many ways to enter the M-World: Progressive Web Apps (PWA), Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), Responsive Websites, and Native mobile apps. They allow you to reach your users instantly with notification. In the present times, where the share of mobile users growth each minute, ignoring mobile development is a sign of going outdated.
Giving people with disabilities the possibility to explore your website is not about enlarging the audience. It’s about equality despite obstacles. So that the screen reader performs its function correctly, be sure to provide alt-texts for all images, use header tags correctly, and do not overuse tables. Be sure to provide an alternative to audio and video content, like subtitles or downloadable text.
What about content? Do people really read something longer than the Instagram post? Yes, if the text is engaging. However, content updating is not only about blogs. Be sure that every piece of information on your website is relevant and logical: from headings to call-to-action buttons. Do not forget about uniqueness and SEO compatibility. If no one finds your website, then what is the use of accessibility, mobile-friendliness, and interactive content? Be sure to include keywords to landing and product pages, blog posts, and slideshows. Also, don’t resort to text only. Use photos, illustrations, videos, and interactive games. Provide relevant content your audience can interact with. Allow them to change the shapes and colors by click, make them compete in quests. Provide different scenarios to choose from. You’ll be memorable.
The updating process has the same stages as the usual web development project. First, you need to audit your website with your team, gathering information about everything that needs improving. Then set goals and write requirements – they are a necessary tool for your developers and designers to understand what you want from collaboration. Remember: the goal is what you want to achieve in the long run. For example, it might be increasing clickability or building awareness of a brand. Requirements also indicate how you see the future of your project, only it concerns separate tasks and contains more specific information (like descriptions of feature, keywords, and design concepts)
After you understand where to move in theory, it is time to bring it into practice. Set a timeline for the project. It will help you to create more convenient deadlines so that your team makes everything in time without the burnout. However, be realistic. If you need complex updates and allocate not enough time for them, get ready for a next updating marathon. Very often, quality requires patience. Then while developing, designing, and writing content, analyze each sprint to make sure your team understands what you want from it. After all, none of us can read minds. Then, when the development is ready, gather feedback, and evaluate how your users’ response has changed due to changes. Hopefully, when the outcomes are positive, you will be more willing to work more on your website. User Experience and Customer Focus do the trick in the web world.