When you are in the planning stages of launching a large website, it’s important to think a few years ahead in terms of growth, trends, and new technologies. Given the time and money it takes to launch a site with hundreds of pages, the last thing you want is to find yourself thinking about replacing it somewhere in the near future. You should be setting your website up for incremental improvements instead of a total overhaul.
Realistically, you can’t forecast for every industry game changer ahead. The only proactive action you can take is building your website in a way that will always scale and adapt with your business. Follow these steps to create a future-proof website.
Lock in Stylistic Elements
Your website might change, but your core branding elements should not. To protect updates from affecting your brand, make sure there are controls in place. A style guide used by the company can provide some guidance. Likewise, a customized theme within your content management system can keep fonts and image resolutions consistent.
Furthermore, your website should be as accessible as possible. Section 508 (United State Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973) mandates that information is accessible to those with disabilities. To achieve 508 compliance, factors like color contrast, text readability, and audio transcripts come into play.
508 compliance is only mandatory for government agencies or businesses receiving federal funding. However, it’s safest to comply in case future adjustments to section 508 apply to your industry. Not to mention, being accessible to those with disabilities increases your audience size!
Scalable Cloud Solutions
It is essential to set up proper hosting, backup, and security tools. Not only do you want your website to be speedy and “always up” for customers, but you also want to prevent data hacks. Have a team ready to respond to surges in web traffic that could come from successful marketing campaigns or unwanted visits from hackers.
Know That Content Will Change and Expand
As your business grows, you will need to create new pages to describe your services. Your content management system will need to be:
- Templated: Keep all pages in compliance with brand standards.
- Easy to navigate: Relying on your internal team can reduce paying for additional support.
- Accessible to the right user groups: Empowering the company to make updates reduces bottlenecks in tasking one experienced employee. However, you will also want to have user permissions in place to control editing power.
You will also need to make sure your website builder trains your internal team to use the CMS. The more knowledgeable your internal team is, the more independence you gain from support.
Build the Minimum Viable Product
One of the big dilemmas facing web developers and their clients is the balance between functionality and website performance. Adding custom plugins and features lets you accomplish more with your website, but each piece of code has the potential to slow performance and introduce software conflicts. The best answer, when building a large website, is to decide which features are worth integrating and starting small. Slowly and carefully add new features over time to prevent bugs.
Ready to Get Started?
The best way to prepare your website for the future is by making smart plans and decisions today. First, start outlining your business requirements and goals. Next, get an expert team with a fresh perspective to audit your website. Following a thorough process will set you up for success.