5 Tips for Creating a Low-Maintenance Editable Business Website

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5 Tips for Creating a Low-Maintenance Editable Business Website

Over the last five years, a growing range of companies have been turning to the internet to help them increase revenue, boost their incoming client base, or generate more leads. From car dealerships to real estate agents, shoe stores to fast food restaurants, the power of the internet for marketing and business leads can be […]

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Over the last five years, a growing range of companies have been turning to the internet to help them increase revenue, boost their incoming client base, or generate more leads. From car dealerships to real estate agents, shoe stores to fast food restaurants, the power of the internet for marketing and business leads can be seen across hundreds of different niches and industries.

However, a major setback for many businesses is a lack of tech-savvy employees. Most small businesses – often the type of business that benefits most from effective online marketing – simply don’t know how to manage a standard HTML and CSS based website. From simple template websites to major multi-page layouts, the standard coding languages and website styles are just too much for many businesses to handle on their own.

web design

Thankfully, the last five years have seen the internet also take another change – this time towards simplicity in design and website management. A range of content management solutions are available, allowing even a non-designer to create, manage, and modify their own websites.

We’ve tracked down five awesome tips for creating your own editable website. If you’re a business owner looking to enter the online world, make sure these five tips, tactics, and strategies are backing up your website design and management plans.

1. Use WordPress.

Ten years ago, small business websites were designed just like any other: with an open Notepad document, endless lines of HTML and CSS, and a laundry list of things to modify for even the smallest change. The entire process of designing and developing a website was packed with difficulty, from the background color settings all the way to the page navigation system and website structure.

Now, all it takes is a five-minute (or five-second, if you’ve got access to Fantastico) installation of WordPress. This do-it-all content management system is perfect for businesses looking for a low-maintenance website back end. Not only is it remarkably powerful and flexible – take a look at the thousands of custom themes out there for proof – but it’s incredibly user-friendly. Single changes take seconds, not hours, and even the most complex page can be controlled from a simple dashboard.

Want to cut hours out of your workload for every website change? Install WordPress. It’s that simple.

2. Minimize superfluous details.

Sure, that animated Flash banner pumping out music might seem like a good idea, but it’s unlikely to be something that your site’s audience (or your designer, for that matter) would be keen on adding to a page. Not only that, but it’s a little superfluous and self indulgent.

Extra details do go noticed on a page, and sometimes they can be the difference between something that’s barren of detail and bleak as a piece of design, and something that’s visually stunning. Unfortunately, more often than not they tend to be nothing more than a distraction, both for your audience, and for you whenever you need to modify your website.

Cut down on development time and audience confusion by removing anything that doesn’t need to be there. Perform a website audit: identify everything that serves a purpose on your website – title areas, sales copy, and call-to-action marketing elements – and remove everything else. This one change can cut down on on-page clutter, while at the same time making modifications and updates more simple.

3. Clean code is easy code. Stick to it.

Beyond checking your code for errors and broken links, be sure to check for simplicity and cleanliness. Cluttered code not only increases load times and compromises your website’s performance, but limits your ability to implement on-the-go changes and quick revisions.

Whenever you’re nearing the end of a business web design project, stop and take a look over your code. Scan right down from the beginning page tags to the end of the code, taking in every detail and ensuring that every possible opened tag is closed by the end of the page. Now think about how you could simplify it. Sometimes, a quick scan over your code reveals ways to simplify, eliminate, and make your code much more revision-friendly.

4. Plan in advance for changes and revisions.

The best web designers don’t just think about their client’s needs during a project – they think about what their client could require after the project is completed. Not only does this strategy increase their ability to enjoy long-term business arrangements and up-sells, but it gives their clients a reason to invest in them as a designer. Their attention to detail keeps things simple for clients.

Whenever possible, use notes in your code to let future designers or at-work revisions come simply. Sometimes clients want to dig through their code or make quick modifications, and for a non-technical user, even the simplest notes can turn a maze of HTML and PHP into clear and easily understood instructions.

5. Use your own hosting.

It’s tempting to let your designer and developer manage your web hosting, but it’s also a major pain should things go wrong. Why? Let’s cover every potential reason. Firstly, if your page happens to go down unexpectedly, a designer is just another level of contact you’ll have to work through. Each problem goes through another person, and each eventual answer takes longer to get back to you.

Secondly, you’ll have less control over future upgrades and long-term changes. With hosting in your hands, modifying your page is an effortless breeze. When controlled by a design or development studio, making changes to your hosting can take days, weeks, and sometimes even months. While initially inconvenient, an investment in your own shared hosting or server space is definitely worth it for businesses looking at their online presence as a long-term investment.

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