The Cheater’s Guide to a Future-Proof Website

Marie Westerhof

Marie Westerhof

Posted on October 21, 2014

Everyone wants to build a website that will stand the test of time, but with new technology sweeping the market by the day, this can be a tricky feat. If you want a site that can grow alongside your business without requiring a complete overhaul every few years, you can save yourself ample time and money by making the right decisions now.

1. Build on an open source CMS like WordPress

The first step to future-proofing a website is to choose a tried-and-true open source CMS like WordPress that will remain stable for a long time coming. WordPress is the CMS for 22% of all websites, and it’s not going down anytime soon.

Since WordPress is an open source platform, anyone can access its code at any time. Opting for open source rather than hiring one person to create a custom CMS ensures that you won’t have to depend on one person alone for changes. You also save yourself the hassle of broken links and temporary unavailability associated with closed proprietary systems, which could easily lose their market or shut down overnight.

2. Adhere to “Progressive Enhancement”

Progressive Enhancement is a web design methodology that focuses on building a solid foundation before moving on to embellishments. After a layer of clean, semantic code, a designer can increase the complexity of the site with a layer of CSS, followed by a layer of Javascript. In the words of Easy Designs principal Aaron Gustafson, “With the baseline established, apply styles progressively, providing varying levels of design based on the capabilities of a user’s system.”  If features are added in layers of increasing complexity, users on old browsers will still feel as if they’re getting the full experience.

3. Create quality content

There are two kinds of content– timeless and time-sensitive. Your timeless content should adhere to strong brand standards and usually should not have timestamps– this is the content you won’t have to edit, unless you rebrand. On the other hand, it’s a good idea to keep your site fresh by scheduling content additions such as blog posts a few times a week. You can write these ahead of time and choose the publishing dates. Blogs are a great way to give people a reason to keep visiting your site in the future.

4. Use concept-driven design

Avoid trends – they’ll make your site look dated earlier. Instead, design for concepts, for brand standards, and for principles you want your site to express. If you go with an open source CMS that separates content from design and uses a modular grid-structure, it will be easy to add or remove features at any time. You will also have the option to hire a professional to redesign the site, which admittedly can be pricey, but is a better solution than starting from scratch.

5. Optimize your site to new devices

Responsive medical web design ensures that a site will look good and be user-friendly on mobile, tablet, and desktop devices. A website’s flexibility among various devices can determine its likelihood of accessing different market populations and staying current in an accelerating technological landscape.

Marie Westerhof

Marie Westerhof

Marie is the Director of Marketing at Medical Web Experts, and has over 10 years of experience in the development and execution of digital marketing campaigns for healthcare organizations. She also heads complex medical writing projects for healthcare networks, hospitals, large physician groups, and independent physician practices.

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