What's lurking beneath?
Just like with an iceberg, when we look at a website, we’re only seeing a fraction of what is really going on. What could be lurking beneath the glossy exterior of your website?
On the surface
Not surprisingly, most of us think about it from a visual and high level usability perspective. These we could call the above-the-water elements. We tend to think about:
- Do I like the look and feel?
- Is it easy to use?
- Does it work?
- Does it load quickly enough?
- Does it work well on mobile?
And whilst these things are important to the day to day user experience, we have to drill into the detail to get a true view of how robust a website really is.
Below the waterline
So what about the things we can’t immediately see in websites, but really should be considering? Below the waterline, the following points need careful consideration:
- Is it coded correctly, ensuring search engines can index it easily?
- Is the code bloated by unnecessary & unused elements?
- Is the code secure against intrusion?
- Is all data correctly encrypted in the database?
- Is communication between server and browser encrypted (https)?
- Does the server provide excellent uptime, & backups?
Bloated code impacts on the performance of your site. Pages will load more slowly and errors are likely to occur more frequently; annoying visitors and preventing satisfactory search engine indexing, affecting your search ranking.
Bloated code impacts on the performance of your site. Pages load slowly and errors occur; annoying visitors and affecting your search ranking.
Unnecessary code and unused elements, such as plugins, are likely to be out of date and not using the latest patches and updates. This leaves a website vulnerable to even fairly simplistic intrusion attempts.
It’s also vital that your data is stored and transmitted in an encrypted state. Should the worst happen, and an unwelcome visitor breaches your first lines of defence to gain access to your database, encryption protects your data and that of partners and customers.
Lastly, we tend to think of all hosting as being equal, when in fact, it really isn’t. Is your website and associated data hosted in the best place for your needs? How certain are you that your site is being backed up regularly? Have you investigated the risks and benefits of dedicated versus shared hosting environments? What are the guarantees of uptime? What happens if something goes wrong? What has your experience of customer service been like to date? If it’s been less than exemplary on a normal day, you probably don’t want to experience it during a disaster.
All of these things contribute to your business having a secure website that provides optimal uptime, whilst providing a great customer experience.
Time for a refresh?
It’s easy to sideline the company website once it’s in place, and expect it to just keep putting your message out there to the world. But often we leave these things too long and struggle on with a less than optimal site, when your business and your sales pipeline would really be better served by a new, fast, high performing website. Is it time to take another look at your site?