You can’t build a high-performance website without delving into website development.
Website developers are generally highly technical, able to create beautiful online experiences with complex coding – all while safeguarding business and customers with tight security measures.
If you’re looking to build a website for your business, it pays to do a bit of research into what’s involved and understand the benefits of hiring professional website developers to support you.
It’s intimidating at first, but website development doesn’t have to be overcomplicated. Once you break it down, it’s easy for business owners to understand what’s involved to maintain a safe, responsive, and high-performance website.
By understanding the importance of 6 aspects of back-end web design…
- Load speed
…you’ll feel more confident approaching website designers and choosing the best option for your business.
Let’s get started.
1. Website Developers + Security
No business owner wants to imagine the consequences of their website getting hacked. But, to protect both your customers and your business, it’s always best to prepare for the worst.
Hackers infiltrate websites every 39 seconds, and the consequences of online security breaches have a disastrous impact on Australian businesses.
Security: What’s Out There?
If you don’t have website developers keeping your security up to standard, you risk experiencing three types of cyber attack:
1. Data theft
You might have heard that data is now more valuable than gold. Every time someone visits your website, a connection is made between their data and your domain. If your website security isn’t up to date, hackers can intercept user data (from you and your customers) and use it for their own means.
Types of user data include:
- Credit card details
- Trade secrets
Securing data should be a top priority for any business. Many Fortune 500 companies have paid the price of sub-par security, with big names like Facebook and Coca-Cola leaking millions of users’ data.
2. Spam attack
SEO spam hacks are becoming more notorious for WordPress websites. Hackers use outdated plugins or a weak password to infiltrate your site, then poison your top-ranking pages with their own backlinks, spammy keywords, or abrasive advertisements for viagra.
The concept of malware (malicious software) is familiar for most people who’ve experienced viruses on their personal computers, then downloaded a program to help scan and remove any threats.
Malware infects websites differently to computers. Cybercriminals gain access via outdated WordPress features or weak login details to change the appearance of your site, redirect visitors to malicious websites, or create a backdoor to grant other criminals access to your business’s platform.
Security: What’s At Stake?
Aside from the initial anxiety and embarrassment caused by a website security breach, businesses that fall victim to cyber-attacks face serious consequences:
- Customer trust and loyalty is lost (potentially forever)
Businesses that cut corners with website security run the risk of losing trust with their customers. ‘Trust’ might seem like a bit of a marketing buzzword, but as consumers grow more sensitive to online scams and abrasive advertising, trust in a brand has a lot of influence over purchasing decisions.
No customer will return to your site after having their data stolen, or being subjected to inappropriate content from malicious sites. By not enlisting professional website developers, companies who fail to protect their customers on their website will suffer from lost business.
- Legal action is taken by affected customers or employees
If your personal details were obtained by hackers through an insecure website, you’d demand reparations from the business at fault – especially if you’d been robbed!
If your business’s website is proven to have put visitor data at risk, you could be liable to pay for damages. This means not only substantial costs for your business to cover – but a permanent strike against the business’s name.
- Website is blacklisted by search engines
Websites that fall victim to hacks and malware are quickly discovered by Google. Google’s algorithms ensure that dodgy websites are never shown to users, so if your business’s website appears to be at risk (even for a short time) Google will quickly hide it from search result pages to protect its customers.
This means that, without website developers maintaining your online security, all your SEO efforts and content marketing strategies will be wasted – and your website will be undiscoverable to potential customers.
Security: How Can Website Developers Help?
Even the most cautious business owner can’t protect their website at all times. With the help of a dedicated team of website developers, you can have peace of mind that your business and your customers are kept safe online.
Professional website developers stay on top of the latest cybersecurity threats, as well as the most up-to-date practices to make sure your website is impenetrable to hackers.
With WordPress accounting for over 30% of all websites, it’s crucial to consult with website designers who know their way around WordPress security.
At Web-Sta, our knowledgeable team follow 4 best-practices to keep our client’s website secure:
- Install the latest WordPress version
- Update plug-ins immediately
- 24/7 monitoring
- Regular data back-ups
To find out more about our full-scale website security services, check out our website or ask our team how we can protect your business (and your customers) online.
Website hosting is one of those technical aspects of website development that seem complicated at first. We want to help business owners to understand what website hosting is, and how a team of website developers can take care of this on your behalf.
Just like people need a place to live, so too does your website software, images, and pages need a hosting platform to exist and be accessible on the internet. There are many hosting platforms available online, but it’s difficult to discern the best option for your business in terms of cost, security, and performance.
Hosting: Managed Vs. Unmanaged
If you own a small to medium-sized business, the main decision you have to make about hosting is very straightforward – managed vs. unmanaged.
With unmanaged website hosting, you pay to use the server but have to take care of all other necessary software. The hosting company performs no extra services or management support – that’s your responsibility.
While this has advantages for business owners who know their way around website development, want to learn about server management, or whose business requires more unique software settings.
But most business owners just need peace of mind that their website’s foundations are being constantly monitored and optimised by a team of website developers. This is called managed hosting.
Hosting: What’s Involved In Managed Hosting?
With managed hosting, business owners receive multiple website maintenance benefits within one overarching service.
- Regular back-ups
Protecting your website data is critical, and the best way to do this is by storing and backing up your data on a server that is separate from your site. This means that in the unfortunate event of your website’s server being compromised, all your data is still safe and retrievable.
A managed hosting service will perform these back-ups automatically and regularly.
- Performance monitoring
Business owners want to keep track of how their website is performing – how fast it’s loading, how much traffic is coming through each day, and the resources it’s taken up.
But keeping track of performance metrics on your own is impossible when you’re running a business and unfamiliar with the technical aspects of website design. A managed website hosting service will send you straightforward updates on your website’s performance.
- Software updates
Outdated software doesn’t just put your website and visitors at risk, it also significantly impacts page load speed and user experience.
Rather than having to remember to regularly update your website’s software, a managed hosting service run by professional website developers will make sure all software updates are completed automatically.
- Customer service
While unmanaged hosting platforms might seem a lower cost option at first, business owners are ultimately left to handle their website alone. If you’re unfamiliar with website development, learning what’s required and staying on top of website hosting maintenance will take up your valuable time.
With a managed website hosting, website developers are available to provide personalised customer service, helpful advice and answer any questions you might have about your business’s website.
At Web-Sta, our fully managed website hosting service gives business owners peace of mind that their online presence is being protected and optimised around the clock. Read more about how our website developers offer high-quality website hosting.
On the surface, you might think that great web design means stylish colour schemes, high-res images, and bold fonts.
But any website developer will tell you that the most important feature of successful web design is responsiveness – how well it caters to your online visitors and offers a seamless experience, no matter what screen they’re viewing your business on.
With mobile searches taking over desktop searches, having a website that looks good on a smartphone is no longer an optional extra – it’s a standard that must be met to be taken seriously by customers and search engines.
When Google announced it’s algorithm update to prioritise mobile-friendliness, businesses around the world had to step up their web design game to be visible to potential customers on search engines.
That meant hiring a team of website developers to upgrade their website. Until recently, this meant designing two versions of one website: one for desktop users, and one for mobile.
Responsiveness: Mobile-Friendly vs. Fully Responsive
But innovations in website development, as well as the huge variety of screen types now used to surf the internet, have led to advancements in website optimisation. Unlike how mobile-friendly websites offer just two options for visitors, desktop or mobile, a fully responsive site can intuitively tailor one design to suit an infinite number of screen resolutions.
Investing in a fully responsive website offers a host of benefits to businesses:
- Saved costs
Where catering to mobile users often requires businesses to pay for the design of a second site, mobile responsive websites only require one investment. Instead of paying for twice the labour, business owners hire a team of developers to create one site with unlimited format capability.
- Greater flexibility
When you have just one website design to worry about, business owners and website developers only need to make changes to one site – and those changes will apply to every variation seen by customers.
- Enhanced user experience
User experience plays a critical role in attracting and keeping customers, and 39% of online users will click away from a website if it doesn’t load properly.
Responsive website design is an almost instant indicator that your business is highly professional and cares about its customers. By eliminating the need to zoom-in on links or scroll endlessly to find the content they’re looking for, your business will be rewarded for its hospitality with higher online traffic and greater customer loyalty.
4. Improved SEO
Because the majority of online searches come from smartphone users, and Google wants to show the most relevant and accessible results to its customers, investing in website responsiveness is a solid strategy to boost your business’s SEO efforts.
When looking for the perfect website developer for your business’s website, make sure you ask about website responsiveness. Another easy way to check that a website developer is up to standard is to check out their portfolio and make sure their past clients’ websites are accessible (and impressive) on multiple devices.
Our website developers create responsive and engaging websites for our clients. Check out Web-Sta’s portfolio here.
You wouldn’t run a business without calculating monthly overheads and revenue, right?
Keeping track of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is just as essential for website management as business management, and the two are connected.
By consistently monitoring the performance of your website, business owners gain insights into what’s working well, what isn’t doing so well, and new opportunities for success.
But learning to run website analytics is a hefty task for a business owner with no website development experience. With the support of a team of website developers who are invested in your business’s success, you’re able to not only get to grips with how your website’s doing – but also receive informed advice to make further improvements.
To keep track of your website’s performance, there are many performance KPIs to track. Different KPIs matter to different businesses, as well, so website analytics looks different for every business depending on what they want to achieve.
Analytics: Things To Keep An Eye On
To help you understand the importance of tracking website metrics with a team of professionals, we’ll break down the most important performance indicators to watch:
- Breakdown of user traffic by source
To understand how well your website attracts visitors, business owners need context into what pages spark interest, and where visitors are coming from.
For example, if you experience a surge in user traffic from Facebook, it’s safe to assume that your recent Facebook advertising campaign was successful.
Plus, if you’re disappointed with the low number of visits to your most recent blog post, the blog topic probably wasn’t very interesting for your target audience.
- Number of unique visitors
It can be scary to assess exactly how many people are going to your website, but it’s essential to understand just how big (or small) your current audience is before making any big strategy movies.
By keeping track of how many individuals are clicking into your page, website developers can provide more insight into your customer’s online behaviour, and help your form strategies to boost website traffic.
- Bounce rate
Bounce rate tracks how many people leave your site, and what page they leave from. This is the perfect way to spot gaps in your website design and website content, as a high number of bounces from one particular page shows that something isn’t resonating with your audience.
With insights into your website bounce rate, your website developers can respond with informed decisions to make your website more engaging and valuable for potential customers.
- Session duration
Knowing just how long someone has poured over your About page or your Services page says a lot about the success of your website. Longer session durations are a strong indicator that what you’re saying on your website is valuable (or entertaining) to online visitors.
An important thing to remember is that website traffic is about quality, not quantity. If your user traffic numbers are low, but your average session duration is five minutes, that’s an encouraging signal that your website is making an impact with your target audience.
If your website attracts 5,000 visitors and only seven people sign-up to your mailing list, that’s a much lower conversion rate than if your website brought 500 visitors and 50 people provided their details.
Calculating conversion rates are especially important for businesses who are looking to widen their audience and attract customers online. Low conversion rates indicate that your website’s design and your website’s content needs improving, and having website developers on-hand will ensure you’re proactively responding to each month’s results with an improved strategy.
5. Load Speed
Here’s a mind-blowing statistic – over 50% of visitors will leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load.
It doesn’t matter how much you’ve invested in your website’s design and content – if it takes forever to load, you’ll never reap the benefits for your business.
That’s why hiring a professional website developer is so important. By keeping on top of the latest developments in website design, high-quality designers will use their knowledge of backend development techniques to create a high-speed website for your business.
If you’re trying to manage your WordPress website without the help of website developers, there are several ways your website can become slow and put you at risk of losing customers:
- Outdated or ‘clunky’ themes
If your theme is out of date or overcomplicated, some desktop users and most mobile users will have a hard time loading and navigating your website.
A website designer will choose a stylish WordPress theme with page load speed in mind, making adjustments to speed up performance without compromising aesthetic appearance.
- Outdated plug-ins
Although plug-ins are a great way to enhance your website’s capability, having too many or allowing them to become outdated takes a massive toll on your website’s load speed.
With a website developer on-hand, your WordPress website will contain only the latest and most necessary plug-ins – plus, they’ll be immediately updated when required, or deleted when they’re no longer useful. When it comes to page load speed, it pays to have a professional on-hand to consistently optimise your site.
- Low-quality hosting service
If you’re using a budget hosting service, often the server is not optimised for page load speed, or you end up having to share your server with many other users and their websites.
With a fully managed hosting service provided by dedicated website developers, you can prioritise security and save costs without compromising on your website’s performance.
To help sustain superfast page load speeds, your website developers will conduct ongoing speed tests and diagnostics to monitor website performance and spot areas that could be optimised.
A CMS (content management system) might sound technical at first, but it’s a straightforward way to allow website owners to create, delete, and update the content on their website.
There are different kinds of CMS to suit different businesses, depending on their size, their content requirements, and the knowledge base of the people using the website. The purpose of a CMS is to separate the front-end of a website (the content, blogs, and visual layout), from the highly technical back-end (the HTML, CSS, and hosting).
This means that business owners can confidently add or adjust the content on their website without compromising its back-end integrity. Imagine uploading a blog and accidentally deleting all the code that a website developer worked so hard on!
With the support of a website developer, business owners can keep as much control as they like over their website’s content without having to worry about complicated and technical tasks.
At Web-Sta, we use WordPress to create all of our client’s websites. The beauty of WordPress is that it’s primarily a CMS platform, designed for businesses with a focus on content creation and blogging.
With that in mind, we help business owners learn how to use a CMS – but we can also take care of this side of things for you if you’d rather leave it to the professionals.
Building your business’s website is an important investment decision. By supporting business owners to understand even the technical aspects of website development, we want to make web design services more accessible for businesses looking to grow and succeed online.
Here at Web-Sta, we help local business owners with web design services that support their business goals. If you have any more questions about website development, call Karen today for a chat.
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