If you are like most entrepreneurs, you probably breathed a sigh of relief the day your website launched. Whew. That is one less task on your to-do list.
However, in terms of maintaining your WordPress website, it can also mean certain necessary updates may get overlooked or even left undone.
In this post, learn about how your WordPress website should change now that it is the year 2017.
One of the most obvious - and thus the most easily overlooked - changes that every website owner should be making right now is to update your website's footer and copyright date.
For example, right now your website footer probably reads "© 2016." So you need to change it to read "© 2017."
It seems like such a simple change, so why even bother? The reason is as simple as the change itself: an updated copyright lets web visitors (who could be potential clients) know that your business is still alive and well.
If you could only choose to make one change (apart from Change 1 here) in 2017, this one should be the change you make.
This is because your website loading time is directly correlated to the number of visitors your website will retain.
"Really?," you might be thinking. "Like, can't they just wait a bit for the site to load?"
The truth is, as this New York Times article points out, today's website visitors can't wait. Or, more accurately, they won't wait.
If your site loads just a fraction of a second slower than your competitor's site, your web traffic will naturally begin to divert itself to your competitor instead.
Here are some simple helps that can potentially improve your WordPress website page load times:
- First, test your site using a site speed test tool.
- Next, make note of any load speed issues cited (scroll down to see results).
- Be sure you are running the latest version of WordPress on your site.
- Optimize your website images for fast loading (larger images take longer to load).
- Switch to a recently released website theme that is lightweight and quick.
If you just launched your website last year, it may already be friendly to both small and large screen devices. But if you launched three or five or 10 years ago, there is a chance your website is not coded to cater to small screen users.
This can be a death knell for any competitive advantage your company might hope to gain with online visitors.
Every year, the percentage of people who access the internet primarily from larger screen laptops or desktops declines, to be replaced by access via small screen devices. In 2017, the projection is that a full 34% of all internet users will browse online only via their small screen (tablet, phone) devices.
So that is a full 34% of your potential market that you are simply not reaching if your website is not friendly to mobile devices.
As a WordPress website owner, it is usually relatively simple to ensure your site is fully functional and friendly to large and small screens alike:
- First, be sure you have installed the latest version of the WordPress software.
- Next, verify that you are using a mobile-friendly WordPress theme.
- If your theme is not mobile-friendly, you will need to choose a new theme that will auto-detect the user's screen size and then auto-adjust the display for that screen size.
Here, it is important to note that while it may feel tempting to try to install a plug-in that promises to optimize your current theme for small screen devices, this will only serve as a band-aid into the near future, and may not adequately handle all translation issues or optimize for page load times on different screen sizes. So for best results, take the time to make a switch to a responsive mobile-friendly theme instead.
Finally, one of the biggest changes in 2017 is to do more with less. Some website designers are calling this "minimalist web design," and the nickname makes sense.
Along with minimalist website design, you should also take note of the following:
- More images, less text.
- Vivid colors are back in vogue.
- Long-form scrolling replaces jumping from page to page.
- No more hamburger menus (those three little bars you have to hunt for).
- Push notifications are the new email list group signups.
- Videos, text, chat and (soon!) virtual reality.
Clearly, 2017 has quite a lot to offer in terms of website updates and upgrades that will make the user experience faster, easier and more focused. This is good news for your business online, provided that you make sure your website is up to the challenge of attracting new online visitors and engaging them via your website content!