5 ways to make sure your website technology doesn’t let you down

Is your web technology helping or hindering your website?Over the years I’ve worked on a large number of web projects, and one thing that they have all had in common is the need for technology that works.

If the technology behind your website doesn’t work, then in all likelihood, your content won’t work either.  The technology that drives your website is the glue that holds the many parts of it together – the words, overall message, look and feel, navigation – and is what helps each part of your website to fulfil its role.

How to make your web technology work for you

Here are 5 ways to check your technology and make sure it’s doing all it should to support your website, and give your customers the kind of web experience that you’d like them to remember for all the right reasons.

1) Research, research, research

Before launching head-long into commissioning new technology, ask yourself whether what you have in mind is right for you and your business and whether you need it.  Once you are clear on this point, carry out detailed research into what is available, and pick the product that is right for you.

Remember you can always upgrade at a later date as part of your ongoing web content strategy.

2) Keep it simple

I’ve lost count of the number of websites that have used so many bells and whistles that I’ve either lost interest or the will to live.  Don’t drag your website down by using complicated technology that serves only to keep your customers at bay.

Check how user-friendly the technology is before you use it, and always test it out and a mixed group of customers for feedback before you make it live on your website.

3) Make it easy to find

You’ve invested time and energy in a nice bit of functionality that is useful, works wonders and (your customer testing tells you) is user-friendly with a capital U.

Don’t undo the good work by hiding links to it in your content or in obscure areas of your site where no-one will be able to find it.  Show it off – by making sure it is easy to find and clearly visible on the page.

4) Test, test and test again

Just because the product blurb says it works, or because it worked when you first tested it, it doesn’t mean it will be glitch-free forever.  Rather than be overtaken by events (swamped with complaints or cause the mass exodus of prospective customers from your website), make time to be a ‘mystery shopper’ on your own website.

Test your website functionality thoroughly and regularly – and act on the findings.

5) Keep it current

Keeping your functionality current means keeping it up to date.  Web technology – just like any other technology – is regularly updated with new releases.  These releases are designed to enhance or add new features and iron out any wrinkles or performance issues.

Upgrading to new, stable releases of your chosen technology will help your website to run more smoothly, and perform better.

Post written by DEBBIE THOMAS on 9 June 2011.