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WordPress Updates — The Pitfalls

WordPress updates and website maintenanceSo here’s a a great example of why auto­mating updates in WordPress is only smart for non-business web­sites. As I write this, one of the WP plugins pub­lished by Facebook just released an update with invalid code.

Not just a bug — code so wrong that it crashes sites. Code that wouldn’t have passed basic testing.

I’m sure “Facebook for WooCommerce” will be fixed promptly. However, over 900,000 online shops use it. If they were all running auto­matic updates, almost a million shops would be offline right now.

Other WordPress Update Problems

This comes on top of the GADWP fiasco earlier this year, too. In that, ExactMetrics changed the nature of their popular plugin without warning, through an “update”.

Version 6 of the “Google Analytics Dashboard for WP” plugin was “redesigned from the ground up”.… Read the rest 

Why Cheap Web Designers Often Disappear

Cheap web designer disappearingSo here’s some­thing I left out of my “Why Website Prices Vary” post because it can be a touchy subject. So first, let me say that most web designers I know are superb, tal­ented people who only want to help. That said, the exper­i­enced ones are rarely cheap web designers.

Still, I have just spoken to yet another dis­tressed small business owner. His cheap web designer had left him in the lurch with a broken website and no access to fix it.

Other business owners had told him this was “typical” of “flaky” designers. They all just assumed the worst of our entire industry. Even web designers rarely discuss it, just pointing out that you get what you pay for. Still, it is pre­dictable and avoidable.… Read the rest 

Why Do Website Prices Vary So Much?

Small busi­nesses often want simple, affordable web design packages. That’s fine, we can do that — but then some call pro­fes­sional web design “expensive” and “over­com­plicated”. So why do website prices vary so much?

Because web design can mean several very dif­ferent things.

Business web­sites serve a wide range of pur­poses. Some of those pur­poses are common, others less so. So there are at least three levels of web design to consider.

Affordable Web Design Packages

Common require­ments can some­times be stand­ardised, and pro­cesses stream­lined, to keep costs down. However, flex­ib­ility creates com­plexity, so in practice, “stream­lining pro­cesses” always means “restricting choices”.

For some people, and some pur­poses, that makes little dif­ference — and cash flow is often a bigger concern for small busi­nesses.… Read the rest 

Ten Common Website Design Mistakes

Web design is like cooking — it may look easy, but it’s easy to get wrong. No microwave can make you a chef. Similarly, DIY website builders let you make costly mis­takes. So Base22 kindly provided this infographic of ten common website design mis­takes, and I’ve added a few more points below.

Ten Common Website Design Mistakes

Whilst DIY web design often makes these mis­takes, so do inex­per­i­enced web designers. That’s why exper­i­enced pro­fes­sional web design is a better business investment, even in affordable web design packages.

Poor User Experience

Whilst user exper­ience is also affected by most of the points below, visual design plays a big part too. It’s not just a matter of making things look pretty, either.… Read the rest 

The Hidden Costs of DIY Web Design

DIY web design has hidden costsYou may not expect a pro­fes­sional web designer to say this, but DIY web design does have its place. However, when building business web­sites, the hidden costs of DIY web design are far higher than most people think.

As a small business owner, it can be tempting to ignore these costs. They will still affect you, though — and can easily cost you more than engaging a pro­fes­sional web designer. So con­sider them care­fully before falling for the hype about DIY web design systems.

When To Consider DIY Web Design

If you don’t aim to make money from your website, any money spent on it is pure cost. So then it’s wise to min­imise that cost, and doing so has little impact.

However, the situ­ation for any kind of com­mercial site is com­pletely dif­ferent.… Read the rest