I've lost track of the times I've seen posts for design trends in 2017. What's really missing is information for businesses about the changing internet and what they need to do to keep up.
Sometime last year, the spectre of HTTPS reared its ugly head. In an attempt to make sure that every site is safe, Google started listing sites as more relevant if they contained a security certificate.
Most people didn't bother with this. After all the certificates cost money and if you're not running a shop, the end user doesn't seem to benefit at all.
In SEO terms, though, having that certificate was a must, even if it gave you a tiny boost over your competitors.
Now, in 2017, you have a new thing available. It's called Let's Encrypt and it's a free, automated, and open Certificate Authority, meaning you can secure your site for much less.
Personally, I think that this is the point where you should be thinking of getting this encryption. You won't be able to do it yourself, most of the time, but your web designer can point you in the right direction.
Over the last few years, the way hosting has changed has meant that better, faster services are available and the chances are neither you (or your web designer) has thought much about them.
Hosting solutions like Digital Ocean are becoming more popular now and offer massive speed increases over traditional hosting. Their platforms, which are truly cloud-based and load balanced (don't worry, you don't need to know what that means) are like having your own little, dedicated server space.
It's a more expensive option than you might be on at the moment but you can still run a WordPress site with a fair amount of traffic for under £10 a month.
But that brings us to another thing you should be changing
I'm sure we're all used to having some sort of webmail available with our hosting. If you go the digital ocean route, you'll want to abandon that and get some cloud-based email hosting. There are many options, from Office 365 to Zoho (which offers a free starter account). You can even link these services up to your desktop and mobile devices and get your mail from anywhere.
So, what I'm really suggesting here is efficiency. It's time to move beyond the idea that you have a website and that's good enough. On today's internet, it's not.
If you've not thought about security for your websites, now is the time to do it. We are seeing more and more attacks from hackers, especially on WordPress sites because they are currently popular.
Now, you don't have to panic if this happens. You haven't been targeted, rather the platform has come under attack, as a whole, by bots that have sniffed out your use of WordPress.
In fact, one report said that bots make up more internet traffic than humans do. Quite shocking when you think about it.
This is why I would suggest a three-pronged attack for dealing with hackers.
As well as that, I would advise you to install as few plugins as possible for your site.
If you need advice, why not join the facebook group "Ask The WordPress Wizards", and, of course, your web designer should be able to help you with all of this.
A lot of very important things have happened in web design over the last two years. They have, for the most part, been very technical and if your business isn't connected with I.T. in some way, they will probably have passed you by.
This year is an important one as all of these new innovations are likely to change again and you need to be slightly ahead of the curve at the moment. It's tough to keep up. Even the web guys are having problems with it, so don't feel overwhelmed if you are too.
My advice, speak to your web designer TODAY about what you can do to secure your website's security and stability for TOMORROW!
Happy New Year!