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Blog: article

How to avoid a Titanic website disaster

02 2012

by Nigel Harding

As we approach the 100 year anniversary for the Titanic disaster, and with the greatest of respect to all of those who suffered losses as a result of this disaster, I have collected a few thoughts on the sorts of website disasters we ought to avoid.

In the aftermath of the Titanic disaster, there was a huge investigation into the White Star Company’s safety strategy and procedures. In that case, the loss of life was shocking and truly tragic. We are lucky that a disastrous website would not constitute a risk to life although it might threaten your livelihood if it is not fit for purpose. Here on some thoughts on things you should watch out for.

1. Safety & security.

Do keep an up-to-date backup copy of your website. Hosting companies can be attacked by viruses or hackers so don’t rely on their storage alone. If your website uses some sort of database system as part of a Content Management System (e.g. WordPress, Joomla) then ensure that you have a database dump as well as the website files. If you use WordPress then be aware that this platform is particularly susceptible to attacks and you may need to update your installation (and plugins) often to reduce security risks. If in doubt about backups, check with your website designer to check on backup policy and obligations.

2. Use harmonising, complimentary colours. Avoid colour clashes

If the colours are clashing and garish or, at the other extreme, too bland, then your visitor will lose interest in your website, it’s content and your messages. Don’t let your website be a colour disaster!

3. Don’t be too cheap

I know that everyone has to be budget conscious in the current economic climate but I would plead with you to not let your sister’s boyfriend or the IT guy you used to work with put together your website as an evening project. The quality of your website will be the product of a graphic designer’s skill and a website developer who is aware of latest technologies and latest browser compatibility issues. Remember that your website represents your business in every way. If your website looks shoddy or performs inconsistently then that will be how your business will be perceived.

4. Your website can’t be found by internet searches

Having a nice looking website up on the internet is one thing but getting visitors to visit it is quite another. If your goal is to attract visitors to your website then your website should be optimised to maximise its appeal to the search engines. This involves understanding your target audience, understanding which keyword searches they are likely to make and then optimising your site to maximise your chances of being found for those keyword searches. I do recommend talking to an SEO expert.

So keep watching for those hidden icebergs and good luck with your websites!