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Things That Can Go Wrong

Things That Can Go WrongUnfortunately for us all, web design is a business with considerable scope for problems. You'd be alarmed to hear of the sheer number of things that can go wrong; even after you've completed your website to the highest of standards. Here we will take a look at some of those problems and how you can address the possibility of facing them in the future.

At the top of the agenda, we're confronted with the issue of website security. How can we make our web pages secure?

The first thing to ask ourselves is how can a webpage become insecure in the first place? Depending on the nature of a website, the issue of data protection may rank as one of the most important considerations throughout your business plan.

If you're supplying a service where consumers trust you with their private details, it's absolutely vital that you do everything in your power to respect the confidentiality of their transactions. This isn't an optional requirement, you should be aware that failing to appreciate the data protections requirements can lead to severe fines and a damaged reputation that won't be healing anytime soon.

Of course, you might be designing your website with total honesty and no intention whatsoever of exploiting user privacy. But that's not to say that third party hackers would be so courteous. To provide a service to a web audience, you need to take personal responsibility to ensure that your website is as secure as possible.

Make sure that your web database, if you're using one, is protected and sufficient user privileges are employed. You should change your master password regularly for any FTP client or administration login which allows access to the back-end of your site.

Security considerations should be pondered right the way back to the coding phase of your website. Make sure that you use sufficient user authentication and that your entire website has undergone a thorough examination before you release it for retail use.

Your carefully constructed HTML pages are liable to become corrupted, especially if you use dynamic web design. With the increased concern of hacking and malicious users, always keep regular backups of your core files and databases. A mySQL or Access database can be somewhat large to download, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

One of the most common hindrances to web design is often out of your hands completely. Most designers have experienced the painstaking frustration of a lousy server that spends more time down than it does hosting a site. When you seek out a host for your website, be sure to research in to the potential companies.

You don't want server downtime to force your web users elsewhere. Free hosting is available on a widespread basis, but the benefits of paid servers are obvious. There are some great providers of cheap web hosting if you keep your eyes peeled. GoDaddy offers an incredible amount of space and a free domain with most of their orders, which is obviously a plus.

You should also be aware of revolving technology standards when you design your site. Don't use beta-phase technologies until a full public release is available. The last thing you want to do is code your website in a brand new programming language, only to discover later that the release contains bugs and your website isn't quite as accessible as you'd originally hoped.

Stick to stable programming languages and consult the w3 Consortium website for the latest upgrades to code specifications. It may seem like a hassle at first, but the rewards of using supported technology far outweigh the extra hours of converting your site across.

If you have a website which relies on lots of external links to provide a service to the users, make sure that you check them on a regular basis!

External links can become defunct, or be moved at any given time. If you're going to link to external content, have the courtesy of ensuring that the links are directing to the right places. This means testing your website every couple of weeks and correcting expired links where necessary.

Finally, we move on to one of the hardest problems that you'll face as a web developer. How can we prevent user activity from drying up over time?

The lifetime of a website, in most cases, is extremely short. Rapidly improving technology, along with static content, make it incredibly hard to sustain a website over a significant amount of time. This problem is accentuated if you have no interactive features to lure a user back. Community forums from vBulletin or Invision Power can be put to great use to retain user activity; but they're not always appropriate for the theme of a website.

If you're stuck with static content, try to stay up to date with your website theme. Don't be under the assumption that a web design is a design for life. Most successful websites are constantly being tweaked with fresh touches added to the interface.

If you find that your user activity is drying up, be prepared to act and overhaul your website. Whether it's with several pages of added content, or a complete redesign, you'll need to do something to give your site a fresh appeal.

It would be foolish to believe that a web design today will be good enough for tomorrow. As web developers, we must appreciate the constantly evolving technology. Appreciate that you'll have to stay in touch with the art of web design, if you want your site to remain in touch with its audience. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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