As with any industry – things change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. In an industry as big and diverse as the web design/development industry, change is inevitable and occurs rather frequently.
I’m writing this post on May 20, 2016, and here are a few examples of what’s changed in my first 5 years in this biz:
A few years ago, the concept of and coding for responsive design (designing and developing websites so that they adjust to different sized devices) didn’t even exist. Now most people frown upon a website that doesn’t look amazing on mobile devices. Google frowns…and I do, too!
When I first started in this industry, there were 27,000 plugins available on wordpress.org (and those were just the free ones). Today, there are over 43,000!
Some plugins I previously installed on sites are now outdated and should be replaced with better, premium plugins that I have now invested in for the benefit of my company and my clients’ companies.
The web hosting company that I have been using and have sworn by (in other words, I recommended to all of my clients) for the past 5 years has been bought out by another company, and their service level and products have become sub-par and even considered among the worst. This is unfortunate news for me…and especially for my clients. However, it’s the nature of this business and this huge industry. No one can control what happens to a [third party] vendor. Products change, and companies change. Sometimes you have to make a switch (and go through the hassle of making that switch) if it means that your company (and specifically, your website and email) will perform better and deliver a better product/service to your clients.
For example, when I used to contact BlueHost for support for my website or any of my clients’ sites, the hold time on live chat or phone was never more than 5 minutes. Now, the hold time is never less than 30 minutes. Additionally, the tech support folks were always kind, helpful, and never “salesy.” Now, they are still helpful, but every single call ends in a sales pitch of some sort. Talk about frustrating! My site was also NEVER down, and lately, my site is down for a few minutes every single day! This is what this cheap type of hosting has come to, and I don’t want that for my own company and especially for my clients’ companies.
I always thought/heard that using the email accounts that came with web hosting was the way to go. However, I’ve now learned that it’s actually best to keep your email separate from your web hosting. Why? Because if your web host’s server goes down, your email goes down with it. Furthermore, while I haven’t experienced server issues per se, I have experienced a lot of weird issues that my web host wasn’t able to help we with (i.e. good emails going to spam, email suddenly just not working for no reason and having to be reconfigured, etc.). I have since made the switch to using Google Apps for my email, which keeps my email separate from my web host. This also means that if I choose to switch web hosts, my email will stay intact, and it’s one less thing I have to worry about (or migrate over) when switching web hosts.
I have used great security and backup products on all of my sites and my clients’ sites for years, but it is time to step up my game. Instead of being the designer, developer, AND tech support for all of my clients, I am partnering with a team of technical experts who offer a much better process, skillset, and set of products for backups, security and updates. This ensures that my sites are being very well taken care of, and I am then able to be of better service to my clients when it comes to the design and development of their website(s).
My job is not to insulate my clients from reality. My job is to inform you of the best solutions for your website and email and help you determine how to go about about picking the right and best solutions for your needs and your budget. As a business owner, and especially as someone who also has a website and email accounts, I also deal with the exact same changes in my business that I am informing you about.
So there you have it…and that’s just as of today. The industry is changing daily, so I know there will be even more good, bad, and ugly coming our way. But let’s hope it’s more good than the two latter types of changes.
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