The year 2020 has changed the world, and for businesses and everything else, 2021 is supposed to be the year of recovery. Now that businesses have fully embraced going digital, web developers will have their plates full. The number of web development companies will also rise to meet the demand, not to mention that the competition will be fierce; everybody has to step up their game.
But it’s inevitable that you, as a web developer, will face problems in web development. Whether you’re an entrepreneur who dabbles in web development, a hotshot web developer employed by a company or agency, a web dev ronin, or an eager amateur, you’ll be face-to-face with issues that needed to be resolved.
What’s In Store For Web Developers
For SMEs (small to medium enterprises) and entrepreneurs who don’t have their own team of developers, SEO experts, designers, and other IT pros, maintaining and operating their websites will be a challenge.
Problems will inevitably crop up and web developers should be aware of these issues, especially the larger ones that’ll severely impact a site’s performance. If you’re a developer, you should know what these are, so you and your team will know what to look out for and hopefully avoid.
Below is a list of what these problems might be:
A site’s loading speed is crucial to a website’s success. Most users will simply click that X button if your site takes longer than three seconds to load. This will drastically affect your traffic rates, not to mention conversion rates. A negative experience on your site will be equated with your brand.
To solve this, you have to know which issues affect a site’s loading speed. One of the most common causes is unoptimized images. Your images’ file size shouldn’t exceed 1 MB, so you’d have to compress larger-sized images. PNG is great for images with line drawings and texts, but for everything else, use JPEG.
Not only will unoptimized images slow down your loading speed, but they’ll cost you money due to bandwidth overage. There are free tools you can use to check for site and page speed, such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights. You can find the causes of slow page load by using tools like these and also how to address them.
Unoptimized for Mobile Devices
Another issue that could affect a site’s performance is if it isn’t optimized for mobile devices. More than half of all internet traffic is through mobile devices, so there really isn’t any reason not to optimize your site for them. According to Google, a mobile webpage, on average, takes around 15 seconds to fully load.
Considering that the bounce rate goes up exponentially for each second that the load is delayed for more than three seconds, that average isn’t good. To optimize, you’d have to identify first what’s slowing you down, which means using tools. If you’re still using two versions for your site (one for mobile and another for desktop), you may want to reconsider that.
Most websites today use the more dynamic responsive web design (RWD) instead. With RWD, your website automatically adapts to any screen–laptops, desktops, tablets, or smartphones. It’s a design approach that makes the website’s display adjust to fit any screen that’s accessing it.
Bugs and Errors
These issues could result from adding new themes and plug-ins, database or server errors, updates, and others. Bugs can make a user’s experience annoying, plus they can really damage not only your site but your business, too. So, you’d have to address these errors quickly.
Some of the bugs and errors that you’d have to watch out for are usually unresponsive links, compatibility issues, conflicting plug-ins, syntax errors, and others.
Developers can troubleshoot the site and look for any bugs, because, as the saying goes, ‘you can’t beat what you can’t catch.’ That’s why you should have an issue tracker in your toolbox for tracking and resolving bugs. You can use it to list all the current bugs, rank and record them, and then communicate their status to the users or support staff.
It’s important for the IT staff to have a policy of ‘all bugs must be logged.’ Reports that were just verbally communicated are easily forgotten. With a bugs’ record, you can track them all. You’ll also have an idea of what bugs are the most common on your site. That way, you can prepare for them and not fall into the same traps over again.
With the growing sophistication of cybercriminals, security threats are one of the problems web developers will face this year. Business leaders, 68% of them, feel that risks involving network security are rising. And they’re not wrong; last year, 37 billion records were exposed as a result of data breaches. It’s up to the developers to step up their security efforts.
Comprehensive web security should be established to protect a site and its customers. It should include not only antivirus, but also spam filters, and a full suite of protection against malware, DDoS attacks, and data breaches. Moreover, the site should have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, which is one of the most important security elements. With an SSL certificate, the connection between the user and the site’s server is protected.
Incidentally, Google also includes SSL certificates in its site rankings in search results. Keep in mind that hardware and silicon-level security breaches occurred to 63% of companies, so you should also prepare to address that, too. An SSL, however, is just a part of your overall site protection. There are many more threats that you should protect against, like SQL injections, brute force, inclusion exploits, and others.
Applying updates would greatly help the site’s security, although you should do it judiciously, as some updates are rolled out hastily with not enough debugging and testing period. You could also run regular backups of the site and its content. If anything happens, you can restore the website to an earlier safe point.
The events of the previous year forced businesses to fully commit to their digital presence. The year 2021 is largely viewed as the year for businesses to bounce back, so web developers would be kept busy. Some of the problems that you’ll face will be nothing that you hadn’t encountered before, but it’s useful to go over them to avoid making the same mistakes.
Sometimes, we need to step back and formulate a process on how to deal with problems that’ll likely crop up. Having an overall strategy to deal with common problems will save you a lot of headaches in the future.