Have a professional review your website for accessibility and ADA compliance. Your website should provide good color contrast for readability, be navigable by keyboard, offer text-based alternatives on images, and much more. Only a human can determine if your website is truly accessible.
Good website performance isn’t a “feature” in 2020 -- it’s a baseline requirement. A simple goal to strive for is a 90+ score in Google’s PageSpeed Insights, but tools like WebPageTest provide more technical insight into how the page is loading and how it can be optimized. It’s not just the file size of what’s loading, it’s also the sequence in which it loads.
- Manage Your Content.
WordPress is a foundation for a staggering one-third of websites on the web, and as a Content Management System (CMS), it does its job of content management well. In 2020, the new Gutenberg page editor gained greater traction and we anticipate new advancements in WordPress in 2021. Become comfortable and familiar with WordPress -- it's your site, after all.
- Build for Browser Compatibility.
Modern web browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Edge present web code reliably, but older browsers lag behind. There is a fine balance to achieve between using the latest and greatest web tech and leaning on tried-and-true coding techniques that work on the widest range of browsers - even the old ones. While Internet Explorer 11 is being actively phased out, we must continue testing websites in it.
- Know Your Editor.
Mastering your code editor - that is, making use of its shortcuts, creating code snippets, and knowing where to go to change specific settings - is an underrated aspect of development work. We recommend a popular, powerful editor like Microsoft's Visual Studio Code. It's feature-rich, well documented, extensible and dev-friendly.
- Mobile-first Development.
Mobile dominates Google rankings and traffic. Make mobile just as or even more important than desktop.
Get exact copies of any page on your website for yourself and users via PaperStreets newest PDF library that provides flexibility to meet the design needs of any page.
- Proposal Generator.
Build fully custom proposals on the fly in WordPress.
Security on your website is key with nefarious bots and traffic at an all-time high. Rest easy by letting PaperStreet handle the security for your website and server via our hosting platform.
- SSL Certificates.
Google made these mandatory when using Chrome by flagging your website as “Not Secure.”
- PHP Version.
If the site you are running is a PHP site, it is essential that you are on a supported version - https://www.php.net/supported-versions.php . As of October 2019, your site should be on PHP 7.2 or 7.3.
Build a set of coding standards that are used by your entire development team. Collaboration is a big step of web development and it is important that your team is on the same page when it comes to certain standards. Industry standard is to be PSR compliant (https://www.php-fig.org/psr/)
- Code Commenting.
Odds are that you will most likely not remember the code you wrote a few months prior. Leave docblocks for large sections of codes that accomplish a goal. You don’t need to comment every line in a function; rather, create a docblock with a brief overview of what the function does.
- Password Storing.
If you need to store passwords, do NOT encrypt them. Encryption can always be unencrypted, meaning it is not secure. Hash your passwords. For PHP, use the built-in password_hash function to hash, and password_verify function to verify the hashed password.
- Version Control.
Use Git to keep track of changes to your project and “push” after every key feature is implemented. Should anything go wrong, you have a full history of your project and can restore each checkpoint if necessary.
- Staging Environment.
Use a staging environment or local host when making edits to prevent errors/issues being created or a live site going down momentarily.
- Clear Cache.
It is important to always clear the WordPress cache after any updates have been made to content or development. Anytime the client accesses their site, they should see the most updated version.
- Compress Images.
Before uploading an image to a site, make sure to compress it. This will not only save server space, but it will also help to improve loading speeds.
If using a theme for your website, make sure it is one that is well written and light. They can quickly get overwhelming if not managed properly.
- Simple is Better.
Don’t get too complicated with a solution to a problem or an idea, otherwise, it makes it that much more difficult to troubleshoot or add to it in the future.
Have clear and attainable expectations whenever building a site. Doing so can help prevent mix-ups or inconsistencies.