3 Mistakes to Avoid When Developing a Website

May 19, 2023

Building and maintaining a website is an exciting but extremely challenging endeavor that requires careful planning, execution, and testing. Since there are so many nuances at play, a developer must be alert to common mistakes and pitfalls, but more importantly — how to avoid them.

No matter whether you’re performing the development work yourself or have hired a third party, we cannot overemphasize the importance of avoiding these three significant mistakes during the web development process.

Mistake 1: Developing on a live website:

In simple terms, developing on a live site means making changes to a website’s code while the site is readily accessible to the general public. This approach can be disastrous because any error or inaccuracy made can be seen by a user, and can ultimately lead to a loss of trust and credibility if something goes wrong. Since web development is an ongoing process, it’s common to have to edit code or perform updates. But, when it comes to a major change such as installing a new plugin, making layout changes, or even instituting functionality changes, developers should create a staging environment where they can make these changes without compromising the integrity of a live website. A staging environment allows developers to implement changes and more importantly, test on desktop and mobile, to ensure it’s ready for the end user once it goes live.

Mistake 2: Avoid slow serves with inadequate resources

If a server is slow to respond, it can affect the entire development timeline, which in turn leads to reduced productivity. Slow servers can also cause troubleshooting tests and QA exercises to run longer, which can result in a delay in identifying and fixing bugs. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that your server is optimized and capable of handling the workload required for efficient development.

A survey conducted by Stack Overflow noted that 31.6% of developers find slow performance or unreliable servers to be the top challenges they face when developing. Additionally, 25.6% of developers said that server downtime or slow performance has negatively impacted their ability to meet project deadlines.

The survey also found that developers work on average 2.9 hours per week troubleshooting server-related issues. To combat this, companies must invest in server infrastructure and performance optimization to support their site build, ultimately ensuring that developers can work on the project efficiently.

Mistake 3: Ineffective use of plugins

Plugins are an alluring solution in the world of web development. In a plugin-centric CMS like WordPress, a developer can typically install them with a few clicks and a little configuration.

They can add new features and capabilities to a website, such as forms, social media integration, e-commerce functionality, and more.

There’s a downside though, and it’s that plugins don’t always work out the way you think they will (or realistically want them to). They run into compatibility issues with your CMS version, your theme, your server settings, and even other plugins. The more plugins a developer uses, the greater the risk of encountering incompatibilities, unusual behavior, appearance, and security risks, and may even render your website inaccessible.

To avoid this mistake, developers should carefully research and evaluate any plugins they’re considering using on a web project. Technical knowledge and expertise are needed to understand how plugins will interact with the CMS, the costs associated, update frequency, and even reviews from other users. When non-developers install and manage plugins, conflicts, security vulnerabilities, and performance problems could arise.

Avoiding these common pitfalls is crucial for the success of a website. That’s why it’s usually your best option to hire a skilled developer with years of experience and education who can identify and prevent these mistakes from occurring. With their knowledge and expertise, they can ensure that the site is built and launched smoothly without encountering these, or any other major issues.

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