You know how ever so often Facebook will modify or add something to its interface? Well, Facebook is not alone here. I mean, remember the time Gizmodo and sister sites Gawker, Lifehacker, etc. changed their layouts to pretty much the same thing but in different colours? It caused a riot. Google changes as well, although at a visibly slower pace (but things are all steamy in the backend and in the labs). Website development is continuous. You don’t design a page, throw-in some content and leave the site like that for the rest of its life or yours. That’s not the way it should work.
If you want to build a personal website or a small project and you have a very limited budget, then do not spend on anything that is not relevant to the development of your website. Do as much research as possible and do as much as possible yourself if you have to. This is why we learn most as students; because most of us don’t have the capital at the time to get someone to develop our ideas; so we have no choice but to develop them ourselves. So if you’re an adult and you want to start an ecommerce website but you don’t have a lot of funds to start with, read as much as you can online and study material related to online businesses, and websites.
Do not worry about the look of the site yet. Keep it as simple as possible, and besides, minimalist is in and all trendy (e.g. Google; they got their design right the first time, and so did Facebook in their choice of theme+logo). A great idea goes a long way. That said, the best thing about keeping it simple is how easy the transformations become; you can change things and only half of the people ever really notices. Read: the many changes of Google’s logo over the years; most of us barely recognize the changes…it’s only when we look back that we really see how many changes there were.
Today, many websites are built using softwares that require constant updates; we find a bug, we have to fix it. Someone comes up with a new feature, we need to have it. So a web design trend does exist and because of this, we need ensure that our websites move with times. And the more complicated the website; the more changes there are to make…and if you do not know how to make these changes or even part of them, then the more you will have to pay for its development.
Of all the sites I’ve made for myself and for others, I feel mine is always the simplest. For example, if I create a blog I will either use a minimalist theme (sort of what I’m using right now), or the default theme. I also only install relevant start-worthy extensions (e.g. SEO, sitemap, etc.). I’m not saying that other extensions are not necessary but there’s still a lot of time to make additions in the future. Here in Seychelles for example, I know some companies who charge per added extension. So if you are an impulse-buyer addict, you will want everything on your website before you even need them…and if your website idea is commercial, you might end up losing a lot of money if you lack planning. After all, the focus is to gather followers. So a lot of time should be spent on analyzing your website visitors and finding out what their reaction is to anything and everything on your website. That way, you will get a better idea of how to change things in the right direction, for the benefit of your visitors.
The reason why I felt the need to compose this short blog post is because I meet too many people who want everything on their website all at once. They are also convinced that there is an endpoint. The answer is no. Development is going to keep on happening. If you feel your site is completed, give it a month or two (or heck, just a week or two) and you’re going to find something else you might want to add or change. So the best thing to do is to just calm down, keep it simple and get right to content and visitor analysis.