Don’t personalize your website too much… for now

Your website should look different to others to stand out from the crowd, but personalizing it too much can lead to several problems in the future.

Making websites in the past used to be way simpler

A few years ago, there were only so many screen sizes. Mostly desktop.

There were technologies like Flash that allowed people too much freedom to animate and include interactive elements.

Websites started to be heavy and didn’t consider accessibility seriously.

When technologies like Flash got sunsetted due to mobile usage rising, websites had to be recreated from scratch.

Only websites built with HTML and CSS remained for a longer time.

Sure, those websites looked fantastic, but many times, search engines couldn’t even read them correctly, auto-translate them, or serve them in a compressed way.

The intro with loading used to be fancy the first time you visited the website, but the skip button was a savior on subsequent visits.

And those kinds of websites were not always easy for their owners to update. There was too much dependency on web admins.

There are safe ways to personalize a website

Don’t add too much code

Adding code unleashes all the possibilities of a website. The bad thing is that it will make your updates depend on someone who knows how to code.

If, for some reason, the code stops working, you will need to learn how to debug or pay for an expert.

If your website needs a personalized solution to update content, this can be coded so that it’s easy for you to edit. Just take care that this customization will require maintenance.

Use the user interface of your website’s builder

My favorite example is the WordPress Site Editor. While it lets you add custom CSS to customize your content blocks further, this option is purposely hard to find. The real power of the Site Editor relies on understanding the layers of customization.

For example, if you want to customize all the aspects of a block, make your changes in Global Styles so that they will inherit the personalization every time you insert it.

If you want to customize a specific block you inserted but only that block, you can use the sidebar to override the Global Styles. So that you know, these changes must be reverted individually to redesign your website.

This customization is saved in the database. WordPress generates the corresponding CSS optimally, so you don’t have to worry a lot about maintaining code and take advantage of performance upgrades applied to WordPress.

Don’t add too much plugins

Ask yourself if you need a lot of sliders and animations for your website to work well.

One solid hero message can work better than a slider that no one will see if it takes too long to load.

If your website starts to look like a circus, it’s too much.

Could you look at the demo of the theme you will use? Does it make sense like that? Can your images be improved? Is the text you are using too much? Is it elegant?

Actual content is king. How you present it is super important, but you won’t need to make it spin in 3D for most websites.

There will always be more ways to stand out

Change your theme to the latest one

If you use WordPress as your website builder, you will notice the community is committed to delivering features on every release.

Consider activating the latest default theme if you want a fresh look and the latest trends applied to your website. It will include accessibility features, new full-page patterns to apply with one click, new blocks, and so on, for free.

If you are worried about breaking your site, consider a hosting plan with a staging environment to do tests.

Define new fonts and colors

The design layer can change your website drastically. One advantage of not personalizing your website too much is that you can take advantage of the Style combinations proposed by the theme you use with one click as a starting point that works.

For example, the theme Twenty Twenty-Four comes with style variations that combine colors, fonts, and their respective sizes. If you adjust one of them to your branding guidelines, I am sure you will get a decent, fresh look that will work well on different devices.

I hope this helps you personalize your website, but please remember that what you do and how you do it will impact your work in the future.

Please get in touch with me with questions about web hosting, WordPress, and websites.

Jos Velasco.

CC0 licensed photo by developerjustin from the WordPress Photo Directory.

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