It’s Time to Update Your Website!

Technology is changing. Rapidly.

In the last few weeks, mobile service providers have announced the imminent rollout of the 5G network. Phone manufacturers are planning 5G-ready devices by the end of the year.  AT&T has been given the green light to offer the first Internet-of-Things device which will effectively turn any car manufactured after 1996 into a connected car. Connected homes.  Internet service providers doubling as media/content creators. Automation. Artificial intelligence. Wearables. Connected voice. Everything.

Remember back in the day when it took a few solid minutes for one web page to load?  When the household phone had to be left off the hook overnight just so ONE SONG could download? When being able to send a grainy, low-resolution image as a text message felt like the greatest technological breakthrough since air conditioning? Then instantly, as if by magic, full-length HD movies were streaming on millions of handheld mobile screens all over the world.

The websites of yesteryear were the fruit of IT specialist labor. Back in the days of technological antiquity, pages of programming code — which were the website’s design and functional infrastructure — were the essential knowledge blocks needed in order to build out a website.

Then a point in time came when design aesthetic took precedence over programming code. While IT specialists continued to develop and maintain the website’s programming infrastructure, graphic designers took the lead in creating the site’s front-end appearance. In less than a decade, the ease and cost of building and launching a website led to an explosion in web designers. With programmers optimizing back-end functionality and designers creating endless catalogs of templates, online do-it-yourself website-building services surged in popularity.

Today, services such as Wix and Weebly offer incredibly inexpensive solutions for those who just want a basic web presence. And the ease of these platforms cannot be understated. Do-it-yourself website builders are geared towards business owners, bloggers, freelancers, service providers who have little-to-no programming or graphic design knowledge.  Simply drag and drop images, add some text and publish.

More advanced alternatives allow for deeper customization such as the ability to access and tweak server-side coding or create custom HTML scripts. These services, known as Content Management Systems (CMS), have been widely popular for brands and organizations small to large, local to international. CMS’s like WordPress and Concrete5 do require some familiarity with design and coding but are still relatively user-friendly enough for a novice to handle with some Google and YouTube crash courses.

The swift evolution in website design has led to a point where almost anyone can now claim themselves a web designer. From “some guy who works in my dad’s office” to small digital agency startups, there is no shortage of designers who take advantage of the ease and affordability of Wix or Concrete5-esque platforms and then offer their web design services to businesses.

The web designer bubble eventually expanded to include traditional media companies offering websites-as-a-service. When these companies finally accepted the stark reality that their survival lay in the digital frontier, executives rushed (honestly, kind of late to the party) to have their retail sales teams start selling digital services, including websites. Of course, these decisions weren’t based on the best advertising interests of their clients but rather exclusively because consumer behaviors had radically changed. AM/FM radio is falling on deaf ears, cable television screens are returning to white noise and newspapers may as well be tumbleweeds bumbling along a deserted dirt road.

Technology is changing. Rapidly.

In the near future, the very nature of the website is likely to undergo a transformation more revolutionary than the pinch-and-zoom touchscreen. As technology veers ever faster towards artificial intelligence, automation and cohesive connected devices, individuals and agencies who sell digital products such as websites-as-a-service may find themselves providing their business-owning customers with outdated and inefficient tools.

The point of this all is simple: brands and businesses need experts who have their ears to the ground, who are peering out on the horizon from the eagle’s nest. Experts prepared for the technologies to come, positioned to provide data-driven solutions.  Soon, those who simply sell services will find themselves lost in an unfamiliar technological frontier leading their customers into that unknown wilderness. While those who develop and deliver solutions will be navigating the digital terrain of the future with ease.

The time to consult with the experts is now.

Adam Mahan is a contributor to the ThriveFuel blog. Adam has 15 years of experience in digital telecommunications and media, working with Fortune 500 companies as well as digital marketing agency start-ups.