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When creating a new website for your business, building a scalable website and making design choices that will support your organization’s future growth is one of the most effective ways to set yourself up for success. At New Theory, we have been fortunate to work with some of our clients for years and through multiple versions of their website. We have seen first-hand the benefits of planning for how a site will be used years in the future.

We have also observed that a common challenge faced by many of our new clients is that their existing website is no longer capable of supporting their business’s evolving needs. Technology, design, or other limiting factors in the way their website was initially built often makes it challenging to implement the necessary changes without having to start from scratch. In this article we will share 5 simple strategies gleaned from our experience.  Each will help you design a new website that can support your business today and in the future.

1. Choose the Right Platform

The foundation of building a scalable website literally lies in selecting the right platform. While there are numerous options available, some stand out for their ability to accommodate small to mid-sized businesses. WordPress, Shopify, and Adobe Commerce (Formerly Magento) are three popular choices.  They each offer the flexibility and functionality needed to support growth.

WordPress, a content management system (CMS), powers over 40% of all websites on the internet. Its extensive library of plugins and themes makes it highly customizable, allowing you to add features and functionality as your business expands. It’s popularity also ensures a vibrant community of developers and agencies to support your site long into the future.

Shopify is a dedicated e-commerce platform that offers a range of built-in tools for managing products, payments, and shipping. Its all-in-one user-friendly interface, robust app ecosystem, and well-funded parent company make it an excellent choice for businesses looking to scale their online store.

For more complex e-commerce needs, Adobe Commerce is a strong option. It offers advanced features like multi-store functionality, extensive product attributes, and a highly customizable architecture with integrations with other software tools. While it may require more technical expertise to set up and maintain, its scalability makes it a popular choice for mid- to large-sized businesses.

2. Leverage Scalable Third-Party Tools

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Rather than try to create a feature from scratch, a third-party tool may be able to do it better. By integrating scalable third-party tools from the start, you can offload this development work. Klaviyo, Yotpo, Searchanise, and Elasticsearch are just a few examples of tools that, in exchange for a fee, can provide a service maintained by a dedicated team.

Klaviyo is an email marketing platform that allows you to create targeted campaigns based on customer behavior and preferences. As your subscriber list grows, Klaviyo’s segmentation and automation features can help you deliver personalized content at scale. Yotpo, a customer review and user-generated content platform, can help you build social proof and enhance your website’s credibility as your business expands. New Theory is a preferred vendor for both.

For businesses with large product catalogs, Searchanise and Elasticsearch can improve your website’s search functionality. These tools use advanced algorithms to deliver fast and accurate search results, even as your product offerings grow. By implementing these tools early on, you can ensure that your website’s search experience remains top-notch, regardless of its size.

3. Use a Website Hosting Plan That Can Scale

Your website’s hosting plays a critical role in its performance and scalability. Choosing a hosting provider that can accommodate your website’s growth is key to avoiding costly downtime and ensuring a snappy page load. For WordPress websites, WP Engine and Kinsta are two popular options that offer scalable hosting plans. New Theory is a preferred agency with WP Engine.

Both WP Engine (affiliate link) and Kinsta provide managed WordPress hosting, which means they handle server administration, backups, and performance optimization for you. Their plans start at around $35 per month and can be easily upgraded as your traffic and resource needs increase. This allows you to scale your hosting without requiring a significant IT investment or technical expertise, or be forced to move to a different host down the line.

For Magento websites, Cloudways and Adobe Commerce are two reliable hosting options. Cloudways offers managed Magento hosting on top of cloud providers like AWS and Google Cloud, allowing you to tap into their scalable infrastructure. Adobe Commerce, formerly known as Magento Commerce Cloud, is a fully-managed hosting solution that combines Magento’s functionality with Adobe’s cloud infrastructure and support.

Shopify, being a hosted platform, takes care of the hosting for you. As your business grows, you can upgrade your Shopify plan to access more features and resources without worrying about server management or scalability.

4. Design with Expansion in Mind

When building a scalable website, it’s essential to think ahead and create a layout that can accommodate future growth. This means avoiding design elements that limit your ability to add new content or features down the line.

One common mistake to avoid is creating navigation menus that can only fit a handful of options. As your website grows, you may need to add new pages or categories, and a limited menu can quickly become a hindrance. Instead, opt for a flexible menu structure that allows for easy expansion, such as drop-down menus or mega menus.

Similarly, avoid creating page layouts that are too rigid or purpose-built. While a highly specialized design may work well for your current needs, it can be challenging to adapt if your business takes a different direction in the future. Instead, choose layouts that are modular and can be easily rearranged or repurposed as needed.

By designing with scalability in mind, you can make it easier to make changes to your website so it can evolve alongside your business without requiring a complete overhaul.

5. Implement Systems for Managing Large-Scale Content

For e-commerce websites or those with a significant amount of content, having systems in place to manage that content is essential. As your product catalog or content library grows, manually managing each item becomes increasingly time-consuming and error-prone. This also becomes even more difficult when you expand to other channels, such as POS or Amazon.

To streamline this process, consider implementing a product information management (PIM) system or a content management system (CMS) early on. A PIM allows you to centralize your product data, including descriptions, specifications, and pricing. This makes it easier to manage and update your product catalog at scale. A CMS provides a structured way to organize and publish your website’s content, ensuring consistency and ease of management.

By putting these systems in place early, you can lay the foundation for a scalable content management process. This will save you time and resources as your website grows.

Taking Next Steps

Building a scalable website for  your business requires careful planning and the right tools. By selecting a flexible platform, leveraging scalable third-party tools, choosing a host that can grow with you, designing with expansion in mind, and implementing systems for managing large-scale content, you can create a website that is ready to grow with you. 

Ready to build a scalable website that grows with your business? Contact the New Theory team to learn how our scalable web solutions can support your business.

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