Remember when you bought your first shiny new car. It was your most prized possession. However to protect and keep it in perfect running order you had to take it in for regular maintenance. Just like your car, your website also needs regular maintenance and protection. Even after setting your website up you need to keep it secure with regular updates.
Why you might ask? Well keeping the software or code on your website updated helps to protect and keep it – and your website visitors – secure. Keeping the content on your website updated, and making sure there are no broken links or links that redirect to unrelated pages, keeps your customers engaged and helps to make sure they don’t get frustrated and go to your competitors’ better maintained website. Websites today are never really “complete”, they must constantly be updated with fresh content in order to engage and grow your audience.
Key Benefits of Website Maintenance
Most websites today – even though they are easy to edit – are complex software applications. Just like the operating system on your computer, they need to be kept up to date for security and performance reasons. In WordPress websites, this means regularly updating the core software as well as any plugins and themes (there is generally at least one official WordPress update every month). When doing so, always perform a backup first. That way, if there’s a hiccup, you can roll back to a working site version.
Most modern websites contain thousands of lines of code and depend on specific software that runs on your web hosting server. Hackers often discover vulnerabilities in code and will attempt to take advantage of this, trolling the Internet for sites that might be suitable candidates to be exploited. You can help prevent this by keeping your web hosting server’s software, and your website’s software updated with the latest patches and security releases. In the event that your website does get hacked (even with all the security measures in place, this is never an impossibility), you also need to remove the virus, clean up the website and restore the data. This includes contacting search engines and browsers that have blacklisted your website because of the virus. You can’t be 100% protected against viruses and ‘evil doers’, but you can be in a better position to speedily clean it up if it hacked if you have kept up with regular maintenance.
The content on your website should keep your readers coming back. No one wants to read the same content week after week or be looking at outdated information about an event that happened 3 months ago. If you’re not updating your website, you are essentially telling your potential customers that you are not paying attention to your business or you may even be giving them an impression that you may be going out of business.
The search engines prefer sites that are fast, error free, well maintained and most of all; they love to index fresh content. So, every time you update the website, you are giving the search engines new material with which to rank your site. You must ensure your website is regularly updated with material related to the subjects with which you want people to find your business.
Every site should be backed up regularly in case something happens and the site needs to be rebuilt or reinstated. There are two website elements that need backup:
Content (Text, images, videos, audios, etc.). At a minimum, you should backup everything once a quarter. (Note: If you host your website with us, its backed up every day).
CMS needs constant maintenance
We develop websites on WordPress. Keeping your WordPress theme and plugins current and maintained is absolutely vital to having a properly functioning website. All Content Management Systems (CMS) websites, like Joomla, Drupal, Magento – there are a lot of them – all need to be maintained on a monthly basis. Technology changes almost daily on the World Wide Web (www.) and on the internet. When you are not maintaining your WordPress site, it can – no, WILL – lead to problems.
Neglecting even the basics of website maintenance can lead to some of these problems:
- Longer page loading times
- Compromised security
- Decrease in user experience
- Page rankings suffering
- Just to name a FEW
An unmaintained CMS website, especially WordPress, can cause some major problems and will become harder to use.
Take Advantage of New Features
Website technology is evolving fast. In recent years, it has become increasingly important to have features on your site that integrate with social media because of how much traffic it can send your way. Online security is another area that’s fast-moving. You will need to invest in securing your site with an SSL certificate that will encrypt communications to assure customers their personal details are safe with you.
Hackers love non-maintained websites
“Why do I need website maintenance?” The most important reason, with a very close second for SEO, is hackers. An unmaintained website is an open playground for people who have nothing better to do than cause havoc by placing malware or a virus on your website. We have helped some clients with vicious hackers who have put malware on their website. Unfortunately, there are hacks that cannot be saved. If you are not keeping a backup of your data and maintaining your website, when a hacker attacks your website you might have to start from ground zero. Unfortunately, we have seen this too many times, and it has been costly for some clients.
To improve visitor experience
Your website is a public reflection of your corporate image. It will often be the first impression a potential new client has of your business, since people often research a company’s website and social media sites before taking further action. As an extension of your business, it’s important that your website meets the viewer’s expectations!
A poorly functioning website is a major problem for your brand and the image you want to project to potential new clients, as well as your existing clients and customers. Routinely examine the look and feel of your website and update it to match your corporate image. Here is what needs to be monitored:
Page speed and broken links. This includes excessive site downtime, slow-loading pages and broken links. Through regular website maintenance, you can correct subtle changes in these areas before they become drastic.
Page not found errors (404 errors). A 404 error is returned when a browser or search engine goes looking for a page and is unable to find it. It presents a poor user experience.
Poor grammar and spelling mistakes. These should be corrected preferably before a customer brings them to your attention.
Reach Every Client
At the very beginning of web design, the only devices users were viewing your website on were chunky desktop computers. Then laptops came out. Mobile browsing changed everything and usability on various screen sizes suddenly became a high priority. Many users visit sites with tablets as well. With each new advance in technology, web designs face a new hurdle. Website maintenance gives your business online visibility that will endure new changes in the web.
You may not have considered it, but paying an affordable monthly rate for website maintenance can save you a lot of money in the long run. What if your website is hacked, or if something else goes wrong and your website goes offline? This not only makes you and your company look bad but it could also be costly to fix. It’s a much better approach to be proactive in doing all of your normal website maintenance / updates.
We’ve given you some great reasons on why to have a professional web design firm handle your updates/maintenance. It keeps your website safe from attacks, running smoothly, offering your clients an optimal browsing experience and, ultimately, saves you money!
Trying to handle your own website maintenance is like trying to fix your own car. Sure, some people are equipped to do it, but most people are better off leaving it to professionals. After all – the success of your website AND your business rides heavily on your website being a valuable source of information. Don’t let it slip by the wayside. We offer a full range of business website support services, including content updates, website maintenance, technical support and business website hosting. If you’re interested in a maintenance contract for your web site, contact us to learn how you can have professionals keep your site in proper working order.