The majority of business owners understand the importance of having a website, but often they simply get a site built, launch it, and never look at it again, ignoring website maintenance and optimisation entirely. But if your website isn’t regularly maintained or optimised, chances are you’re losing valuable clients or customers which is going to impact your business sales.
I’ll put my hand up here, some of this is our fault, as professional web developers & digital marketers, we have not been doing a great job of educating you our clients about what needs to be done, or what we do each month in the background since your site went live.
Websites are no longer a set and forget part of your business. As technology evolves, website software is constantly being updated to make it more secure, faster and more visible to search engines. Just like Windows/Microsoft Office and your iPhone/Andriod apps need updating regularly, so too does your website. More importantly though, your website is a crucial part of your business and therefore requires extra care to make sure it continues to perform it’s functions.
Today, with rapid changing technologies, website maintenance is essential for all businesses and all websites, regardless of size or business sector. It doesn’t matter if your business is a non-profit, if you sell handcrafted items through an online store, offer professional services in a “bricks and mortar” location, or provide a subscription or membership style service that allows user to create accounts.
Here are our top 4 reasons why regular website care & maintenance is important for your business.
Security is the number one reason why website maintenance is important – and the primary problem that often makes news headlines. Whether your business uses WordPress (which we love, at Weave Digital Studio, and recommend) or a similar content management system (CMS), it’s important to make sure that you are always running the most up-to-date versions. This ensures that WordPress’ latest bug fixes and security patches are installed on your site. Sure, some hackers want to go for a “big hit” and steal tens of thousands of credit card numbers or passwords, but most don’t. In fact, lots of hacks occur where malware or a Trojan Horse is uploaded to your website through a back door. This causes problems not just for you, but potentially for every person who visits your business’ website as well. How do hackers get in? They exploit the weaknesses in the website’s outdated software and security patches. Just like a thief will look for an unlocked door or an ineffective security system, hackers actively seek out old websites because they are easier targets.
We can’t say it enough times, making sure your website is maintained with an eye for security has never been more important.
WordPress plugins which add certain functionality to your site are created by third parties which have multiple authors, and are consistently updated to newer versions to comply with the latest version of WordPress, or to address security issues and bugs. It is not guaranteed that the mandated updates to WordPress will not break the website, nor that plugins will continue to function if not updated.
If your website’s theme and files are old and outdated, they may not display properly on new versions of web browsers and mobile devices.
What we do at Weave…
If we built your site you already have a responsive, mobile and tablet friendly site.
In addition to making sure your website keeps displaying correctly, we make sure the user experience is fresh, exciting and relevant.
Each month we will check all the installed plugins and server software making sure the latest version are in place and functioning as they should.
You will drive traffic to your website and improve your search rankings when you add new content.
Part of routine website maintenance is making sure that content is correct and up-to-date.
The more you update your website, the more search engines will raise your rankings. Conversely, search engines will reduce your rankings if your site is infrequently updated and they may even remove your website from its search results if they suspect it has been infected with malware.
Additionally, some search engines like Google are starting to selectively show search results based on the type of device a person is searching from.
Regular website updates are a cornerstone of any viable SEO strategy.
One of the primary tasks of website maintenance is backing up all of your website’s files.
Backing up your files is important because the last thing you want to have happen is to lose all of your website’s information. If this were to happen (due to a natural disaster or malware attack, for example) you would need to re-build your entire website from square one – and that would cost significant time and money. If your business’ website is a simple, informational one, backing up monthly is probably sufficient. However, if your website has more dynamic components such as an online store, or content and images that are constantly changing, then backing up more frequently may be critical.
“Just like your car, it costs more to fix it than it does to maintain it properly. Regular oil changes help keep your car running properly, regular site care and maintenance helps keeps your website running properly.”
Having a good web developer update and maintain your site is something everyone should not only seriously consider, but DO!
Our purpose here is to make sure your site is always live, ready for customers and presenting your business at its finest.
At Weave we take regular backups of your full site. Store off-site in the cloud we can quickly restore the site.
We each month we test all server updates, WordPress updates and plugin updates on your site, then optimise the content for these updates.
Our software keeps a record of the plugins we update so if there is ever an issue we see what plugin version was changed and revert back.
In order to save money, some people want to update and maintain their own site. Yes, it’s done but no it doesn’t always save you money. Maintaining your site yourself could cost you more than you may think. If the client just updates from their WordPress admin, Weave wouldn’t have that record. We update client’s site once a month so we can take the time to devote to checking their website thoroughly (either the 15th or the 30th). Also included on our monthly maintenance report are the performance and security scans. If in the event we ever catch a plugin issue, it becomes a support ticket and we address it before you, our client ever knows there is a problem. We also take care about which plugins we are updating and single out large updates (like WooCommerce) as its own task for additional quality control.
If you don’t have a web site care plan or maintenance contract, you may actually be throwing money out the window by not providing proper maintenance to your site. When you go to a web site and find things wrong with it do you stick around? I don’t, I move on, fins a competitor. If your site is the one I just left because it wasn’t working properly or designed well, you’ve lost a potential customer.
Inexperience and neglect can damage the look and functionality of your web site. When that happens, you have a choice to make. Either you can leave it as is, and try and fix it yourself, in which case you may do further damage. Or … you can then pay the (sometimes hefty) price for someone experienced to fix it. Just like your car, it costs more to fix it than it does to maintain it properly. Regular oil changes help keep your car running properly, regular site maintenance helps keeps your web site running properly.
Your business is yours – you know what’s best for it. You know your product, we know ours. Why not deal with what you know best and let us deal with what we know best? Would you try to do to court without a lawyer? Then why try to maintain your own web site if you’re not a professional web developer?
By securing an experienced developer to update and maintain your site properly you are actually saving money in lost sales and visitors. You’ve no doubt heard the old cliche “you have to spend money to make money” and this is so true when it comes to your web site. Your goal is to impress your visitors, get them to come back and if you have products to purchase, you want them to buy from you. Well, you can either keep your site updated and properly maintained or if you prefer to not do this, you can simply give your business to your competitors.
Hopefully this article has shed some light on what is needed to be done each month to keep your website functioning.
When you invest in a Weave Care & Maintenance Plan along with your website hosting you greatly reduce the risk of having to pay out even larger sums to fix serious problems that could have been prevented.
Because we now live and work in a digital world, websites becomes the “face” of your brand or company. When you commit to a monthly care plan, you’re investing in the best possible customer experience, while providing a safe and secure environment for business transactions. Your website will attract less of what you don’t want (hackers, bots, malware…) and more of what you do want – quality customers, strong search rankings, and improved performance.
Read more about our Website Care + Hosting Plans
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