To keep a website functioning as efficiently as possible with minimum downtime, it requires regular maintenance.
Like your car, if you don’t keep it topped up with fuel, change the oil regularly, and replace the tyres when they come to the end of their life, sooner or later it will breakdown. And the chances are that when it does, you’ll not only be without it while it’s being fixed, but you’ll also be left with a hefty repair bill that could have been avoided had you regularly given it the attention it deserved.
Over the years we’ve seen first-hand the pitfalls of skimping on website maintenance – from embarrassing hacks, to total disaster when hardware has failed without a backup. This can not only cost your business financially, it can also seriously harm the reputation of your brand.
In this post we’ll help you understand what website maintenance entails and why you should have a plan in place to minimise the risks to your business of a website failure.
Websites Need to Evolve
Following a successful website launch, it’s all too easy for your attention to turn elsewhere once it’s happily ticking over – after all, you have a business to run.
But the web moves fast, and if you don’t pay attention your website will get left by the wayside. Technologies improve, software gets patched, marketing trends change…and you need to make sure you move with the times.
A professional maintenance plan put in place through an experienced web team will make sure your website keeps moving in the right direction with the minimum effort from you.
But What Could Go Wrong?
If you run a car for long enough without maintaining it, it will break down. It’s not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’. The same holds true for your website. Here are a few things to consider:
To the untrained eye, a website might seem like a mystical entity that lives in the cloud somewhere. However, under the hood there’ll be hundreds, quite possibly thousands, of lines of code that all work together to provide your visitor with the experience you want them to have. But it’s also quite likely that amongst all that code they’ll be a few bugs and security holes just waiting to be found. And if one of those holes gets found by some unscrupulous individual that wants to exploit your website for their own gains, it could be disastrous for your business. You could compare it to neglecting to lock your car – you’ll make it easier for an opportunist thief to take advantage.
You’ll no doubt be aware of recent high-profile website attacks – well, regular maintenance ensures that bugs are fixed and security holes patched as soon as they are discovered, helping protect you from disaster rather than increasing the chances of it happening.
Speed is key to a superior user experience, and on top of this, the major search engines, like Google, use loading time as part of their ranking factors. A slow website is frustrating for your visitors and can lead to significant abandonment issues. Keeping your website updated to take advantage of the latest technologies will ensure it continues to run as quickly as possible. Think of it as upgrading your car with a K&N air filter and straight-through exhaust system, and running it on super-unleaded.
The constant evolution of the web means that we often don’t appreciate the improvements that are made, but to use our car analogy again, if you took a 1980’s Ford Fiesta for a spin today you’d realise how far technology has come. The same is true for web browsers, hardware interfaces (from mice to touch screens), and the way new generations take things for granted.
If you don’t constantly improve your website then people will start to find it difficult to use. A classic example of this is trying to use a non-mobile-friendly website on a tiny phone screen – you’ll soon give up and abandon it for a competitor that has already optimised theirs for mobile visitors.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
It’s an age-old adage but it still rings true even in the digital world. Instead of being reactive to problems and forking out the (often hefty) price to fix things when they go wrong, continuous maintenance helps prevent certain situations from occurring in the first place.
With a dedicated support agreement in place, there’s no wasted admin time going back and forth with your web team generating and approving quotes – they can simply get the work done as and when it’s required, leaving you safe in the knowledge that your website is less likely to suddenly break down on you.
A professional web agency has extensive digital knowledge and will be fully up-to-speed with the latest threats, technologies, and standards. If you want the best for your website, the best thing you can do is find a reliable professional to work with. Trying to save a few quid and taking the DIY approach will most-likely cause you a headache in the long run – and besides, surely your valuable time is much better spent focusing on other areas of your business?
If you would like to discuss a maintenance contract for your website, drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.