Website maintenance is often seen as just one more thing on that ever growing list of to-dos. We know we need a website to help market our company, but it’s often viewed as a one and done. “We have a website! Great! Now lets move on to the next thing.”
It can be tempting to think that once your website is up and running that it will largely take care of itself. Yet, like most investments (car, office, employee), there are certain things that need to be done to keep that investment working for you. Regular maintenance on a website keeps it up and running the way it should be, as well as protecting your site against those who would seek to do it harm.
What is Your Time Worth?
The question of time value is a valid question and relates directly to the idea of why website maintenance is so important. We’ve worked with dozens of clients that didn’t take the time to update or backup their websites only to have them go down or be exploited (read hacked) which forced them to take time away from areas they needed to focus on so they could research how to fix their website. Many times these situations could have been avoided by simply spending a little time updating their website.
What is the Value of Your Online Investment?
How much money have you dropped into getting your website to where it is today? Even if you didn’t hire a design studio and you took the time to do all the work yourself, what is the dollar value associated with that time? $5k? $10k? More? Generally, it’s not a small number. So, having to cope with website issues that most likely could be bypassed with a bit of prevention seems like a small price to pay. You’ve already made the investment (in dollars and time), maintaining the site doesn’t take all that much more effort. Let’s get down to brass tacks.
An Ounce of Prevention
You know that old adage that your granny used to say to you? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? Well, here are a few reasons why website maintenance is necessary and important as a preventative strategy:
The Value of Regular Website Updates
When you had your website initially built, your web designer may have told you of all the benefits you would receive from using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, etc. A CMS really is a great way for companies to easily create/manage pages, make changes, and/or edits to a site on an ongoing basis after it’s launched. A CMS does this by taking something that is a very complex system (the website itself) and wrapping it in a user interface that is as simple to use as Microsoft Word. That ease of use comes with a price, though.
A CMS is a complex piece of software, and as a result, it needs updates from time to time to keep it running the way it should. When these updates are skipped, it can cause problems.
A CMS is a complex piece of software, and as a result, it needs updates from time to time to keep it running the way it should. When these updates are skipped, it can cause problems. For instance, the site might seem glitchy or not act right until an update is installed. When your website and its CMS is not updated, that old software can cause problems in how the site operates and it might even provide an access point for hackers who are looking for a way to exploit a site.
The Protection that Comes From Whole Site Backups
Accidents happen, it’s true. Regardless of how much preparation goes into your site, problems can arise from time to time. A web server issue can damage files on your site or your site could be hacked and problem causing malicious code injected into your pages. There are a lot of things that can go wrong that are out of our control. That’s where regular backups come in handy. By doing, at the very least, a monthly (or weekly or daily) backup of the entire site you guarantee that you have a copy you can revert to should there be an issue.
In most cases, if your website is using CMS you might need a plug-in to help manage your backups. That is because aside from the files that make up your site, you also need to make a copy of the database that your site uses to store your page copy and images. A web designer can help you get that setup and teach you how to run it yourself or you can get that service as part of a monthly service package.
A Pound of Cure
That’s the prevention. Now, where’s the cure?
Regular Website Maintenance is Necessary
As you can see, regular website maintenance is something that every website owner should be working on—a necessary pursuit when safeguarding your investment.
Now we’re realists, and as such we understand that taking the time to learn how to do monthly maintenance and then diligently following a monthly schedule can be tough. It takes you away from working on your business, which many times means you’re losing money.
We asked the question, “What is your time worth?” earlier in this article. That question is essential to this topic for one very clear reason—your time IS valuable. We know this. Every minute you’re not focused on developing relationships or doing the work means things aren’t moving forward. Unfortunately, though, if you don’t work on maintaining your website, no one else is going to do it for you… or will they?
Many of the companies we work with on a monthly basis realize that their time is better spent on bringing clients in the door rather than navigating the learning curve of handling their own website maintenance. The cost in time when compared to what they might be paying for monthly website maintenance doesn’t balance. So, we offer an array of services designed to help businesses keep their sites working and problem free so these entrepreneurs can get back to what they do best.
Whether you engage an agency to help with site maintenance or you do it yourself, there are some basics that need to regularly happen in order to keep your site in proper working order. Updating software and regular backups will go a long way to protecting your investment.- - -