So you just launched your brand new website. Congratulations!
If you’re not regularly updating your site with relevant, engaging content, your SEO score is taking a hit. Not sure what SEO is? Read this.
But that’s not where we’re going to place the focus today. No. Instead, let’s talk about maintenance. Maintenance? We talkin’ ‘bout maintenance?
Yeah, we are.
Maintenance? You mean, I have to maintain this thing? Why?
When it comes to websites, there is far more than what initially meets the eye.
Think of it like a car, or a house. Or heck, your health… Any large investment you make in life. You don’t just simply “let it ride.” You have to engage with its needs – be it daily, monthly, or annually. If you’re not in tune to a periodic “tune-up,” things may start to get wonky. And wonky is bad. If you wait too long that state of wonky might be entering the realm of unfixable return. Nothing you invest in should be cast aside and ignored, let unattended to collect dust and rust to a state of inopportune use. Right? Right.
Given where we’re at in the age of web development, most sites are built on a CMS (Content Management System) platform. Some obvious ones you may have heard of are WordPress, and Drupal. Being built on this platform allows you to fairly easily manage the working pieces and parts of your web presence. Are you writing a blog? Great! You can easily upload it and seamlessly integrate complimenting imagery, video, audio, etc. You can categorize how you’re storing things on your site in your CMS tool, which is shelved neatly in a database environment.
So who needs maintenance?
The better question is, “who doesn’t?”
The answer is simple: Everyone.
We live in a digital world where things become obsolete daily, and new options/upgrades are available by the minute. Blink and there’s something else to figure out… It’s impossible for any sane human being to be “up” on all of it, so it’s important you plot how you’re going to manage the routine maintenance your website desperately needs.
What is this maintenance you speak of?
Here’s a start:
- Security – Is the name of the game… Monitoring security and ensuring full recovery is quite a monumental task. It’s also very vital. You’re at war with an unforeseen force that stops at no end to steal sensitive data that may be contained within your site, or insert malicious scripts and code that can be used as spam and get your site pulled offline. So, you either need an employee who understands and knows how to proactively combat these breaches, or you need someone to do it for you. Hiring a professional ensures your own peace-of-mind in knowing your site is being kept safe, and, if anything were to happen you’ll have the right resource to step in and provide the solution you need to make sure things remain uncompromised and operation continues on smoothly.
- Updates – Any CMS platform you’re on will introduce major updates a couple of times a year, while minor updates roll out as needed (and are generally pretty frequent). While these updates will be available to you, it’s up to your team to actually implement them. There are also updates for themes and plugins, which are much less predictable. Many of these plugins have vital security updates that have optimized their codebase to speed up your site and more succinctly secure your CMS. The longer you wait to initiate these updates, the more “out-of-date” your plugins become, leading to issues, if not immediately, surely down the road... In short, you’re not monitoring the existence of these updates, they’ll never happen. And that’s just not smart.
- Backups – Hey, you’re site just went down. Or, hey, your intern just crashed the whole site while navigating the backend code of the site. What’s your plan? Don’t have one? Whoops. Your site should have a backup plan in place, because, it will inevitably need to be accessed and acted upon at some point. A site with lots of content updates might want a database backup once a day (at minimum) and a full backup weekly. Sites with fewer updates might not need backups as frequently, but should still have regularly scheduled, full-site backup that is stored off-site in the event of a catastrophic experience.
- Tracking and reporting – Generating a stats report isn’t very difficult. But it can be a whole mess of gibberish and endless analytical bits of nothing if you don’t know how to harness the power of “what’s inside,” and put it to use. This information provides answers to what’s working and what isn’t with regard to the operative functionality of your website. If you’re not making things easier and more engaging, you’re going to lose your audience. And if (and when) that happens, you lose.