Congratulation to your new website. Owning a website comes with responsibilities. Like your car your website needs regular maintenance in order to stay successful. Regular updates will help your site run smoothly and not frustrate any of your visitors because it does not work properly and/or has broken links. Furthermore websites are subjects of being hacked and keeping your site up-do date will help prevent these unwelcomed intrusions.
Why are websites vulnerable? Well, your website lives in an environment that is constantly changing. Surely you are aware of the constant updates from Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, etc. Your website has to keep up with all these activities and therefore requires constant supervision.
Website maintenance is often seen as a chore, however it is extremely important. Most web platforms, without any extra care tend to become slow, error prone and unreliable. Furthermore, a poorly maintained site can become a liability. Can you afford your site being infected by a virus? How would this impact your business? So in short, websites are not unlike your other programs and platforms which introduce constantly new versions, fixes, features, etc. that you should be aware of.
Not updating your site might make you a target of all sort of potential problems. Proper housekeeping habits are less expensive in the long run. For example, if you don’t give your car regular oil changes the engine will burn out. Websites are very similar in this regards.
Chances are your website/blog is a WordPress site. WordPress is a theme based online, open source website creation tool. It is one of the easiest website content management system (or CMS) in existence today. Open source means that hundreds of people all over the world are constantly working on it to make it better. That being the case, there are constantly new features introduced that include updates, security patches, fixes etc.
In addition, your website is driven by all kinds of plugins. Plugins are bits of software that expand the functionality of your WordPress page. You can almost think of them as the apps of your WordPress website. Plugins need to be updated in order to stay on top of their game. They are a very important part in making sure your site function the way you want.
So what are the responsibilities of the different parties involved with a site?
- It is the web designer’s duty to provide you with a working, bug free and professional website product upon completion.
- It is the hosting company’s duty to ensure the hosting environment is running updated software, applying security patches and taking regular recovery backups of your website.
- It is up to the website owner (you) to make sure the website is receiving regular attention and maintenance.
What falls under website Maintenance?
Before doing any updating of in your site you need to make sure you have a proper backup. Don’t rely on the recovery update from the hosting company since this may be missing some your latest additions. Also, depending on the type and size of the site some website owners prefer to have a duplicate of the website on another server. As mentioned before websites need to be constantly monitored to make sure nothing breaks and everything is properly functioning so your visitor, will have a pleasant experience and gets the information he/she came to find.
After you backed up your site the following may need to be updated:
Plugins: Plugins need constant attention. Choosing the wrong plugin can slow down your site, introduce viruses and cause all sorts of problems. So special care needs to be given to these bits of software to make sure no problems occur.
Themes: WordPress is a theme based platform and themes often need to keep up with updates as well.
WordPress Version: In many cases WordPress will update to the newest version after a while. This insures the security and stability of the program. However once the WordPress Version updates your themes and plugins will follow suit.
and don’t forget about the following …
Content: You want to keep your site fresh so it is a good idea to keep content up-to date. Ideally your visitors will be coming back for more information. Make your site dynamic and interesting by adding a blog.
Comments: Comments need to be monitored. There may be some statements you would like to share with the world and others that just need to be deleted in order to “keep the house clean”.
Website maintenance is a necessary piece of your online experience. Either you do it yourself or have your web professional make sure your website is up to speed.
So there you have it. A website is not a final product that can be forgotten. Content, technology, security patches, backups should constantly be updated so your site is a successful asset to your marketing plan. After all most likely you have spent some time and money for it to be the best site it can be.
Overwhelmed? Contact us and we can customize the perfect maintenance plan for your site.