Many web developers will say to their potential clients that their website is the virtual face of their business. And it certainly is, but it’s much more than that.
When it comes to online marketing, it is your website that does the heavy lifting. It’s your most essential asset and it’s important to look after that asset and Website Maintenance is one of the key success factors of any business.
There’s no doubt that any business owner knows the importance of having a website, after all the majority of business is now done via websites, not just as a direct selling tool such as with an ecommerce website, but also as an inquiry tool, a virtual signpost. So they take the first step, they build a website, they even set some expectations, they want to be on the first page of Google.
Who doesn’t want to be on the first page of Google? Everyone builds a website because they want more business.
But then… they completely forget that the website exists. 6 months, a year later:
- They realize they haven’t really got any results out of it – There is a saying: You get out what you put in.
- Worse… they might actually discover that their contact form wasn’t even working properly, or something else that was preventing their customers from contacting them or purchasing their products.
- Or even worse than that, they might realize that their website was hacked – So all the effort they’ve put in building the website, the investment they made, it’s all gone. A hacked website could look great but it could be secretly recording every move a site visitor makes, it could be infecting their device with a virus.
Put yourself in the (potential) customer’s position:
- You go to a physical shop, a store, and its products are all over the place. Website equivalent: messy website, perhaps not working properly on mobiles, it’s hard to find what you’re looking for. Finally, you managed to find what you’re looking for but now you can’t find anyone to serve you, or perhaps there is a long queue.. – Websites loading slow – According to stats, at least 50% of website visitors leave if a website takes more than 4 seconds to load.
- It’s your turn in the queue, but then there is an issue with the card machine, so you can’t pay. – Imagine how many customers you could be losing if your Contact Form or Shopping Cart doesn’t work properly. When was the last time you checked it? Do you even know what to look for?
- In order for a website to bring you results, it needs to look and perform at its best, for your visitors, right? For that to happen, regular website maintenance is required, making sure that every single component of your website is working 100%.
- And should any issues come up, you know you have a maintenance system in place, ready to handle any problems relatively quickly, so you can get back to business.
So let’s dive in deeper and look at some key elements, as to why website maintenance is important, and what should you be doing.
Website security is on-going
The first and most important aspect of not carrying out regular website maintenance is security. This is a big one.
WordPress is the most popular CMS / Website Platform out there and there are lots of benefits that come with it. However, being popular also attracts a lot of attention.
The same reason why Windows has a lot more viruses created to exploit it than for MacOs or Linux.
The vast majority of WordPress websites get hacked due to outdated software, this can be any software even on the hosting company’s servers. Basically, exactly what we’ve mentioned earlier in this article, people who build a website, and never touch it again.
Also, according to WebARX, 98% of WordPress websites are vulnerable due to 3rd party plugins. So it’s not the WordPress itself that is at fault, it’s the nature of how WordPress was built to work, the platform itself, plus different plugins giving you different features and functionality. And those different plugins are built by different companies, sometimes a single person.
So what does that mean?
Don’t install every single plugin out there. Keep it to the bare minimum, just what you need. The less, the better. And always go with tried and tested plugins from reputable programmers. Good reviews are essential and the more the merrier. Also, look at the update log; how often does the plugin get updated, when was the last time it was, is the developer active on feedback forums.
So the main takeaway is – try to keep up with the website updates. As part of the website maintenance routine, you should check your website regularly, and if there are any updates, those orange warnings, don’t ignore them, do the updates, because the security of your website depends on it.
Your website is a reflection of the quality of your business
Another major point to note; the quality of your website could have a negative impact on your business.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover”, is often over-used, but the reality is that websites are subject to a high level of snap judgments that would affect someone’s perception of credibility. In a world where decision-making can occur in a matter of seconds, it is important that you do everything possible to make sure that it’s the right decision.
Simply put; if your website doesn’t look modern, professional, some might question the quality of the service you’re offering.
Let’s say we have the best phone in the world, would you pre-order it, or buy it, if the website you would need to go to place the order doesn’t look professional? Of course not, because you wouldn’t trust us, so this, in fact, would damage my credibility and drive away customers.
Not checking your website on a regular basis, and performing regular maintenance tasks, might cause some issues that you wouldn’t even be aware of, but your customer would. And that could cost you business.
For that reason, you want to make sure you present your business at it’s finest through your website.
The first rule of User Experience web development is that it’s important to understand that even though we think we’re building a website for a business, we’re not. We’re building a website for customers so that they can find the information they need as easily as possible, and make it easier for them to get in touch with us, or buy our product/service. That in a nutshell is what user experience is about.
It’s important to follow the latest web design trends, this is because your customers are navigating hundreds of websites and they expect certain elements to be in certain places on a page, they know that 3 horizontal bars are a menu.
Stats show that more than ¾ of people use a mobile device when buying something OR researching for a product or service. If your website is not Mobile Responsive it will result in a negative experience, because people will have a difficult time navigating through to find all the information they need.
If you’re not checking and maintaining your site on a regular basis, other issues might arise: broken links, contact forms not sending emails, or even worse website not working at all. All that plus other minor issues contribute to a bad user experience, just ask Google, user experience is one of the main reasons a site may do well or badly in search results.
Google has just carried out the most major updates in years, Core Web Vitals, it’s a series of tests to determine if a website passes the test. A pass gives a website major awards from Google in the form of a higher ranking in search results.
According to different studies, over 40% of visitors drop off (leave the website), if it takes more than 3-4 seconds to load. How much could this be costing your business?
The performance of a website it’s influenced by many factors. Let’s have a look at some.
The quality of the website built itself
Reputable web design agencies will not use themes, as themes come with a lot of unnecessary built-in functionality, which will slow down your website. We only use a basic framework on which we build bespoke websites.
As the saying goes – cheap is not always good. And this is definitely NOT the place where you should think of saving some money. Having a good hosting company plays a major factor in the performance and loading speed of a website.
That’s why we only use reputable hosting companies, ones that we are happy to host our own websites on.
Regular Website Maintenance
Over time, as there is new information being added to the website, new content, new plugins, comments, etc… All these might slow down the overall website performance, which includes loading speed.
Therefore, it’s always good to optimize your website database, get rid of unwanted plugins, delete all the spam comments, etc.. various tasks which should be included as part of a website maintenance service.
Maintain your website and save money
Performing website maintenance tasks can save you money in the long run. More specifically; taking backups of your website as often as you can.
You can get hacked, a plugin can play up and destroy your site’s content, or you can accidentally delete some of the essential files. So, it’s extremely important to back up your site regularly.
We recommend having daily backups because a problem can strike at any time, that’s what we also do through our website maintenance packages.
Backing up your website typically helps you to stay ahead of:
- Website hackers
- Breakdowns by website updates
- Errors by your employees
- Website maintenance involves making regular backups, which can help to minimize damage when a problem occurs. With a simple click, you can restore all your files and get your site running smoothly again.
Still, a question remains unanswered! How will this save you money?
Let’s put it this way: Worst comes to worst, something happens to your website, it gets hacked or human error (you delete something accidentally) and you don’t have a backup to restore it.
- You just lost the money you invested initially in the website
- If you are an online store and your business heavily relies on online sales, imagine how much money you would be losing while the website it’s down?
- Now you probably have to hire another web design agency to build you a new website, or at the very least, try and salvage something from the wreck.
Stay on Google’s good side.
Why did you build the website in the first place? To grow your business, right? Of course. And Google being the biggest, most popular search engine out there, we have a great opportunity in ranking our websites as high as possible, so we can get people to visit our website.
However, in order for that to happen, we need to play by the rules. There are so many Google ranking factors out there (200 at last count), and we need to tick as many checkboxes as possible, right? Some of which are highly related to the things we’ve mentioned in this article.
Quick Disclaimer before we move on.
We’re not saying that doing just this on its own will rank you higher in Google. This is not an SEO tutorial. However, doing these will definitely set you on the right track for success.
Ok, let's get back to the article
So, what exactly are we talking about? Well, let’s have a look at a couple of points we’ve talked about in this article.
- Good customer experience – Google wants its users to have a good user experience when they click on a website from search results. Therefore, the more time people spend on your website, the better.
- Overall Website Maintenance: This goes hand in hand with user experience. If you have issues with your website, broken links, outdated plugins causing some sort of problems on your website – all these will provide a bad user experience for the user, and Google will notice that too.
- Website Performance. – Website Loading Speed it’s a HUGE ranking factor in Google.
- Security – Making sure that your website does NOT get hacked, protects your reputation in Google. If you do get hacked, Google will quickly notice that and will remove you from the search engine.
You Might Need a Professional
As a business owner, you have a lot of tasks to complete. Handling customers, managing employees, meeting deadlines, and keeping appointments can be quite hectic at times. Inexperience and neglect can damage the look and functionality of your website.
When that happens, you have a choice to make.
One, you try and fix it yourself, in which case you may do further damage.
Or two, 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 keep your website running properly.
For that reason, you should delegate your website maintenance services to a professional. We help businesses, by offering them the peace of mind that everything is maintained by a professional. Starting from regular updates, daily backups, plus an extra monthly allowance for other changes to the website, these are just a few of the things included in our Monthly Plans.