Let’s face it — maintenance services of any kind are just not very sexy. Whether it’s for a home appliance or your car or your website, when you make that payment for maintenance services, your mind might wander to what else you could be spending that money on that would be more… fun. When you think about preventive services, you might not feel much of a thrill and associate them with dreary thoughts of sensible shoes, doing your homework, or staying within the lines.
So why not skip website maintenance services, jump out there with carefree abandon and take the risk? It might help to know how keeping your website well-tuned and efficient is the move of a smart business owner.
Protect Your Investment
The cost of repairing a down site can be significant and anxiety-producing as you watch your site lurch from broken to half-reconstructed to — ooops — broken again, as a technical helper attempts to put the pieces back together.
If you’ve recently had a new website designed or have gone through a redesign project, you might be hoping to rest on your laurels for awhile. But this is precisely the time to develop a new good business practice, make a good decision for your future and protect that investment by keeping it current every month.
Odd things can happen to websites. For no apparent reason, files can become corrupted and fail through no fault of yours and for reasons that are very hard to trace. Server sectors can fail, and malware or viruses can infect your files. But if you are already engaged in a maintenance contract, you’ve got access to someone who hopefully is invested in your success enough to jump into action to fix it. You’ll have minimal down time and the confidence of knowing you’re prepared for the unexpected, to protect your site.
Don’t Get the DIY Blues
WordPress can give a do-it-yourself website owner a false sense of security because it offers a world of button pushing that on the surface looks problem-free. And there may be actions you can take that seem to work fine. If you are a WordPress do-it-yourselfer, you might be unknowingly installing unnecessary or conflicting software, and creating problems that will be hard to unravel once a critical failure happens. What would you do if it suddenly went down? Would you notice if your site was down for an hour, a day, or several days?
Be Aware of Your Website’s Status
Your website is out there 24 x 7, doing preliminary sales work for you, informing people about your services or products and helping them find you. It’s an inbound marketing vehicle that should always be there doing its job. If your website is down, has broken links or is failing in search results you’re losing the benefit of your primary inbound marketing asset. A good website maintenance service provider will be monitoring your site’s performance from a few different angles.
Get Used to Constant Change
One thing about websites that is appealing to some and a source of great frustration to others is that web technology is constantly evolving.
No one knows everything. There are professionals out there who spend their whole careers working with WordPress, web server technology or search engine technology, not to mention web analytics, user experience design, or computer-human interaction, focusing deeply on narrow topics. Your website maintenance professional is in a position between that technical expert and the website owner — aware of the landscape of changing technology with a practical eye on what will affect your site. The maintenance professional doesn’t know everything, but he/she/they have resources when problems arise to find solutions.
Hackers love websites that are not maintained. They have bots that scour the internet looking for poorly maintained sites. They can use vulnerabilities that are well-known in older, unpatched and unsupported software to gain access to your site and inject their own malware. If your site isn’t protected, you might wake up some morning to find it displaying viagra ads. And once a site is hacked, if it’s indexed by search engines before the hack is removed, your site will start ranking for the hacker’s topic instead of your own carefully chosen keywords — a situation that is difficult and time consuming to resolve.
Good software choices will help foil hackers, because theme and plugin authors who are on the ball will constantly be updating their software to plug vulnerabilities and protect against hacking.
Did you know that people form an opinion about your business within a few seconds after arriving on your site? Your website should be putting an appealing, functional face on your business online. The better it looks and performs, the better the impression you make with website visitors about your business. When links or functionality is broken or sloppy, it sends a message that either you might not be current in your business or not paying attention to quality in general. A great, well-maintained website makes a great impression. An obsolete, poorly-maintained site makes a terrible impression.
Keep Search Engines Happy
Recently Google started adding performance to it algorithms when judging the authority and value of a website. If a site isn’t maintained or is full of errors languishing without repair, it’s a flag that can decrease your search ranking.
Do Human, Not Automatic, Updates
We strongly recommend avoid the automatic updates that some hosting companies offer. Whenever software is updated, there is the possibility of creating a conflict with other software being used. So it’s best to be methodical about updates and do them in the proper order, with a human being watching the effect of each step.
Website developers have their own favorite ways of putting things together. So if you need urgent help, the person coming to your rescue will first have to spend some time figuring that out. The best arrangement is to have the same person maintaining your site every month. You’ll have someone who has a good working knowledge of WordPress and server technology, who knows how your site is put together, and who is working proactively on your behalf to prevent problems.
Do What You’re Best At
… which is usually running your business! Spend your late nights on your latest product or service offering, not on the inner workings of WordPress. Someone who knows what to do can bring the benefit of their experience, take care of it quicker and give you peace of mind, knowing you’re covered.