Lately, I've had many conversations whether there is a need to hire someone to perform website maintenance.
Hiring an experienced web designer or developer to do your website maintenance is like buying an insurance policy. Your website is a valuable asset for your business and maintenance is necessary. It's no different than getting regular maintenance on your car, or seasonal services for your home. The most common question get asked is:
If I am logging in and editing my site regularly, isn't that the same thing?
NO. It is NOT the same thing.
On the humorous side, let me ask you this: Would you say that buying toothpaste and a toothbrush every couple of months is the equivalent of brushing your teeth every day? I know that sounds strange so let me explain.
Logging into your site and publishing a blog post, or making text edits to various pages on your site is great. But it is NOT the same thing as performing maintenance. Keeping your website up to date, backed up, fixing problems that arise after updates, and optimizing various elements on the site is not the same thing as adding content. But blogging and changing text is not maintenance. That is no different than driving your car every day and saying you are maintaining it at the same time.
Huh? How are these analogies related to website maintenance?
Fair question. These examples relate b/c they are all items that, over time, become subject to wear and tear, break down, or need preventative tasks performed to avoid a major (and expensive) problem.
It's great you are filling up your gas tank before you run out, but are you changing the oil? Do you have the tires rotated? Do you wash the car after a snowfall and there's a dense white film of salt built up? Do you change or clean filters in your air conditioning or furnace seasonally? Are you cleaning the clothing dryer exhaust vent each year to prevent fires?
Brushing and flossing your teeth, driving your car and filling it with gas, cleaning filters in your home, and even having major appliances or foundation elements of your home inspected is part of ensuring your investment continues to run smooth or hold up. All of these tasks are preventative measures and save you a lot of money down the road.
Taking care of any of these tasks on a schedule or somewhat regular basis is what you'd likely do. If you avoid them, you can expect problems sooner or later, and you will not be happy with the price tag.
Let's go back to your website.
As I mentioned above, logging in and making ongoing edits is great bu:
- Are you backing up the database and files?
- Are you making updates to plugins and the framework?
- Do you check for hackers and bots trying to gain access or compromise your site?
- Are you optimizing your images, so they are as small as possible in file size and have optimized names?
- Are you monitoring the uptime and speed of your site?
What does all of this mean? I'm confused.
Fair enough, and you might have just done a face-palm realizing you can't answer ‘yes' to any of the above questions. Perhaps you are confused since you're not familiar with any of those tasks.
You might even be a little uncomfortable because you know that you've been lucky so far, but if you do get hacked and you're unprepared, you have no idea how you'll get your site data back up.
You need to maintain your site if you want and expect it to perform well and last. Period.
Okay so yes, there are expenses involved to pay someone to do perform webiste maintenance. I get it. But, you pay someone to clean your house or car, fix the roof, sell you new appliancesm, and replace parts in your car.
You purchase insurnace (health, auto, life, etc.) just in case something happens. You make sure your are covered in the event of an unexpected mishap. There are other types of backup-plan safety plans we put in place for the worst case scenario situations (I hope you're saying yes to those, too).
Website maintenance is a form of insurance.
It's your piece of mind and security you need in the unlikely event something goes wrong. You know things will be okay because you are covered and hyou know someone is on top of it. You are able to sleep at night, despite the added expense. It's that simple.
Just today, I read an article titled “Hackers Hit Dozens of Countries Exploiting Stolen N.S.A Tool“. Damn that sucks, right? But, this is proof positive that NO ONE is impervious to these situations and even the big boys get attacked.
But I'm just a small company. Who and why would anyone want to mess with my site? I'm not a well known important person so what's the deal?
Hackers don't know you and they don't care. Really!
For the most part, there ‘might' be a human being instigating or perpetuating website damage which has no idea who you are; and they don't care who you are. Underneath what you hear about on the news, is the most important part of this. Usually, what you hear about on the news is the result of a hacker's programmed and automatic robot skimming of the web and its millions of websites looking for vulnerabilities.
And that human? He's just sitting back waiting and watching and eating snacks, watching tv or napping. There's no rhyme or reason to most of the sites that get hacked. That's the problem. They don't care about you or your website. They have only one agenda and only care about finding places on the website to break in and wreak havoc.
Let's look at maintenance for your home.
If you had a huge wide-open hole in your home's outer wall, something from outside would ultimately crawl inside, and I'll bet you won't like it. Anything from bugs, wild animals, burglars, or dust can get inside. I don't even want to think about it. Do you?
The examples aren't attempts or tactics to alarm you. They are real and happen every day.
What do I do and how do I start getting my site more secure?
If you are questioning whether or not you should be on top of this, it is probably fair to say you aren't doing much (or anything) to take care of your site.
You are a prime candidate to have your site looked at and hire someone to make sure things are in proper shape. The alternative is that you have been fortunate so far, and the penny will eventually drop. We always hope it won't, but as I mentioned before, this is the very reason you buy a home, a car, or any other type of insurance.
You might even find yourself in a panic calling anyone you can think of to ask how to fix your now “offline” website but… if you have no backups how you can restore or repair it?
Don't panic. We are ready to help you!
At the very least, by having a website audit performed, you are taking the first step in identifying problematic areas and even receive an estimate for a maintenance plan appropriate for your business. But you have to take action, now. You wouldn't until AFTER you get into a car accident to sign up for auto insurance expecting results, right? That never ends well, and you'll wish you did something about it sooner.
Don't wait until it's too late. Let's talk, today!
Do you have more questions before getting started on your next project? Please send us a quick message and let us know what's on your mind.