Lately, I’ve been having many conversations about the need for regular website maintenance.
I have been asked many of questions about website maintenance, what it really means to maintain a website and why it is necessary. The most common thing that seems to come up is:
I am editing my site and logging in regularly. Isn’t that the same thing?
No. For real, NO. It’s not the same thing.
Making edits to the content on your site is great. Keep it up to date as much as you can and even keep blogging! But those edits aren’t maintenance. That would be like saying that since you drive your car every day, you are maintaining it at the same time.
Great, so you are filling up your gas tank when it’s low but are you changing the oil, rotating the tired, washing the car and changing the filters (among all the things a car needs to run properly)? Of course not. Driving your car and filling it with gas is just part of making sure your car runs well. You are no doubt, bringing it in to your dealer or a mechanic to have those other things taken care of on a schedule, unless you are able to do those other things.
So, let’s go back to your website.
As I mentioned above, logging in and making ongoing edits is great but 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 in the world are you talking about? 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 expect it to run right. Period.
Okay so yes, there is going to be some expense involved if you pay someone to do all of these things. I get it. But, let’s compare it to your car. you have car insurance and home insurance and perhaps other types of backup-plan safety measures in place for those “worst case scenario” situations to be sure you’re covered and things will be taken care of, right? (I hope you’re saying yes to those, too).
Website maintenance as I described above is a form of insurance on your valuable business asset. It’s the piece of mind and security that in that unlikely event something does go wrong, things will be okay because you know someone is on top of it. You can sleep at night knowing this, despite the added expense. It’s really 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?
That’s just it. Hackers don’t know you. Really!
For the most part, there ‘might’ be a human being instigating or perpetuating website damage who has no idea who you are; and they don’t care who you are. Underneath what you hear about on the news, is the the most important part of this. Usually, what you’re hearing about on the news is the result of a hacker’s programmed and automatic robot skimming of the web and it’s 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 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.
Another way to look at it is your home.
If you had a huge wide-open hole in your home’s outer wall, something from outside will ultimately crawl inside and I’ll bet you won’t like it. Anything from bugs, wild animals, burglars, or… ick, I don’t even want to think about it. Do you?
This isn’t an attempt for theatrics and alarming tactics. I’m talking about real events. They happen. Every day.
Now what? What do I do?
If you are even questioning whether or not you should get on top of this, it’s likely you’re not doing much to look after the nuts and bolts of your site. You are the 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 very lucky 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 home, auto and other kinds 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 can you fix 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. We look forward to hearing from you!