Website maintenance? What’s that about?

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Let’s go back to the reason why you needed a (new) website in the first place. Did you want to rebrand your business? Are you trying to attract more customers through online marketing? The point is, you didn’t design a website just to have a website (at least we hope that’s not the case). Your website is the means to achieve other business objectives, rather than an objective in itself. Now that you have a website, you can use it to advertise your deals and promotions, to incentivize visitors to call you, to share your company’s news and in a million of other ways.

Abandoning your website = missed opportunity. An unattended website with outdated information may give an impression that you ran out of business. Think from a user perspective: a website with a copyright from 2011 and last company news update dating way back doesn’t exactly look trustworthy. The logic is simple: if a business failed to keep some items of the website up to date, where’s the guarantee that the rest of the information is correct? And if people don’t trust your company, they won’t do business with you – simple as that.

Moreover, skipping important website software and plugin updates may expose your website to security threats. Getting hacked is serious. And if you don’t keep tabs on your website at all, you might not find out about the security breach until a kind soul lets you know your website spits out a bunch or error messages.

What you need to keep up to date on your website in terms of content

Your contact information – this is crucial if you want your potential customers to find you and get in touch. Every time you move or change your phone number, update your website right away.
Any content that has mentions of dates, numbers and other time-sensitive information, such as “we have been in business for 13 years” or “we’ve just moved to a new office.”
Services, products and service areas, especially on eCommerce platforms.
Coupons and special offers – change the expiration dates, remove old coupons or replace with new ones.
Links. If your site contains links to external content, such as videos, articles or review sites, periodically check to make sure nothing is broken. Often times, the content you link to gets moved or deleted, which affects user experience.
Staff bios and photos
Frequently asked questions
The copyright statement
Privacy policy and other policies
Your portfolio – show off your most recent work
Company news section
Another thing to monitor and update is the key messages your website is sending. Did your value proposition change? Are you in the process of rebranding? Do your products/services vary depending on the time of the year? For example, if you are a HVAC company, it doesn’t make sense for you to push AC services during the winter months. See where we’re heading with this? Your website’s content should be dynamic – constantly changing and adapting to the evolving market environment and consumer demands.

Don’t forget to check the back end

While keeping an eye on your website’s content is important, it is just as important to keep the back end of your website updated. By back end we mean the content management system (CMS) and any other platforms you might have installed, such as eCommerce. Whether your website uses WordPress or some other CMS, be sure to install all the latest updates that come out for the system and the plugins. Some of the updates improve functionality of the system/widget, but in many cases security is what they mainly address.

But who would want to hack my “average” website?

You would be surprised! Even if your website doesn’t collect any personal user information, such as names, addresses and credit cards, it can still be of interest to hackers. Here are some of the ways a hacker can use your website:

– To show off and demonstrate how easy it was to take control of your website

– To redirect your visitors to a different site with a goal to steal your traffic or collect visitors’ personal information

– To steal existent data stored in your databases

– To infect your visitors’ computers with malware

– To send out comment spam or other forms of spam

– To use your server or computer as a proxy to hide their illegal activity, such as piracy, or for other malicious purposes.

And if a hacker’s goal is something other than showing off, you might not detect the security breach until it’s too late. It might not be visible from the front end at all, and only looking deep into your site’s code may reveal the intruder. The consequences? Anything from worried customers and slow website to your IP getting blacklisted and a significant drop in search engine rankings.

We don’t mean to scare you with these warnings – our goal is to simply inform you about website security risks out there. If you decide to take the “hands off” approach, your website might be just fine or it might not. It’s a similar gamble to living without health insurance: if you do need to go to a doctor with something serious, it might cost you your arm and leg (no pun intended).

As you can see, website maintenance is something you don’t want to ignore. The least you can do is regularly click through every page of your website and test the forms to make sure there’s nothing unusual. If you want to take preventive measures, signing up for one of our website maintenance packages might be a good idea. Call us to discuss how we can help keep your website safe, secure and up to date.

 

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