I firmly believe in regular maintenance of websites. The simplest and most obvious reason is thus: technology, especially online tech, changes at such a speed, that it’s easy to get left behind with old versions (which may contain bugs because of certain changing circumstances). In the online world, old = outdated and is a no-go. In this post, I’ll explain why it’s better for your website, and by extension, your business, that it’s maintained regularly.
First, a quick and simple explanation of the technology behind websites. I promise to keep this as jargon-free as possible.
Websites run using software programmes that are installed on servers (think of them as hard drives) owned by hosting companies. When you host a website with a hosting company, you are essentially renting space on their system of hard drives. Like any rent, this fee is paid to the hosting company monthly. It’s relatively inexpensive depending on the package and hosting provider you choose. It can be set up to debit your bank account monthly so that you don’t have to remember to pay the account. Automated, you say? Yes please! If you decide not to go with automated debit orders, and you forget to pay for your hosting, the hosting service provider will feel no sympathy about taking your website offline. It’s cruel, but that’s the way it works.
Now, onto the how and why of maintaining a website.
This maintenance is done in two ways:
- Updating the content, and
- Updating the software that runs the website
Adding new content is done for two reasons:
1a) To keep your website interesting for visitors, and to keep it up to date on changes in your industry.
1b) To keep reminding Google that your website is relevant so that their search algorithm will index your site favourably.
Updating the software is also done for two reasons:
2a) To ensure the website works as it should.
2b) To protect the website, and catch any potential problems before they have a chance to break the site.
Keeping your Website Secure
This may not be the most interesting or easy to understand, but it’s incredibly important. Hackers roam the wildlands. Sometimes they’re easy to spot and manage, but sometimes they exploit a site for months without detection. Internet security, like other online tech, changes often, and it’s so easy to think “that will never happen to me”.
The nature of website code is that it’s available publicly. Hackers keep up with developments in technology and are always trying to find ways around secure systems. Developers (the good guys) uncover new vulnerabilities all the time, and reduce the threat they pose, resulting in more secure sites for everyone – provided the software is updated on a regular basis.
For Better Search Results
You’d like Google to show your website in the search results that appear above the fold (before a user scrolls down on the search results page). This is doable and there are many tips and tricks online to help you get there.
That’s the more advanced stuff that takes some tweaking and fine-tuning, but you can improve your website hugely by acing the basics. These basics are:
Having a fully functioning site with no broken links, dead pages, absent images or random tech errors; and giving your users a great experience on visiting the site.
To summarise briefly:
Updating software helps to keep tech errors at bay.
Adding new and interesting content contributes to a pleasant user experience.
When website developers include monthly maintenance in their contracts and service packages, it’s not because they’re greedy or lazy. It’s because you have invested in a website that they worked hard to create for you, and they would genuinely like to see it performing as it should while out there on the world wide web.
Melissa De Klerk
Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi
Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.
You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.