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23 Mar 21

What Happens If You Don’t Maintain Your Website – 8 Helpful Tips You Can Do Right Away

Irwin Hau | Web Development

A website might seem like an inanimate object, but it is the farthest thing from. Underneath its pretty digital surface, a website consists of many moving parts, such as web hosting, security firewalls, the CMS software which houses the code and an array of plug-ins that extend the website’s capabilities. Grab a coffee and keep reading for a refresher on what is in store if you don’t maintain your website.

Similar to maintaining your car, website parts need to be oiled and checked periodically to ensure they are functioning well together. Taking your car in for service annually might cost a few hundred dollars, but you leave with peace of mind it is road-worthy and in top shape. Compare this to a car that had its last oil change 10 years ago; if it suddenly broke down on you, it could easily leave you with a 4 figure bill. 

Website Maintenance Starts With Making Your Site Secure

Google and Mozilla Firefox pay software developers to find bugs, so they can fix them on the fly. Whilst you might not be a digital tech giant, if you have any forms that take in personal information or payment details on your website, security should also be one of your top priorities. It is detrimental and almost impossible to repair broken trust, if hackers get in to steal these details. 

Firewalls, antivirus and security software is constantly being improved by developers. Website maintenance helps your platform stay properly armed against security breaches or automated hacking tools. Outdated security software and bad hosting risks exposing your website to having vulnerabilities that new hackers could easily breach.

Here are some alarming truths you may not know in regards to cybersecurity

  • On average 30,000 new websites are hacked every day
  • The average cost of a ransomware attack on businesses is $133,000 (SafeAtLast)
  • In 2016, Uber reported hackers stole the information of over 57 million rides and drivers (Uber)

It is not just the multi-million dollar enterprise companies that are susceptible. In fact, small businesses get hacked as a favourable target because they are known to have lower security measures.

Outdated Software and Plug-ins Are The Weakest Link

Your website may be built in WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. One thing all these platforms have in common is they all need regular updates to ensure they can stay relevant with better features and remain secure. This includes the plug-ins and themes, which work alongside your core CMS platform to form your website. Right after launch, these will fit snugly like a jigsaw puzzle. However, as months pass, developers will work on each element to bring improvements to each part. As the team of developers who work on the core CMS platform are different to the ones who tinker on the individual plug-ins, the parts will naturally misalign over time. These misalignments can cause issues on your website and also create vulnerabilities and bugs that malware and security hacking bots can exploit.

  • In 2019, over 56% of all CMS applications were out of date when hacks happened. (Sucuri) 
  • 86% of hacked WordPress websites contain outdated versions of WordPress plugins and themes. 

In short, whilst it is tempting to let your website run on its own for years, this neglect will inevitably leave you with a shell of a website that doesn’t drive sales or is broken.

The Longterm Consequences Of Not Maintaining Your Website

Putting aside the cost of fixing a website that is down, the biggest detriment to your business is losing sales. Imagine your customers click on your page and instead are hit with ‘Page Not Found – 404 Error’. Every hour or day it is down, it has lost the potential revenue your website usually generates. 

It will also leave a poor lasting impression on your existing and potential customers. If people cannot book your service or your eCommerce shopping cart is out of order, this poor user experience will affect their likelihood to return. In fact, most will never return.

  • Your website crashes (if the hacker has targeted your website specifically and gained full control)
  • Sensitive customer information is seized and leaked (credit card details or confidential details)
  • Content data is lost (this would be a real hit to those years of marketing budget spent updating your website)
  • Longterm SEO is affected, from users bouncing off your website quickly

What Does Website Maintenance Involve?

With proper website maintenance, your website should never be down whilst it is being serviced. Our team of experienced web developers take a full copy of your current website and work on it remotely in a safe environment. A thorough process is necessary to ensure that nothing is missed. Just to name a few, this includes tasks such as

  • Testing and updating each plug-in individually for compatibility
  • Combing for broken pages and redirecting them
  • Looking for broken links and redirecting these to the updated pages
  • Testing browser compatibility
  • Backing up your content and updates for safe measure

8 Tips For Being Proactive In Maintaining Your Website

Whilst you can leave the majority of the heavy lifting to your web developer, there are little housekeeping bits and bobs you can look after, to help improve the overall performance and user experience of your website. 

  1. Change your password periodically, (hacking passwords one of the most prevalent)
  2. Click on all your links to check they are working
  3. Check out how your website looks on different browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge)
  4. Have a look at your website on different devices (laptops, tablets and phones )
  5. Have a look at your imagery in the backend of your website and look at file size
  6. Check your forms are working and that enquiries are going through
  7. Try writing ‘evergreen content that isn’t seasonal and requires less updating 
  8. Give administrator editing access to your site with caution (too many cooks spoil the broth)

Need Advanced Website Maintenance?

Let’s be honest, if you’re unsure about anything, it’s always best to leave it to the professionals. After you press that big ‘Update’ button, there’s no undo or going back. Let us know if you have any questions, or if you would like a professional developer to assist your efforts. You can call us on 03 9912 6403. Our skilled team of front-end and back-end developers are ready to jump in and tune up your website, no matter how big or small.