How to Prevent Website Neglect
Emergency?! Why Your Website Needs You Now.
You’ve spent time, money, energy, and emotion getting your website launched. The process was hopefully a highly collaborative journey between you and your website designer(s). You may have brought months (or even years) of gathered ideas, thoughts, and content to your website designer(s) who created and coded your vision into a fully functional reality on the web.
You did it! Take a breath and relax. It’s all over . . . right???
Well, not so fast. We have many new clients who come to us and say:
“Help! I launched my website years ago and now I have so many problems!”
We have found that the root of almost every problem our clients are speaking of can be traced to simply neglecting to maintain, update, and secure the website in question. This eventually leads to an emergency for our clients because there are either problems with the functional aspects of their site or the security of their site has been compromised. The consequence is almost always a costly, time-consuming project to fix, which could have been avoided if there were proper steps taken to maintain, update, and secure the site periodically.
As website designers, we understand the investment and commitment our clients are giving and making when embarking on launching a new website, but we also want to convey to them the importance of maintaining it as long as they’re in business. It’s not just about getting a website “up on the web.” Before they begin working with us, many of our clients believe that once a site is launched, it can take care of itself and stand alone, never needing any maintenance, care, or attention, unless there are desired design changes. Unfortunately, this is simply not true. Check out the five simple tasks below that we offer to our clients in order to PROTECT and MAINTAIN the operation and security of your website, so all the time, energy, and money that went into creating it won’t be in vain.
Update WordPress – Assuming WordPress is the foundation on which your website is built and runs, there are typically two major updates to WordPress each year. These updates are essential for both the functionality and the security of your WordPress website. As of the publishing of this article (February 2014), WordPress currently has Version 3.8.1 available. What version are you running?
Update Plugins – What the heck is a WordPress Plugin? A plugin is a software component that adds an existing feature to your website. For example, that custom Contact Form on your site (that allows people to contact you via your website) is a plugin. So, you see, your website depends on plugins for added functionality. They help make many elements of your website run smoothly, so you want to make sure that your plugins are consistently updated so that the added elements are running properly and securely.
Scan Site Files – Your website is comprised of many files that all interact with each other. It is important to routinely scan these files for malware. Spammers love to place hidden files in your website folders. These files are not only destructive to the operation of your website but they also hurt your relevance and ranking with search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. And if your site is flagged as a “risk” to search engines, it can take weeks or months to get back into good standing. Not good.
Website Clean Up – Empty your spam comments. These can build up over time, thanks to spammers trying to advertise or post malicious content to your website. Hopefully, you are running a plugin like Akismet to block these comments, but always make sure to clean your spam comments out by emptying the folder.
Strong Passwords – Sometimes the most simplistic advice is the most important. If you do nothing else, create strong passwords. Admin passwords such as ADMIN, MONKEY123, or PASSWORD1 are invitations for hackers to access your website files and cause havoc. Yes, they may be easy to remember, but that is exactly why they are terrible. If you can easily remember your password, then you should probably change it. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but the alternative is no fun. The inconvenience isn’t worth the cost to fix a site that has been compromised and hacked.
I think you catch our drift: don’t wait until your site has problems to give it the care it deserves. Not only is it costly to wait, but more importantly perhaps, it causes damage to your business, brand, and reputation. Your website is the core of your online presence and expresses the heart and soul of your business, so take your commitment to it seriously by hiring a professional to take care of the tasks above if you’re unable to take care of them yourself. We promise it’ll be worth it. We offer competitively priced packages that make it super easy for you to trust us with the management of your site all year long.