Website maintenance is a topic not spoken about enough in my opinion. Honestly, I think this is because when people think of websites, they focus on the design & development aspects only.
But there are many things that have to happen after the designer is long gone. Someone has to make sure the website is not only running properly, but is updated and protected from hackers.
These tasks are generally handled by a webmaster. That title has sort of faded away with so many drag and drop web editors (WIX, Weebly, Squarespace) out here now, but that doesn’t mean the tasks do.
Even if you decide to build your website on your own, you will still need to either learn or hire someone with the skills to update it regularly. Not just things like content, but keeping track of any plugins and scripts you might have running in the background. They generally get updated by the developers and you’ll want to have the latest and greatest running on your website.
Then comes on-page SEO. Making sure the content you’ve added is easily accessible for all visitors (508 Compliance) and easy to crawl for search engines (Google, Bing, etc.). Something as small as using the wrong heading tags on your blog posts can prevent a search engine from properly crawling them.
Not to mention the amount of keywords you are using on each page. If it appears you’re “padding” your website (I really hope no one is still doing this), search engines will penalize you for it. And it’s an annoying process to rebuild your reputation and remove your site from places it’s been blacklisted.
From there you have security to deal with, which is always an ongoing problem. Our website alone in the past two weeks has had over 35,000 malicious login attempts. Much larger websites receive many more!
Security alone is enough of a reason to constantly keep an eye on your website. We’ve had clients in the past who came to us already heavily infected with malware throughout their website, backend server and database. It shouldn’t get to that point before you realize you need some help managing your website. That particular client had a multi-site configuration as well, so we had to go through over 15 different sites. It’s a time consuming (and costly) process.
You might be wondering the best way to go about finding someone to maintain your website. Here at Webmaster On Site, we handle all aspects of website maintenance for you (based on the chosen plan). We monitor your website 24/7 so we know when your servers are down and can quickly figure out why. We know when attempts to hack your website have been made. We also monitor logs to keep track of who has access to your website at all times. Definitely look for a company that is doing these things at the bare minimum. It’s important to do you research!
If you aren’t looking to hire someone, then it will be important for you to set some time aside to learn certain aspects of website management. You will at minimum need to gain a solid understanding of the platform you’re using for your website, whether it’s WordPress or Django. You’ll have to know how to essentially go “under the hood” when needed.
Because it’s better to pay someone for preventative maintenance than pay someone to fix something broken. Because 9 times out of 10, it will always cost you more. And website downtime definitely can’t happen when you’re operating online (e-commerce businesses I’m looking at you!)
Until next time,
Owner and Lead Web Developer at Webmaster On Site.