Two years ago, if you had asked my client, Debra (name changed for privacy), about the importance of website maintenance, she might have brushed it aside as less critical than running her business. Fast forward to today, and Debra would likely tell you that investing in the well-being of your website is one of the wisest decisions you can make.
In 2017, I received an alarmed email from Debra, reporting that her website was behaving oddly, and she suspected a hack. Her intuition was spot-on; her website had indeed been compromised. Fortunately, we managed to restore her site using an old backup. However, the ordeal resulted in data loss and frightened away potential clients who stumbled upon her hacked site, redirecting them to an X-rated destination (a telltale sign of a hacked site).
It was a stressful, costly experience for Debra, but it imparted a valuable lesson: maintaining a functional website is far more cost-effective than fixing a broken one.
In a nutshell, many small-business websites become vulnerable targets due to neglecting web maintenance and insufficient protection against security threats. Updates are the lifeline of your site’s health and longevity, and the simplest way to bolster its security is by keeping it up-to-date.
So, why are website updates crucial?
- Visitor Retention A well-maintained website not only attracts new visitors but also retains existing ones. Offering fresh, accurate, and up-to-date content keeps your site relevant. Regularly check for broken links, ensure your contact forms function correctly, and verify that your contact information remains current.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Maintaining your website is vital for improving or sustaining search engine rankings. Neglecting fresh content can lead to a drop in rankings, potentially costing you business in the long run.
- Security Every business, regardless of size, can fall victim to hacking. Outdated plugins and code make your site an easy target for cybercriminals. Regularly backing up your data and updating plugins can significantly reduce your risk of a security breach.
- Protects Your Business Image and Brand A poorly maintained website, replete with outdated information and broken links, is a surefire way to lose customers. Your website is a 24/7 representation of your business, and making a positive impression on visitors is paramount. Periodically evaluate your website’s look and feel; if it feels outdated, it’s time for a refresh. Websites are no longer a ‘set and forget’ aspect of your business. As technology advances, website software evolves for increased security, just like Microsoft or your smartphone requires updates.
Give Your Site the Care It Deserves Rather than investing hours in learning how to back up your site, dealing with a compromised server, or troubleshooting site downtime, consider our Website Care Packages to ensure your website’s health and security.