A lot of people think that once their website is finished, it’s “set and forget”.
Here’s why you not only need to update content, but also have your web designer doing maintenance work behind the scenes.
Firstly, everyone’s favourite buzzword that won’t go away – SEO.
For your website to be considered “relevant” by a search engine, its theme and core components must be up-to-date.
It helps to update the theme your site is built on (be careful with this – I sense another blog post coming on!) because very old themes may no longer be supported by a current web browser. This can leave content looking oddly placed on the page, or not loading at all.
To sum up – if the theme is stale and contains broken links, search engine robots will downgrade your site in favour of a well-maintained, functional one.
Site Vulnerability & Hacking
Most people don’t want to hear this – but the reality is, hacking isn’t so much an issue of “if” but “when”. However, you can try to prevent this, and the biggest thing you can do is keep your core theme and plugins updated.
Plugins are pieces of code that give your site certain functions. For example, a social media plugin has been created to pull your social media posts and display them on your website.
Occasionally, pieces of code will have vulnerabilities that hackers like to exploit. For smaller businesses, it will often take the form of redirecting pages to malicious links. For larger and more reputable businesses, it may involve stealing sensitive customer data, such as emails, passwords and credit card details.
Working with your web designer to keep the backend of your site updated can help to block these attempts. In addition, it will help to protect your SEO ranking – a hacked site will be marked as dangerous by Google and therefore drop in search results.
Taking regular backups of the site (e.g. once a month) is also something you should discuss with your web designer, or web host. In the event you are hacked, you can restore the site from the last backup. This will help you to avoid losing years of work!
SEO Part II
As mentioned earlier, search engines are always looking for the most relevant and up-to-date content. So it is not just updating the back end which is important, but your content (text and images) as well!
Embedding a social media feed can be a great way of keeping new content flowing in, especially if you aren’t inclined towards a regular blog post. It has the added benefit of legitimising your website in the eyes of the Google robots – if there are linked social accounts with regular content, then the affiliated website must also be relevant.
However, don’t rely on this alone. If you can set aside some time once a month for blog posts or other content updates, it will go a long way to helping you out. (Our client, Anna from InterMondo Cultural Consulting, is a great example of someone who generates regular blog posts – check out her blog here.)
If you sell products and one of them is no longer manufactured, you must update your site to reflect this. Change of service offering or pricing? Update your site! Content updates are not only great for SEO, but they also help your customer service – no-one likes to be under-quoted on the website and over-charged in real life! Or spend hours looking for THAT product, only to find it is sold out and you will not be re-stocking… It’s unlikely they will return.
So, to reiterate – it is critical for your site’s security and SEO ranking to do regular updates on both the back- and front-end of your website. Because WordPress is the most popular CMS (Content Management System) in the world, there are often attempts to hack or exploit weaknesses. This is why making sure your core installation, plugins and themes are always up to date is so important.
Starting next month, we are launching a new Monthly Maintenance service to our customers. We are offering:
- Monthly security checks and updates
- An hour of support a month, and
- A 48-hour response time
To find out more, contact us.