Think back to when you saved up enough money to buy a new car. It is an exciting time. What would happen to that car if you didn’t continue to fill up an empty gas tank, or schedule those important oil changes? It would stop working and become useless, right? The same goes for your website. Don’t spend all your time, energy, and money on a shiny new website to just leave it alone to grow stale. After the work is complete, your website needs ongoing maintenance and updates.
What happens when something happens to your new car? What if something breaks because you didn’t get the oil changes as recommended? You could void your warranty and that will cost you a lot more money! This could all be avoided with frequent car maintenance. You can almost think of website maintenance plans as insurance for your website.
Maintenance will do it’s best to keep your website secure and up-to-date. What if you accidentally break something on your website and you can’t fix it? Maintenance plans are perfect to fix the mistake or restore your website from a backup file before the mistake was made!
Here are 5 main reasons why investing in monthly maintenance is important,
Websites are very complex software applications. Even if they seem simple, they are far from that. Just like the operating system and apps on your computer and phone, your website needs to be kept up to date. These updates are not just for performance improvements but also vital for security.
WordPress websites need regular updates of the core software, themes, and plugins. These should be completed multiple times per month to avoid vulnerabilities.
Getting hacked is something you do not want to deal with. As mentioned above, regular updates to patch security vulnerabilities are one way to help keep your website secure. Your website should also be hosted on a high-performance server that follows proper security measures and avoids cheap hosting solutions. Hackers troll the internet daily looking for vulnerabilities in website code. Outdated websites are an easy target for these hackers. Protection against Brute Force Attacks is important to protect your website from those evil bots.
You can’t be 100% protected from these bots, viruses and hackers but regular maintenance will certainly lower your chances of an attack. Oh, and don’t make it easy for them, please use secure passwords.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engines like Google prefer well-maintained and frequently updated websites. These modern, fast, clean, error-free websites with good content are more likely to rank higher. Google also likes to index fresh content. This is why blogging is a great way to keep Google happy. But remember, Google only indexed good content, so don’t cheap out on your blogging. Each time you update your website by adding a new blog post, you are giving the search engines more content to index. Posting a good blog on a broken website will likely not give you good results.
Don’t just blog to blog, be smart about it and write about relevant topics that answer your target audiences’ questions.
Performance and User Experience
First impressions are everything, therefore, the appearance of your website will directly reflect your business. If your website looks out-dated, unprofessional, and unorganized that will likely affect a potential client’s opinion on the services and products you offer. If your website doesn’t directly reflect your professional pet business, it is time for a website redesign.
A redesigned website should not only look “pretty” but more importantly, it must be properly structured and provide a positive user experience for returning and potential clients. Mobile-friendly and easy to use websites are no longer optional if you want to keep your business relevant in 2020. If you don’t your competitors will.
Sometimes backups are needed and we have certainly used them for clients in the past. Website backups should be continuously running in multiple locations for worst-case scenarios. Your website should be backed up daily on your server and on a third-party platform for ultimate protection. This is one of the most important reasons for a maintenance plan as many hosting plan backups are not enough if disaster stricks.
It is important that the website code and content is backed up on a regular basis. Hopefully, it is never needed, but if disaster stricks, you will be very happy.
Although highly unlikely, if many popular website builders shut down, your website goes with it! Instead, we recommend open source platforms like WordPress where you have 100% control. Additional website backup precautions should be taken for those using website builders like Squarespace or Wix by regularly exporting XML files and archiving content in Google Drive.
Maintenance plans that include monitoring are a proactive way to keep your website performing well and secure. What needs to be monitored? Performance, security precautions, SSL certificates, broken links, spam, publishing, infrastructure, change control, risk control and more can all be included in routine website maintenance plans. Monitoring will alert your webmaster of any issues so they can be addressed immediately.
Trying to handle the website maintenance for your pet business is like fixing your own car when it breaks. Some people can handle it, but most are better trusting in a professional. Professionals stay on top of new trends and changes to search engine algorithms to keep your website in tip-top shape. Your website is too important to not invest in ongoing maintenance. It is your #1 sales and marketing tool that works 24/7. Take care of it.
Erika Godwin is the President of Barketing Solutions and the Co-Founder and CMO of ProPet Software, an industry-leading kennel management software. Erika has over 8 years of experience with WordPress and graduated from Elmira College in 2009 with a BS, Business Administration- Marketing and Management.