Once you work with a developer to build your website, you don’t need anyone after that to handle it, right? Not quite! Today’s websites are constantly changing and evolving, even if you haven’t touched them in a while.
In the “olden days” of the web, before responsive and mobile sites were a thing, websites were created with HTML code and in programs like Dreamweaver. If you didn’t change anything on them yourself, they would stay just as you left them (like a Word document or spreadsheet saved on your computer).
However, with the rise of mobile devices, this has changed. Now most websites are made with content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla. These platforms are designed to automatically size site pages, menus, and content so they look good on any device screen, PC or mobile.
Mobile devices make up about 50% of all web traffic.
While it may make it easier for novices to update their website from time to time, it also makes managing a website much more complicated, because sites don’t stay the same anymore. That’s why many small business owners save themselves a lot of time and trouble by securing a professional to manage their website for them.
WordPress and other CMSs are made up of themes and plugins that are created by different developers. These can update without warning if you have them on auto-update mode, and totally break your site if not handled correctly.
You could go home on a Friday with your site looking fine, then mid-Monday morning get a customer call saying they can’t navigate your site because the menu is now missing (even though you didn’t touch your site).
Things That Get Out of Date Quickly on a Website
Because today’s responsive websites are always changing, it’s difficult for a company to manage one themselves. Things often get out of date on a website, which requires a watchful eye to manage so your website stays secure and efficient.
Here are some of the things that can get out of date on your website if not managed regularly.
WordPress and other CMS sites are driven by databases and plugins. You need a plugin to add a shopping cart, enable Google analytics tracking, add forms to your site, and more.
Part of regularly managing a website includes keeping these plugins updated. Plugin updates can include vital security patches to seal a found vulnerability, they can also be required for compatibility with another plugin update. For example, a plugin that syncs cart sales with QuickBooks online, might need to update to stay compatible with a QuickBooks update.
52% of WordPress site vulnerabilities are related to unsecure plugins.
Plugins can be challenging because updating them is not as each as just clicking the “update” button. If they’re not updated properly or checked for compatibility, a plugin update can end up making your site unreachable or difficult to view.
WordPress Version & Themes
Along with plugins, the version of WordPress (or Drupal, etc.) that you’re using gets updated regularly by the developers. Themes that are used as a design base for websites are also being updated all the time.
These updates can also have problems if you don’t validate the updates first before applying it to your site (something that professional website management companies do).
It’s not unusual for a theme update to completely change the look of a site for the worse, and often, business owners aren’t sure how to get their site back to the way it looked before the update.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
A healthy and well-ranking site is one that is adding new content regularly, this means that as you add blogs and update your service or product pages, you need to have SEO performed on those pages.
SEO also needs to be continually updated to keep existing pages well performing. For example, a website management and SEO pro, like Data First, can regularly look at what keywords people are using to get to your site and update your SEO to capture more of those leads.
Websites aren’t like paintings that are just hung up on the internet and admired, they are a conversation with your site visitors. To keep that conversation going, you need to regularly add content, such as blogs, company updates, and tweaks to your pages to enhance them.
This can be time-consuming if you don’t have help from an expert that can assist you with adding relevant content designed to target your key audiences.
Optimizing your site pages for the search engines isn’t a “one and done” activity. Google’s ranking algorithms are always changing, which means your site needs to be continually updated to keep your pages being found.
This can include continually checking and optimizing for site speed and fast page load as well as using any new tactics for ranking (like featured snippets) that can keep your site ahead of the competition.
Get Expert WordPress Management to Keep Your Site Effective
Data First Solutions offers expert WordPress and CMS management to ensure your website stays properly updated, secure, and driving traffic for you.