After months of planning, reviewing designs, writing and populating content, updating images and everything in between, your website is finally ready to go live.
There’s every reason to believe that’s the end of the process, but in reality, it’s just the start of your website’s life.
The launch of a new website is the beginning of a process of continuous investment, to get the most from your website, you need to nurture it. It’s an ongoing relationship and, like all relationships, you should take time for regular catch-ups.
With an average of over 30,000 new websites hacked every day (Source: Forbes), it’s vital that you protect your website through ongoing maintenance.
Don’t put off updates
Updates for your website and any plugins are regularly released and need to be regularly actioned.
Your CMS or any plugins may require upgrades for a plethora of different reasons: it could be to introduce new features, to improve performance or, most importantly, it could be to update bug fixes and improve security.
Updates can be critical for security and waiting even a few days to perform a critical security update could put your site at risk. When a security vulnerability is discovered, the details of the exploitable code are published online, available for hackers or other malicious parties to exploit these vulnerabilities.
According to a report produced by Imperva in 2018, 98% of hacking incidents happen because of outdated plugins and themes.
Our Technical Lead, Axl adds: “Keeping your website updated whether it being PHP version, WordPress or a particular plugin can go a long way in helping your website perform the best it can for you and your users”
It can be tempting to think ‘I’ll just do this update later’, but remember – updating plugins is easier than fixing a hacked website, which is why our ongoing website maintenance services include updating system and plugin updates – so you don’t have to worry keeping your site up to date.
Enforce a strong password policy
Ensuring that all of your website administrators have a strong password will reduce the threat of hackers gaining access to your website.
Hackers frequently employ software that uses brute force to crack passwords. To protect your website against brute force, all passwords should be complex.
Websites quickly become out of date, old-fashioned and static. Plus, a website where nothing ever changes and content isn’t regularly updated isn’t one that’s going to encourage visitors to return. Keeping your content up to date and ensuring the user journey is the best it can be is just as important as ongoing website maintenance.
Keep content fresh
Every update you make to your website plays a role in its interaction with visitors, customers and search engines. Whereas a static website without updates may be viewed by search engines as a dead entity – which could mean it ranks lower on search results, with fewer visitors.
Google loves frequent updates. Google’s main crawler, ‘Googlebot‘, crawls the internet searching for web pages that are new or updated and then adds this fresh content to the Google index. If you update your content often with reliable and valuable information, then you have a better chance of Google ranking your site higher.
Got a new member of staff? Put it on the website. Launched a new product? Put it on the website. Written a relevant blog? Put it on your website.
Regularly adding fresh content is also key to enticing visitors to return to your website and to keep your website up to date.
The top search engines regularly update their algorithms and change the requirements for high ranking on their results pages, which requires content to be updated in line with updates.
Our SEO Account Manager, James, adds: “Search engines are forever moving the goalposts as people start to understand and manipulate their algorithms. Staying on top of changes and updating your website is vital for search engine success, what works today might not tomorrow.”
Several years ago, Google ranked pages based on the number of links to it from other websites. This resulted in ‘link farming’ – paid services that would link to your website from their pool of sites, but many of these sites would be unrelated to the content on your site.
To reflect this change, Google then changed its algorithm to focus on the quality of the content on your website. Higher scoring was attributed to good copy, relevant titles and quality keywords instead. If your website relied upon link farming to score highly and you haven’t updated since you would have found your rankings dropped.
Google implemented another update in 2019 that uses mobile-first indexing, which means Google now predominantly uses the mobile version any website for indexing and ranking. So, if your website isn’t compatible with mobile devices, it could also have a negative impact on your rankings.
From a user experience perspective, the look and feel of your website is one of the most important aspects that could affect the conversion rate of your website. If your site looks old and dated, visitors will leave without looking around. Your brand is important and your website should reflect this in its design.
Design refreshes are recommended every 2 to 3 years – and even that can be a long time in terms of technological advances.
Need a hand keeping your website updated and maintained?
We offer ongoing website maintenance that ensures your website will receive regular website reviews, the latest security updates and ongoing development improvements.
Ensuring your website is regularly updated and receives regular maintenance can be overwhelming but with Barques, your website is in safe hands.
If you’re an existing client…
It is really important that you are aware that Barques does not automatically support your website if it is over a year old. If your website crashes then this could have serious implications for your business. It is your responsibility to keep your site up to date to make sure it stays running smoothly, which includes ensuring that it is legally compliant and working to prevent security vulnerabilities.
If you’d like to know more about website maintenance and how we can help, contact your account manager at Barques for more information.