Regular website updates and maintenance are necessary to keep your site at optimal performance; if you don’t already have an upkeep strategy, the start of the new year is a great time to put one in place.
Many (if not most) small- to medium-sized business owners are more willing to invest resources into creating their websites than they are into maintaining their site. Here at Spilled Milkshake Designs, we believe that creating a site is just the first step in a dynamic process that continues to require attention.
Neglecting website maintenance is essentially undercutting all the money and resources that went into developing that site in the first place: you’re basically allowing an important asset to go down the drain, taking your brand value with it.
This is especially relevant for eCommerce merchants. For you, the digital retail sales space is the great equalizer against the Amazons, Alibabas, and eBays of the world. At the same time, it means you have an extra responsibility to keep your online presence user-friendly and make sure you always have up-to-date security against hackers.
Website Maintenance Affects More than You Might Think
A neglected website is much like an automobile left unattended in a yard or driveway. For a while, it will probably still work fine. Over time, however, it will start to rust…the paint will start to bubble and the chrome will flake…the tires will get eaten by dry rot and go flat. Eventually, it will become unusable.
Your website is similar: left alone, it will work more-or-less the way it was programmed…at first. Then small problems–a broken link, a non-loading image–start to take away some of the shine. Over time, more outdated content and klunky interface problems begin eating way at the functionality. Emails get lost. 404 Error messages flash. Even navigation becomes difficult. And just like the car in our illustration, the site will at some point simply crash beyond repair.
And the thing is, those are just the obvious problems–there’s also activity going on behind the scenes. Take load speeds, for example: band-aid software patches and cobbled-on stopgap solutions may not seem to affect performance right away, but each extra piece of code added to a site slows down the system. Individually, each quick fix might not be noticeable, but over time they can greatly reduce speed–and that can kill your Google rankings.
Then there are security issues: last year’s protection is virtually useless against this year’s hackers, and not meeting the latest compliance regulations could earn you a fat fine. Plus, struggling along on older plug-ins could make customers frustrated enough to give up: remember, your competitor is only a click away.
Even out-of-date content could be hurting you: inaccurate product descriptions or photos can lead to returned merchandise–or worse, chargebacks. Not having the latest information on your shipping and return policies is also a major source of customer chargebacks. That translates to fees, fines, lost merchandise, and unhappy consumers that combine to tarnish your reputation.
How Website Updates Can Help
A regular website maintenance schedule should address all of these problems, and more:
- Safeguard against the latest security threats
- Identify and resolve any broken links
- Improve load speeds to drive SEO and increase ranking
- Replace older plug-ins with the latest versions for optimized effectiveness
- Clean up code to eliminate bloat and ensure streamlined performance
- Make sure content, images, and policies are always up-to-date
Ongoing maintenance service is essential to keep your site up and running; they can also improve the overall user experience and promote your company’s brand image.
Sure, it’s an easy thing to let slide if funds are tight. But prevention is almost always going to be cheaper than trying to correct problems (and any damage those problems caused). That’s why most merchants are better off with a scheduled website tune-up (at least quarterly, but preferably monthly) that simply becomes part of the operating budget.
Just like a neglected car, foregoing maintenance on your site can lead to extensive and costly repairs–as well as downtime that can cost you customers and money. Talk to the experts here Spilled Milkshake, and let us give you a no-obligation quote for keeping your website running and your customers happy.