Why Should I Maintain My Website?
Posted by Ruth Graham

WHY SHOULD I MAINTAIN MY WEBSITE?

I heard the most astounding statement from a client recently with regard to website maintenance. He said he “wasn’t really bothered” about how his (own) company’s website performed. When I asked him why, he said, “We’re going to do a leaflet drop soon. That will bring in a bit more work I’m sure.”

Just to clarify at this point, he is from the older generation and doesn’t ‘get’ what a website is actually for, let alone what you have to do to make it work properly. But even so – I was astounded.

I sat down with him for an hour and tried to explain how it all works, and in the process, made quite a lot of notes. Rather than waste them, it seemed the ideal opportunity to share, and clarify some of the issues. I hope anyone reading this article finds it helpful.

I HAVE A WEBSITE NOW ISN’T THAT ENOUGH?

It’s a good start. As I explained to my client who was so focused on his leaflet-drop, having a website is like having access to hundreds of thousands of letterboxes. But metaphorically speaking, you have to find the ‘right’ letterboxes to drop through. This happens in a variety of ways, and one of those is via website maintenance.

Hopefully, your website is all set up properly (at this juncture, I’d BEG you to get it done properly if you aren’t an expert). There are plenty of mid-range designers out there who will do you a site for a few hundred pounds – it really doesn’t  have to run into thousands. Check out people like
www.idesign4U.co.uk

Your well-set up website will include:
Great design and branding – relevant to what you are selling
Engaging content to keep a reader on the pages
Plenty of key words and phrases, that will show up in search engines
AND REGULAR UPDATES TO KEEP IT ACTIVE, RELEVANT AND VIRUS FREE!! 

Here’s the analogy – you buy a lovely dress, wear it to an up-market event and feel a million dollars. Everyone comments on how fantastic you look, and how well it fits. In short – it does the job perfectly.

When you get home, you take it off and throw it in the linen basket, where it languishes for a year until the next time you need it. When you take it out, it’s crumpled, a little musky smelling – maybe even home to a moth or two – nibbled and unusable.
That’s your website without maintenance. Your designer (or again, you, if you’re an expert), will keep things in tip-top condition for you.

  • Programme updates will be installed as and when they come out (software developers are constantly updating and improving their offering, and it’s important your site is running on the latest updates).
  • Your site will also be less prone to being hacked if it’s maintained. Defences will be much more robust, and anything untoward will be spotted in time.
  • In addition – you can help maintain your site with regular content updates (again, fed through your designer if you really can’t handle that part). This would comprise of:
  • Blogs – articles, news, instructional pieces, comment – anything pertinent to your site that can be loaded on for people to read. This serves two purposes – 1) readers can be entertained or informed by the writing and 2) Google will see your site as more ‘relevant’, because it is being regularly updated. Google loves fresh, updated and relevant content. It will rate you more highly than a competitor who lets their website just sit and stagnate with nothing new to say.
  • You can also update by way of images – products, services, people – whatever illustrates your pages to their best advantage. Or even videos – make them entertaining, information-packed or instructional.

There are loads of ways to make a website work for you. But again – I’d encourage anyone who doesn’t know what they are doing to leave it to a professional. There’s so much work that goes on behind the scenes to make it all happen, and without that knowledge, you’re setting yourself up for a fall.

As for the client – he didn’t take my advice. The staff were laid off in the new year, and the building is now up for sale. I feel incredibly sad, as the business had great potential. But a closed mind, meant the boss would always, unfortunately, be dealing with closed letterboxes……