You know at least one person who woke up to the notice “your website has been hacked!”. There’s no such thing as a set it and forget it website. Over time, without routine maintenance, a site gets slower, less secure, and out of date. There are several reasons to provide for monthly maintenance. Here are three important ones.
Websites Get Slower
Modern websites are database-driven. That means there’s a database full of content that is served on demand. But a database often stores more than presentation content. It can store data about visitors and edits that ultimately makes it larger and less efficient, slowing down the site. Routinely optimizing the database and removing clutter is crucial. You can automate this process to some degree, but not with 100% reliability.
Hacking is a Given
All websites are vulnerable to attacks that include defacing and other vandalism, and hacking for utilization as a SPAM gateway. New exploits are developed daily’ and most of the risk comes from not keeping all the site components up to date and not applying current standard security measures. Pinching pennies on maintenance can see your site turn into a porn redirect at some vulnerable moment like right before a holiday. Security can never be automated, because even automated tools become obsolete. Nor can they cover everything. They can assist, but even they need watching. Routine maintenance isn’t a guarantee against attacks, either but, with human intervention, your chances are better.
Websites Have Many Licensed Parts
Websites have a lot of components. Every social media integration, special feature, and non-native functionality probably involves a license, an API key, or some other dependency that can go out of date. The more stuff, the more likely it is. You can automate some updates, but in other cases license terms change, keys expire, or integration methods change. Sometimes functions are simply discontinued and no longer supported, sometimes with no notice. Besides the security issues in that obsolescence, there are parts of your site that can just decay and stop working. There are incompatibilities that arise. You may not even notice that something is awry; if a contact form stops working, how would you know?
Don’t Just Trust Your Web Designer
Just because a web design studio builds you a website doesn’t mean they’re automatically responsible to maintenance it properly. And even if you have a maintenance contract, best practice would be to set a calendar reminder and manually test your website pages once/month. To monitor downtime, you can also sign up for a monitoring service like uptime.com Make sure, also, that your site is setup properly in a Google Webmaster Tools account that you own. Google will alert you to some major issues when all else fails.
A mix of automated tools on the back end of the website, for backup, optimization, updates, and security, along with regular human intervention, and some routine best practices on your part can ensure your website stays fast, stable, secure, and effective. If you want help with that, contact MadPipe. We’ll help you out.