What Happens if You Don’t Maintain Your Website?

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All websites, old and new, require maintenance to stay healthy, safe, fast and rank!

Did you know: 

  • Globally, 30,000 websites are hacked daily (source)
  • Only 6% of websites run on software that is fully up to date (source)
  • 47% of websites let their entire software catalog go out of date (source)

A one-second delay in page loading can reduce page views by 11% (source)

If you do not continuously or not properly update your website, you can experience the following issues: 

  • A high probability of site hacking or hacker attacks
  • Decreased site speed and therefore loss of positions in search
  • A poor user experience – photos disappearing and content not properly showing up
  • Outdated plugins or content management systems leading to site failure

Let’s walk through website maintenance, its importance of it, and what tasks should be done.

What is website maintenance and who needs it?

Website maintenance is a set of actions focused on maintaining a website in good working order. If you’ve built your website on a self hosted site, like Squarespace website maintenance is done for you. But if you’ve created a WordPress website (or some others like Wix) you will need to perform the web maintenance yourself, or have a company (like Digital Giants) do it for you.

Why is website maintenance important?

The most important reasons for performing maintenance tasks are:

  1. Site security: Having old and outdated software, themes or plugins is one of the main culprits when it comes to hacking or malware issues. Outdated core WP software can leave sites vulnerable because these updates are created to address high level security issues. And there is a trickle effect: if you do not update core software you may not be able to update your themes and plugins), and hence your site becomes even more vulnerable.
  2. User experience: Your brand’s reputation relies on users having a good experience on your website. If your website becomes slow, has broken links, or even worse isn’t usable because no maintenance has been done, then you are losing potential customers and therefore losing money.
  3. Search engine rankings: Without proper website maintenance your website can become slow and therefore you may not rank as well, or at all. What does that mean: customers won’t be able to find you as easily when they search for your products or services. Page speed is a known ranking factor since Google’s Algorithm Speed Update. However, speed can also affect rankings indirectly, by increasing the bounce rate and reducing time on page. 

Long-term cost savings; Fixing vs. Maintaining

In the long run, doing regular maintenance on your website will help keep it running smoothly, and therefore less likely to have issues that require you to hire a web developer. If maintenance is not done, you may end up with more costly fixes needed after the fact. 

Consider this: A Digital Giants basic website maintenance package costs (in 2022) $175 CAD per month.

Let’s say you spent $9,000 on your brand new website.

If you added a basic website maintenance package it would cost $2,100 per year.

12 months x $175 website maintenance = $2,100

If your website gets hacked and you had to rebuild your website you would be spending another $9,000, OR if you needed to quickly make a fix to your site due to an outdated plugin for instance, you would be spending $200 per hour to fix the issue.

Overall it just makes financial sense to maintain your website. Would you really avoid oil changes and tire rotations on your car? Like a car, a website needs regular maintenance. 

Consequences of not maintaining your website

Here are some real-world examples of what could happen if you don’t maintain your website.

Example #1: Outdated plugin causes compatibility issue

An organization forgets to update their plugins. They start noticing images disappearing, content formatting issues, like colour and fonts, etc. 

Example #2: Outdated WordPress site gets hacked

A business site becomes a destination for one of the Internet’s favourite past times, porn. The interface was taken over by another site and it took some significant time and resources to regain the site and continue business as usual. 

Example #3: Outdated theme and CMS

A service based business’ content management system and theme became significantly outdated to the point where they can no longer be updated. The website needs to be rebuilt from scratch. 

wordpress update dashboard

What does website maintenance involve?

WordPress updatesthat include updates of:

  • WordPress – developed by the Core WP team and requires frequent updates
  • Plugins – developed and maintained by third-party developers
  • Themes – developed and maintained by third-party developers

Backups of your site to a third party – daily backups ensure you can always revert to a previous version of the site. 

Running a site audit to find error pages – stop 404 errors from ruining your user experience and SEO

Finding and fixing broken links – running a site audit to find broken links can not only hurt your conversion rate but can also negatively affect SEO indirectly due to bounce rate, time on site, and directly by sending Google negative signals like your site may be old or not maintained.

Running a site speed test – it’s proven that Google’s algorithm loves fast websites. Monitor site speed and taking appropriate steps to keep it running fast such as optimizing images, reducing HTTP requests, etc.

Testing of site forms – forms should be checked regularly to ensure they are working properly, being sent from the correct email and users receive the correct message upon submitting.

Deleting spam comments – Spam comments are a big security risk – many are just, well, annoying, but some can actually add malware on your site.

Let us help

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of running your business, that website maintenance may get easily forgotten about. 

If you have any questions contact us today.

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