Website maintenance might not be rocket science in the literal sense, but when you think about it, the metaphor is apt:  a secure, well-maintained, and well-designed website can launch your company into the stratosphere… proverbially speaking. Or at the very least, it can be the booster rocket that helps to get you there. After all, it’s the front face of your company online, and often the first time a potential client will interact with you.

If someone were to ask you why they should bring their car into the shop for routine maintenance, you’d probably stammer for a moment, question your sanity, and then flatly ask if they were joking. I mean… it’s their car. It’s among the most basic if→then statements imaginable. If you don’t maintain your vehicle, then it will not run properly.

Websites aren’t too dissimilar:  they cost a fair amount to acquire, have a lot of moving parts, and without regular maintenance will eventually break down. The difference is that instead of compromising your safety, a poorly maintained website leaves both your company and clients vulnerable to security breaches and poor performance. So why do so many companies not have routine maintenance plans for their websites?

The easy answer is that most people just don’t know any better. For the overwhelming majority, the only time they interact with a website is as a user, so they don’t see all the hidden machinery. 

The reality is that between the front-end (the client side) and the back-end (the server side), websites are comprised of dozens of different technologies — from the core components that the user interacts with (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript); to the plugins, libraries, and frameworks that help them run; to the web server (e.g. Apache), programming languages (Python, PHP, etc.), databases (e.g. MySQL), API’s, content management systems (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla), and web development frameworks (.Net, Ruby on Rails, etc.) that make up the engine-like server architecture… and more.

Especially where the back-end stack is concerned, the critical nature of these components necessitates your attention. No application is without fault, and when developers notice a bug in their software, they release a fix. (More on this in an upcoming post.) A lot of people think of updates as something they can ignore. After all, there are just so many of them. It’s exhausting to keep up! But these updates are being released for a good reason. And often, that reason is security.

While protecting your website and your clients is perhaps the biggest reason you should have a routine maintenance plan, there’s another one that should always be on your mind:  your competitor. Unless you created a singular niche in an obscure end of your industry, chances are you’re competing for eyeballs. Customer retention has to be a priority! 

One part of keeping your customers engaged, in addition to providing a great product for them, is user-friendliness — that is, making sure they can easily navigate your website. Just think about how many times you’ve gotten frustrated with a clunky user interface before. Or even worse, maybe you’ve found yourself trapped in a corn maze of irrelevant, broken, or misleading links, clicking in circles until your frustration boils over. We can think of a dozen examples from household name companies just off the top of our heads!

When we go to a company’s site, we expect ease of use. We expect to be able to find the information we are looking for easily, and that the site’s organizational logic will at least be more sensible than the Mad Hatter’s tea party. If a prospective or current client finds themselves in this situation, that frustration is going to carry them straight to the better maintained website of your competitor.

At the end of the day maintaining your website is a reflection on you. A positive visitor experience will reflect well, benefiting your corporate image, while a negative experience can be the thing that sends them running for the hills. A website that is slow to load, has broken elements, or is filled with errors is not the image you want to project to the world. Whether you like it or not, it sends a message that, “we don’t care… and if we don’t care about ourselves, how much will we care about you?”

Website maintenance might not be rocket science in the literal sense, but when you think about it, the metaphor is apt:  a secure, well-maintained, and well-designed website can be the thing that launches your company into the stratosphere… or send it crashing back down to earth. Do you have a plan?

Contact JNT TEK for help on developing a plan for maintaining your website.

Published On: October 22nd, 2019Categories: Articles

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