What is a website maintenance contract?
Basically it involves things like keeping plugins up to date, ensuring that the CMS code (usually WordPress) is up to date and patched to prevent future security issues, and the performance of regular tests to make sure the site continues to operate as intended.
How often should you update your website?
In this context, we are not talking about the design of your website but the upkeep of its software, which is vital to its security and function. You may have updated your website months back and thought, “Job Done”, not realising that it needs to be done regularly. We recommend at least once a week. It is not a once a year job like servicing your motor car.
Most business owners do not devote regular time to their websites. However, that can prove costly for your business if you are one of them. These days, many consumers check out the official website of any brands/business/company/product before making that buying decision. If you haven’t updated your site recently, it may lose ranking and be marked as suspicious or dangerous by the search engines and security software. This will, of course, make it difficult for you to find prospective customers.
Even if it has not been compromised it may contain broken links or non-functioning elements on its pages. This is a red flag to many shoppers who are these days getting very security conscious and it will very likely cause them to “run away” from your website.
Obviously, with your day to day business activities taking up most of your time, it is difficult to keep your website up-to-date even if you know how to do this without causing further issues yourself. If this is you, let me tell you that you have options. Instead of doing it yourself, you can opt for a website maintenance contract either with your website’s designer, or if you prefer, bring in another designer to do it for you. They will take care of all of of your updates and may even handle other website-related actions, e.g. editing, promotion and social media.
Before you make up your mind, go through some of the reasons why the website maintenance contract is a necessity these days. This is not an exhaustive list and you may also have your own reasons for going for a website maintenance contract.
1. Better Website Security:
One of the crucial tasks to complete from time to time is to update your content management system. Not only that, plug-ins and other such software also need updates from time to time. Every update of content management systems like WordPress and the plugins (even if they are inactive) offers quite a few things like:
- Sealing security loopholes that have been discovered recently
- New features that may provide useful function
- Efficient utilisation of resources
- Enhanced security features
Without these features, your website is vulnerable. Before you think that it will not happen with your website, let’s share an interesting stat with you.
According to Hiscox, hackers successfully attack one UK business every 19 seconds. That is over 4000 successful hacks in a day. Check out these two year old stats here. As you can imagine, it is worse now.
The best way to deal with this problem is to let a professional company handle the security of your website. By opting for a website maintenance contract, they will take care of the backups, content management system updates, plug-in updates, and so on. You will not have to worry about it and can get on with the running of your business.
Better security is one of the primary reasons why you should outsource your website maintenance.
2. Improves User Experience:
Have you inspected your website for broken images or links to non-existent pages or non-functioning software?
Is your website displaying errors on any page?
All these things deteriorate the user experience and as we know Google is all about user experience these days more than ever before. If the user experience is not optimum Google will not rank your website and users will not want to visit your website even if it does rank. In that case, your website traffic will go down month on month. It will start impacting your bottom line before very long.
Most companies offering website maintenance conduct a regular audit of your website. The audit lets them know about the broken elements and problems with your website that you may not be aware of. They will ensure that various aspects of your website work appropriately. Among other things these audits will include these basic elements:
- Image galleries
- Contact us forms
- Social media icons
- Newsletter signup forms
With these aspects of your website working properly, you can grow visitor numbers rather than lose them. The better user experience also provides you with an opportunity to gain social shares and backlinks. These, in turn, increase the visibility of your website further.
Better user experience also leads to a higher conversion rate. Consequently, the effect of a better user experience percolates down to your bottom line. This effect makes this maintenance necessary.
3. Increased Search Engine Traffic:
Google and other similar search engines prefer sites that regularly update or add content. So, if you have not kept your website’s software up to date and occasionally added some content, Google will notice and may assume that your website has been abandoned and an abandoned website is not something that they want to show in their search results.
When was the last time you added some content to your website?
As a business owner, you might simply not have the time to add content to your website. We understand that. However, some companies handle not only your corporate website but also its blog. They can update content regularly on your blog as well as on the business pages of your website. The regular rotation or addition of content certainly provides you with an edge over your competitors.
With this regular addition of content, you can get traffic from longtail keywords. That, in turn, will gain new customers. It is one way in which outsourcing website maintenance can help you get high search engine traffic.
However, there is another way.
Better user experience increases the time that users spend on your website. It decreases the bounce rate. The bounce rate denotes the percentage of visitors who close your website after going through just a single page of your website. It often happens when the website features are broken, or the site hasn’t been updated for some time. Regular updates decrease the bounce rate and increase the time which visitors spend on your website. It means the bounce rate would go down.
In general, websites with lower bounce rates rank higher in search engines. Therefore, once again, you will receive more visitors from search engines like Google.
4. Keeps Content Up-To-Date:
Most businesses launch new products or add new articles or offer something new from time to time. The problem is if you do not update your website, your prospective customers will not know about them.
These days, whenever a prospective customer hears about your business, they are highly likely to visit your website before engaging with your business in any other way. If your site is not updated, they might not be able to find what they’re looking for. In that case, they are unlikely to go ahead with their purchase decision.
There is no point in having 2015 details on your website in 2020. That will just cost you visitors and conversions. (Also,
after five years, your website is well overdue a complete redesign anyway) With updated content, your visitors will know about your new products and offerings. If you have an e-commerce page, the customers can directly buy the products as well.
The company that handles your website maintenance for you can do all of that for you. You need not devote your own time for the same. The latest content will undoubtedly benefit your business in the longer run.
5. Regular Backups?
What will you do if your website gets hacked TODAY ?
Do you have a recent backup of your website?
Most business owners do not even devote the time to create regular backups for their website. In case of data loss or a successful hacking attempt, they need to rebuild their website from scratch.
Can your business afford that if it happens today? Not just the cost of the replacement website, but the lost revenue dues to your website be closed until the new one can be launched. We are not even calculating the loss of reputation.
You can avoid this by just taking regular backups of your website. Since you aren’t able to devote the time to this, it is another thing that your website maintenance company will do for you. They can take regular backups for you and store them in your Dropbox account. It means that in the unfortunate event that there is a data loss or your website gets hacked, the restoration process will be quick and easy.
No need to wait for the new website or a big outlay to get your web designer to drop everything and rebuild your website for you. The cost of a website maintenance contract is much more affordable than the cost of a new website. Also, if your backup is recent and there have not been any changes since, you can may be up and running again as if nothing happened within minutes.
The negligible downtime also means that your search engine rankings will not dip. This cost-saving alone makes it economically viable to outsource website maintenance.
6. Much More Affordable Than Hiring an Employee:
Think about it for a minute! What choice you have?
You might have to hire an employee whose sole job is to look after your website. The salary of this an employee will be in tens of thousands of euros annually. Moreover, you will have to provide him/her with computer access and office space. Even if you let them work from home, the salary will still be a huge cost for your business.
On the other hand, hiring a professional website maintenance company frees you from all of that. Paying a fixed monthly fee to the company will free you from all these worries. You need not worry about dealing with an additional employee or training the employee or monitoring the employee. You can instead devote time to your business. Thus, even when you look at the alternatives, website maintenance outsourcing makes perfect sense.
As you can see from the highlighted above, the advantages of outsourcing website maintenance are undeniable. In fact, if you want your business website to remain online with a minimum of glitches, the maintenance is a necessity. It will free you up from looking after your website.