Imagine you just bought a new car. You probably want to keep it clean, get it serviced and ensure it’s parked somewhere safe.
This feeling probably lasts for a year, or maybe a few years. But eventually, your ‘new car’ starts to become just ‘your car’. At this point, you might not care as much how it looks, whether its serviced or even safe. You use it when you need to.
In my role at Brandastic, working with companies on their UX and eCommerce websites, I notice that this same behavior starts to creep in. When a website is new, the company is excited about it. They look at it all the time, they show it off to customers, and they want to keep it up-to-date.
Over a few years, things start to slide. The security patches on the back-end don’t get updated, the content and design is left alone, and the whole site is left to run in the background of the business.
The main reasons I hear from business owners that they don’t update their websites:
“It takes too much time”
“I don’t want to spend money on upgrades”
“I just don’t see the value of doing incremental updates.”
When this happens, a lot of business owners will notice that:
- Their website is running slower than it used to
- There are more spambot inquiries or comments
- The volume of traffic to the site starts dropping off
- The SEO rankings start to decline
Like a store with a broken window
One of the problems with websites is that they are intangible. You can’t touch them or interact in a physical way. For this reason, they start to get neglected. They are just part of the business that serves a purpose, like a car that is used to drive around in.
If a retail store had a broken window in the front, they would get it repaired within a day or less. Not only would the damaged window be a security issue, but it would also reflect poorly on the image of the business. But when it comes to virtual stores, many businesses won’t fix the broken windows. They ignore security patch updates, and they let plugins get out of date.
Making sure you’re covered
A few years ago, the Target data breach showed that even the largest companies, with millions of dollars at their disposal, can have issues. That’s why for small-to-medium companies, compliance is critical. Think about it: every time you shop on Amazon, or use Netflix, you would expect their security patches to be up to date. The same is true for your customers. They want to know that you have them covered.
Quick updates save long-term problems
Just like a regular visit to the mechanic can save your car from expensive repairs down the road, your website will work much better if you keep it updated.
To do this, you need to:
- Update security patches for platforms such as Magento and WordPress
- Ensure your website is running the current theme versions
- Check plugins are running the latest versions
- Regularly update your content to ensure SEO keyword relevance
Yes, it can seem like extra work. Yes, it might not seem to be helping you grow your sales. But over the long term, regular website maintenance shows to your customers that you care about them, and you that you want your business to be leading the way.