5 Important Things to Keep Your Website Healthy
Do you think of your website as the hardest working and cheapest employee on the payroll. If not, you probably should.
- It works 24 hours a day for you
- It never needs a bathroom break
- It never takes a sick day
- It never needs vacation time
- It never gets tired — or does it?
The truth is, your website does get tired, in the rhetorical sense. You see, your website requires maintenance to keep it working fast and efficiently and the fact is, most small businesses just don’t do it. They invest in a beautifully designed website and it’s only a matter of time before it’s taken for granted and left fending for itself on the world wide web. It’s dangerous out there! There are bots everywhere that are trying to take your website down or exploit it’s functionality for their own greedy purposes. While most of us regularly care for our cars, our homes and our toys, we neglect our websites. Why? Simply because most small business owners don’t know that their website needs to be maintained and if they do, they don’t know where to start. So here they are; the five most important things you can do to keep your website healthy and functioning efficiently.
1. Keep Content Current – An important part of maintaining your website is keeping the content up to date. This of course is rather obvious, but still often overlooked. When a visitor arrives at your site looking for information about your business, they expect to find accurate information. If instead they encounter inaccurate information and a blog that hasn’t been posted to in months, needless to say they aren’t impressed.
2. Update Your Software – Your website relies on a whole lot of code every single time it gets served up to a site visitor. Software companies often release security patches and other updates that are essential to keeping evrything running properly and securely. Allowing your website to run on outdated software can leave you vulnerable to brute force attacks that can crash your website or leech the server resources that you are paying for.
3. Check Error Logs – Your web hosting server keeps various logs that track errors occurring during day to day operation of your website. You can access the logs through your cPanel and should do so on a regular basis. These logs will tell you if something isn’t quite right with your website. Even if your website appears fine, it could be slowly dying and a regular check of the error logs can save it before its too late.
4. Clean Up Files – Just like your home or office computer, your website accumulates files over time that can slow things down. Many are under the impression that all this is automatically handled by their hosting company, but that is typically not the case. Web Hosting is like leasing property; you get space and you are responsible for the upkeep of your space and whatever goes on inside it. Old image files, documents, cache files, bloated log files, are all examples of things that need to be cleared out on a regular basis.
5. Keep Back-Ups – We’re all constantly reminded about the importance of backing up our files, but most of us aren’t all that diligent about doing so. Think about the money you spent or the time you invested in developing your website. Now think about the many megabytes of files that make up your website. Do you have a copy of those files anywhere other than on your web hosting server? Now it’s true that most web hosting companies keep backups but why trust someone else with your investment. Your cPanel has a backup feature that allows you to download a compressed backup of your website and you should do it regularly. Every week or so, create a backup and save it to a thumb drive. If anything ever goes wrong, you’re golden.
So there you have it. Five things that will help you keep your website healthy, happy and working hard for your business. Perhaps you don’t feel comfortable doing the things I’ve outlined here. Considers having an employee spend a few hours each month taking care of these tasks. If that’s not an option, consider a maintenance plan. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee each day, you can have all these things and more done by a professional. Even with the cost of a maintenance plan, your website will still be the hardest working and cheapest employee on the payroll.