Many of us like to think of a websites like a Crockpot-- set it and forget it. Sooner or later though, left unattended the Crockpot is going to burn dry. The most effective sites-- ones that engage consumers, leverage the power of social media, and drive business require attention on a more regular basis. Here are some basics for the care and feeding of websites so that they stay strong, healthy, and ready to work.
Websites Need Check-ups
Whatever framework a website is built with, it will require maintenance and regular security updates. Just like a car that isn’t maintained, a website will start to run rough and it will eventually breakdown. With regular attention, maintenance should require a minimal amount of time and effort. Letting updates snowball until there’s a problem can result in a site being down for an extended period of time. Think of the difference between the 30 minute oil change versus an complete engine overhaul. It’s much more cost effective in terms of both time and money to maintain a site (or car) than repair it.
They Get Bored, er Boring
Think of your website as your number one customer service rep that’s always on 24/7. If your best customer asked “what’s new?”, how would your site respond? Would you expect your best rep to just shrug and say “meh”? Without fresh content, what’s a website to do? It needs new and engaging content if it’s going to draw visitors in and keep them coming back. Your website is the perfect place to showcase new products or lines of business, share industry news, and provide your visitors with information they can use.
Websites Can Get Lost and Lonely
It’s a big Internet out there and competition can be fierce. With proper site optimization for SEO, you can make sure your website is more social butterfly than wallflower. This can and should be a process. Done properly, SEO is like finishing school. Taking a “short-cut” or crashing the party with overdone and/or illicit SEO can get you booted or permanently banned. For more on that, see here.
Sad, but true. With regular maintenance and some luck, you may get 200,000 miles out of a car. Eventually it will no longer be cost effective to keep it on the road. Similarly, websites do reach a point where they should just be replaced. With rapid advances in technology, this can be a great opportunity to insure that a site is leveraging the latest in mobile access. It can also be a natural time to look at an overall rebranding. Aging is to be expected, and just like budgeting and planning to replace a vehicle every so often, site replacement should be included in your long-term technology plan.
So, take care of your website. Treat it like you would a new car. Keep it clean, up to date, and in good working condition. It represents a significant investment into your brand. And, it’s a small price to pay for your hardest working 24/7 customer service agent.