There are many important aspects of effective online marketing, but one VIP frequently doesn’t get the attention it deserves – website maintenance. Website maintenance should be at the core of every home care digital marketing strategy. Similar to maintaining a car, websites need regular checkups to ensure that everything is in working order and functioning in a safe and efficient manner.
Think of it this way: when you buy a new car, you don’t buy it thinking nothing will go wrong; you buy it because you need it. Then, you care for it so it will last a long time. The same is true for your website. You have a website because marketing your home care agency in today’s digital world requires one, but, just like your car, it doesn’t come with a no-fail guarantee.
Content Management System (CMS) websites, such as those that run on WordPress, are like cars: they need to have their oil changed, air filters changed, and fluids topped off every now and then. Except, instead of oil and air filters, plugins need updating, security holes need patching, etc. And occasionally, something on the site will break, and you’ll have to pay a “mechanic” to get under the hood and troubleshoot, and then pay to have it fixed. Otherwise, your site could get hijacked by viruses or hackers and leave you broken down on the side of Google highway.
While all this seems like a no-brainer, people often come up with plenty of excuses not to keep up with website maintenance. Here are a few that we often hear:
1. My website is a bit slow, but everything else is fine.
Actually, no, everything is not fine. Website speed is an important factor in both user experience and SEO. Pages with a longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates and lower average time spent on the page. Slow loading time has also been shown to negatively affect conversion rates . Additionally, Google has indicated site speed (and as a result, page speed) is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages .
Your website speed can be affected by a number of crucial things, like outdated software, malware, or other issues, and search engines will take note and dock sites for mechanical deficiencies. What’s worse is that sites that don’t install the regularly released updates are more prone to malware, viruses and hacking attempts, which can also work against SEO and potentially get your site blacklisted.
2. No one wants to hack my little old home care website.
This is a common misconception in our industry; after all, who would want to hack a small home care website? However, small business websites are exactly the type of sites that hackers are targeting. Why? Hackers know that many small business owners don’t take the necessary steps to ensure that their sites are updated and secure, and will take advantage of the security gaps in order to install malware that can ruin a website.
Also, it’s important to understand that hackers aren’t sitting around hacking into websites manually. Sophisticated hackers send armies of trolling bots out onto the web to find small business sites that don’t have the latest software updates installed. Keeping up with web maintenance helps to ensure that your site has the most up-to-date security features and patches and is free of viruses and malware.
3. We’ll just clean off viruses/malware if we get them.
Oftentimes, companies take the wait-and-see approach to web maintenance, assuming that if they get hacked, they’ll just deal with it then. The problem is that, these days, it’s not a matter of IF your page will be hacked; it’s WHEN. When a site is hacked and malware is uploaded, it’s often undetectable from the outside. In fact, an infected website may function normally while spreading that infection to unaware users and possibly even other servers without anyone ever knowing until site speed starts to slow or Google itself tags your site as harmful. Once they are discovered, these infections can take a lot of time and money to clean up, and in the meantime, you risk being blacklisted by Google, which will cause your site’s rank to plummet.
Keeping a car running at top speed takes some time and effort, and the same is true for your website. Web maintenance and SEO share a close relationship, and keeping up with regular maintenance can ensure your website functions and ranks at the highest level so you can get the most out of your online marketing. If you need assistance keeping your site safe and secure with routine maintenance, contact the web maintenance experts at corecubed. Our team keeps current on the latest WordPress security so we can help our clients stay fully functional online.
About the Author
Amy Selle is Managing Director for corecubed and acts as a strategic marketing partner to corecubed clients, helping them achieve results in an increasingly dynamic marketplace. She believes that in a competitive market where all businesses have the same services to sell, it is a company’s brand and the ways it communicates with its constituents that set it apart from the pack.