So your fresh new website has launched? That’s great! Now you can sit back and relax and never have to worry about the website again. 

Well, not exactly.  Whether you have a simple informational website that showcases your business and services or a large, robust e-commerce platform, keeping your website up-to-date is important—not only so the information remains fresh and relevant, but also for the website’s ongoing security.

Update Content: Keep Your Site Fresh

I’ve worked on many client websites where we create tools so they can easily update and add new content to their website, only for those tools to go unused. It’s a common problem that, over time, leads to outdated information that can negatively affect a company’s image with customers.

Is that project your company completed ten years ago really the best way to represent your business today, or will visitors wonder if you are even still in business? Does Tom in sales still work at your company, or is the new salesperson that a customer is trying to find even listed? Do you still offer powerwashing, or did you start building decks two years ago with no mention of that on your website?

To avoid these pitfalls, it’s essential to use the content-updating tools provided, or to reach out to your web developer to regularly add fresh content to your site. By ensuring that your website advertises your business with the latest information, you can show that you are actively engaged in delivering great services. Fresh content will also signal to search engines that your website is still active.

Don’t let those tools go to waste—use them to keep your website fresh and relevant.

Maintain Security: Minimize Vulnerabilities

Unless your website has an out-of-box hosted solution that is automatically updated, the software that your website was built on hasn’t been updated since it was launched. “But my site is working just fine,” you might think. “Why do I need to update the software?”

The main reason is security. Hackers are regularly finding ways to exploit online website tools and the servers that they live on. Because of this, software developers regularly release security updates, and systems administrators (like me) are regularly installing patches on servers to address these issues. 

Here at Rare Bird, we install security updates for client websites as soon as we hear about them, and our servers are set up to automatically install patches. Additionally, we make sure that our servers are able to receive these automatic updates by keeping track of when software will no longer be supported and updating accordingly. 

If you are not our client, it is very important that you make sure that your host is regularly installing security updates to your website and your website’s server for you; don’t assume that they are. Several times, when a company has come to us after working with another firm, we have found that their websites were so heavily infected with malware that we had no choice but to completely rewrite the websites from scratch in order to restore proper functionality. To avoid finding your company in a similar situation, it’s crucial to prioritize website security and take proactive measures to prevent malware infections.

Stay ahead of the hackers—make sure you are receiving the security updates that you need.

Stay Relevant: Consider Your Customer’s Experience

The web has evolved significantly since Al Gore invented it. (I couldn’t resist.) A majority of users now browse the web on their phones or tablets, rather than laptops or desktops. Websites are now designed to be responsive, which means they adjust to fit the size of the screen they are viewed on rather than remaining a “fixed” size. If you’ve ever opened a website on your phone to find that the text was too small to read or you had to scroll from left to right to see the whole page, that site was likely created before it became standard to consider a mobile-friendly approach. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, though, it will frustrate visitors and search engines will lower it in their search rankings, making it harder for potential customers to even find in the first place. 

This is just one of the ways the web has changed over time, and a good reminder why you should consider an overall redesign of your website at least every 3-5 years. 

As technology advances and web professionals become even more innovative, businesses have access to a growing array of features to showcase their offerings online. If your potential customers find that a competitor’s website is attractive and user-friendly, while yours has poor readability, outdated design elements, and a contact form that fails to function on mobile devices, they are going to choose your competitor instead.

A Website Requires an Ongoing Commitment

A website isn’t just a one-and-done project. Regularly maintaining it involves time and attention to keep your website fresh, secure, and relevant. The time investment on your end doesn’t have to be daily or weekly, but every time something changes in your business—new service, new location, new employee, etc.—or something important or noteworthy happens (record year, goals achieved, favorite employee taco place found), it should be on your list to update your website. 

Your team can do this with the tools provided by your web developer, or you can reach out to your web developer to make the changes for you. While you’re talking to your web developer, make sure that they are installing software and server security updates for you. If they aren’t, ask them to start. If they won’t, I know an aviary-named modern marketing agency that can help. 

Finally, be sure to check in with your web developer regularly to discuss your website as a whole, if they aren’t already reaching out to you about this. They should be keeping track of the latest web trends and will be excited to implement some of them to enhance your website overall look and effectiveness.

Brad Meiser is a talented developer turned system administrator who transitioned into the role after learning on the job at Rare Bird. In addition to his SysAdmin duties, Brad also handles DevOps responsibilities, ensuring that websites remain secure and operate smoothly for both Rare Bird and its clients. He has worked at Rare Bird since 2010.

Ready to talk with a company that’s built custom websites for businesses in every industry and market sector over the last 25 years?

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