The 5 biggest Website Maintenance Mistakes that Business Owners Make
We are going to look at some of the top mistakes a business owner makes in regards to their website. These are all issues I have run into over the years while helping clients with their sites.
Mistake #1 – Doing nothing!
Some business owners have a web company build a website for them and then think that is all they need to do. They don’t do anything else with the website. We have had many clients over the years come to us with a website that is so old we cannot do much in the way of edits or updates. It is important to maintain your website on a regular basis to avoid hacking and other issues.
Also, like a garden, without some nurturing your website will die away. After time it will drop in rankings and be overtaken by your competition.
Mistake #2 – Rely on your Hosting Company to do Backups
Never rely on your hosting company to run a regular backup of your website. If you are on a service like GoDaddy they might offer backups of your site each night but you need to check.
You can ask your hosting company if they have a backup plan in place for your website. Ask them where backups are being stored. Ask them how will they restore your site should something break. And also ask them how long it will take to get your website back up.
These are all important questions when you rely on your site for e-commerce, bookings or sales.
Mistake # 3 – No Disaster Recovery Plan
This ties back into the backups point in Mistake #2. What should you do if something does go wrong?
Did you know you are responsible to make sure that if your site is hacked and customer information is stolen you have to notify your customers of the breach? If it is found that you have been negligent in keeping your site secure you could be liable, also how you handled the breach is going to affect your outcome. There is insurance available to business owners that will help limit your liability. If you take credit cards on your website or if you maintain a database of personal information, store social security numbers or similar or medical information then you might want to look into getting some kind of “Cyber Insurance”.
For most businesses though keeping your site updated and having a plan in place should there be a breach is good practice.
A basic disaster recovery plan includes the following steps:
- Record your pertinent website information. Be sure that you know your login and password information.
- Perform and save regular backups of your website.
- Contact your hosting provider.
- Immediately notify the webmaster or IT person. Hopefully if you don’t have a back up, they will.
- If you cannot get the site back quickly, then add a 503 Status page.
- Analyze why it went down.
- Remove any malware, hacking issues or database errors.
- Determine an implementation plan for recovering your website.
- Keep an extra copy of your website data in a safe place.
- Once back up, run a link check and malware check on the site.
- Verify all the pages are working.
Mistake #4 – Trying to do it all yourself
Business owners are notorious for wanting to do everything themselves. Especially if they are working on a tight budget. Often times we think we can do it quickly and easily but do you know all the steps you need to take to stop your website disappearing from the search engines when you build a new site? How about how to write good SEO copy?
I had a client who had an old WordPress site, regardless of the age, it ranked really well, and it kept the phone ringing. While it was old, we had spent a lot of time optimizing it with keywords, internal linking and it ranked well in the search engines for the keywords.
Then one day one of her employees decided that the site wasn’t’ ‘pretty’ and she built a new site on WIX. Within a few weeks the phone stopped ringing. The business was no longer on the first page of Google, she was gone! What had happened is the while best intentions were in place the person that changed her site had no understanding of how websites rank, how they get in the search engines and why the old site, while a little ugly kept the phone ringing. What happened was a frantic phone call from the client to our office asking us to rebuild the website and get her rankings back. It took a frantic weekend building her site back but it took a few months before we were able to get her ranked on the first page again.
The moral of the story is that you probably “don’t know, what you don’t know” and that can be pretty dangerous when it comes to your business website.
Mistake # 5 – Lacking Expertise & Knowledge
We touched on this in the example above. Today there are many nuances to a website that unless you are living and breathing web development daily you probably don’t know about. For example; are you aware of the privacy laws that require you to have a privacy statement on your website? What about American Disability Act in regards to websites? This is all important content that is now required. Not having it can get you sued. Here is a great recent article that talks about this very issue.
Solutions – A Website Care Plan with a Trusted Web Company
Having a good webmistress (or webmaster, either works) is important, someone who has been working in the industry a while, not someone from Fiver or Upwork that is like is a one time connection, they can be great but I have seen a lot of ‘hacked code’ that could leave a website vulnerable.
Work with a reliable person that you can trust that understands your business, your website, the plugins you use and how your site is set up is important to keep your site healthy and functioning and less likely to get hacked.
We offer our clients a simple care plan that will give you that peace of mind when it comes to your websites health, they are affordable and paid monthly with no contract.