TLC for TLD
Are you providing any TLC (Tender Loving Care) for your TLD (Top Level Domain)?
By TLD, we’re referring to your .com, .org, or .net Internet “site”.
More specifically, we’re referring to your website!
Most of us are concerned with issues that affect our general well-being.
Examples include our personal health, or the condition of our homes, automobiles and other valuable assets.
We typically take proactive measures to care for or maintain them. And to mitigate possible injury or loss, we often insure them.
So, why do we so often ignore our investment in our website?
Our websites are often the lifeblood of our business, and our business is our livelihood.
Indirectly, our website helps pay for all of the other things in our lives (previously mentioned) that we value and protect.
Yet, we often leave our websites to fend for themselves.
We allow them to float aimlessly through cyberspace without a pilot, copilot, OR even a reliable autopilot.
A Website Will Not Maintain Itself
Regular, ongoing website maintenance and monitoring is essential for its health and performance.
And when your business website plays a major role in your overall business Marketing Strategy, there’s a LOT at stake!
Website Maintenance and Management tasks include, but are not limited to:
- Software updates
- Data backups
- Keeping content up-to-date
- Tweaking design & usability issues
There are many types of software updates (and/or upgrades).
Typically, software updates are made available to:
- Fix bugs in an algorithm
- Address security issues, or…
- Provide additional functionality
Depending on your web host, their software upgrade policies & procedures (and other factors), updates are not always installed automatically. This is because they can temporarily create unintended problems.
Likewise, websites that are NOT kept current with the latest software might be vulnerable to security breaches.
Either way, there are potential problems.
Also, precautions must be taken to protect your website data before you update any software. Thorough testing should be performed after a major update.
There are so many ways your website data can be lost or destroyed, including:
- Malware infections
- Hacker attacks, and…
- User errors
To protect your website, a backup (or copy) of your website files, software, and databases should be created at a specified time interval or following other rules as part of a comprehensive “Data Recovery Plan“.
This plan should also include a foolproof method of restoring your backed-up files so that your website is up and running in the shortest time possible.
There is nothing more frustrating for a website visitor than discovering outdated content, including:
- Phone numbers that are out-of-service
- Broken navigation links, or…
- General information about your business that is obsolete or incomplete (for example, your “hours of operation”)
Remember, the purpose of your website is to provide timely and useful information to your existing and potential customers!
Tweaking Design & Usability
As hard as one may try, it is not always possible to predict how your site visitors will perceive, and interact with, your website.
If they are experiencing problems, pay attention!
Especially if you are hearing the same complaints repeatedly. Sometimes it may only require a few tweaks to fix the problem.
The bottom line?
Address website issues as soon as possible.
Don’t allow them to fester and lead to lost revenues as a result.
Disclaimer: This article does NOT address major updates to website content, such as new blog posts or major website redesigns. These tasks typically fall outside the scope of ongoing website maintenance.
What Are The Consequences?
If one ignores these website maintenance tasks, any combination of the following scenarios are possible:
- Total loss of data with no possibility of recovery (It still happens!)
- Partial loss of data requiring a lengthy recovery process
- Loss of functionality (and discovering the problem well after the fact)
- Lost customers due to downtime or slow, sluggish website performance
- Lost customers due to incorrect or outdated content
- Confused customers that move on to a competitor’s website
Any of these issues can result in a loss of valuable time, money, and sanity.
Who Will Keep Your Website Healthy?
Here are your options:
- D-I-Y (Do it yourself)
- Outsource “as-needed”
- Purchase a maintenance plan
Option 1: Do It Yourself
If you have the time, patience, and expertise, by all means D-I-Y.
Unfortunately, our experience has shown that the D-I-Y approach rarely gets things done long-term. When you have a business to run, maintaining your website is often the first thing that falls to the wayside when there is insufficient time or expertise available.
Option 2: “As-needed” Outsourcing
While it is certainly better than doing nothing at all, outsourcing on an “as-needed” basis is an exercise in repairing damage already done.
An “as-needed” response is typically one that summons help AFTER a website problem is discovered, and AFTER you have potentially lost sales or customers as a result.
Option 3: Maintenance Plan
The best choice for many business website owners is to consider an ongoing maintenance plan.
This approach enables proactive measures to be taken that avoid many problems, and quick responses when website issues suddenly occur.
Pay Now or Later?
Whichever maintenance option you choose, properly maintaining one of your most valuable assets — your website — will keep it healthy and performing at peak levels.
Ignoring website maintenance tasks can become a regrettable mistake.
You can pay now, or pay later, but as in most cases when one procrastinates, “paying later” usually ends up costing more. Sometimes a LOT more.
Sickness comes on horseback but departs on foot. ~ Dutch Proverb