By Matthew Beck
Once your website has been created, it now falls to you to keep it in shape.
(Or - if you'd rather someone else did it, take a look at our management service).
While your shiny new site will start to work for you the moment it goes live, it also starts to slowly slip out of date from that same moment. Let's run through the best ways you can move forwards and keep your website in great condition.
Unless you've got an incredibly simple site, your website is built within a system that won't stay in the same condition for long. This might not always be an issue, new versions often bring new features that without further development may not bring any benefit to you.
That said, new versions often also bring security updates and performance improvements that you really don't want to miss out on.
But what should be updated, how often and how?
Start with the core systems.
If you're working with a content management system (CMS) like Wordpress or Bolt, make sure to keep those systems updated, at least once each month.
[Side Note] Watch out for major version jumps, going from version 3.3 to 3.4 shouldn't cause any trouble, but going from 3.4 to 4.0 might break your website. Save those updates for your developer!
If you've got plugins or extensions on your site, make sure to update those as soon as new versions come out. Once a week should be enough.
The coding language that runs your site will also move forwards and you can't stay with an old version forever. Get updated to the latest version as soon as possible, but you're safe to only check this a few times a year.
It might be tempting to add shiny new features onto your website once everything is up and running. Some content management systems make it easy to add a new plugin that'll allow for something new to appear in no time at all.
This is easily the most common cause of a website going downhill as each plugin comes with a bunch of hidden consequences.
Every plugin added will cause your website to load a little more slowly.
Every plugin added makes your site a little more vulnerable to being broken in to.
Every plugin added makes the website more complicated, which leads to issues that get harder and harder to fix.
It's never a good idea to consider your website 'finished'. Consider it instead as a work in progress, as something that you can always improve on.
Some things just become less relevant or correct as time goes on. Making the necessary updates will keep your visitors from realising that they're reading something that is falling completely out of date.
New content is also an absolute must.
Work to add a new page, blog post or article at least once per month, if not once per week. This will give you some added interest from search engines as well, aiding your SEO.
I'm Matthew Beck, web designer, developer and owner of Lightspeed Digital. We create bespoke websites from scratch, working with any industry. To find out what we can do for you, call 01273 421702 or send us message at: lightspeed-digital.com/contact
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