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Critical Website Care

You have a fantastic website. Compliments from customers are coming in and you’re seeing sales increasing. You pat yourself on the back for getting your business online and get on with work, leaving your website to do its job quietly in the background.

A few months later you start getting calls from customers to say that your website is inaccessible. Once you’ve hunted down the password, you eventually log in and the nightmare begins- your website has been the victim of a DDoS attack. This is just one possible scenario out of hundreds which could occur if you’re not regularly maintaining your website. You risk losing your carefully crafted site, SEO rankings, brand reputation and ultimately revenue, never-mind the cost of having to build a new website from scratch.

The good news is that you can massively reduce the risk of such incidents by ensuring that your website is well maintained. But what exactly does this entail? In a nutshell, the main aspects to take care of include:

  1. Site monitoring.
  2. Backing up
  3. Regular updates
  4. Security

Site Monitoring

Do you know how often your site experiences downtime? Are pages loading as fast as they need to with all aspects functioning as they should? You need to monitor and test your site regularly to ensure it is as healthy as possible and to identify any concerns before they become major issues.

Backups

How often you backup will depend on the website itself. An eCommerce site with a lot of traffic and regular changes will need to be backed up more often that a one-page lead generator. There are plugins which can automate your backups on a schedule, but you should always ensure that you have at least 3 copies of both your database and files, stored securely. One full, manual backup on an encrypted storage device, one backup in the cloud (such as using Backblaze, Amazon Web Services or Google Drive) and one backup on your site itself for quick access for a minor repair. Keep in mind that if you’re using a plugin for backing up and your site goes down properly, you’ll not be able to access the plugin so don’t get complacent and keep those off-site backups current!

Regular updates

Updates equal stronger functionality. Regardless the CMS you use and the plugins you’ve installed with it, there will always be updates to functionality, security and other features which need to be executed to avoid compatibility issues as well as to keep your site current, working well and safe. Script updates also play an important role; if you fail to regularly run updates on the site, there’s a strong chance that the website will be exposed to hacks.

Security

A well-maintained website with security vulnerabilities serves no benefit. Are your passwords secure? Is your site’s SSL certificate current? Is your firewall working as it should? These are all questions that should be answered with a resounding yes!

But not only is it important that your site is secure for your own sake, it is your legal responsibility to ensure that information your customers give to your site is fully protected or you risk running afoul of the POPI Act and incurring massive fines.

There is a lot to keeping a website healthy, secure and functioning well for the end user so that it serves its purpose as the hub of your brand effectively. If you’re not taking care of the critical aspects mentioned above your website and business are at risk. If you have the knowledge and time to handle maintenance yourself, that’s great- set reminders and stick to your schedule! If you don’t, reach out and contact us for a quote, we’d love to help! Email: hello@standoutdigital.co.za.

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