Websites are never finished. Yes, that’s right. Business owners who work with a web design firm often feel excited when the new website is published. “It’s done,” they think.
Websites are just like a house; you build it, and then you maintain it, so the structure doesn’t crumble down around you. Maintenance and support are critical to keeping your website “house” in order. According to a study of website hacks, “the leading cause of compromises in today’s websites comes from the exploitation of software vulnerabilities found in out-of-date software.”
We had a client recently whose website went down at a critical time. Customers couldn’t log in to the site when they needed to, and the client lost a lot of valuable data. Plus, any potential customers trying to visit the site didn’t find it. Maintenance would have prevented this from happening.
But how do you maintain a website? Here are six things to keep in mind:
● If you use a content management system (CMS) such as Wordpress or Joomla, be sure to update the software regularly. You will see updates on your dashboard. Click on them. Many business owners keep ignoring those. They are too busy to deal with it right now. But those updates may be fixing a security breach.
● Do you have backups in place? Before you update, make sure all your website data is backed up. If you don’t know what this means or how to create a backup, find someone who can help you. That way, when things come crashing down, you will have everything you need.
● Update plugins. If you use Wordpress, make sure to update your plugins. Plugins are created by a variety of developers, some more adept than others. Plugins are often an easy target for hackers. If you see a notification that your plugins need to be updated, take care of it.
● Choose a website company that understands security. When you ask someone to build a website for your business, ask about security. The agency should provide you with information about it, at least some assurances that the backend configuration is built properly. If they don’t, go elsewhere. The website hacking study we cited earlier noted that most hacks are not because of the CMS, but because of “improper deployment, configuration, and overall maintenance by the webmasters and their hosts.”
● Change your passwords to something stronger. You’ve heard this before, but you haven’t changed them, have you? Software can crack dictionary words and passwords of only a few characters within minutes or hours. Change your password to a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols at least 12 characters long.
● Consider buying a maintenance or update package. If the company that built your website does not offer this service, find a company that does. These monthly services ensure your website and its component are often updated, helping prevent hacks that bring your website down.
Prevent hacks by maintaining your website. Contact us for more information about how we can help.