Website management and maintenance are now a very important part of running a website successful. It is important that you know a few essential details so that you will have a safe and always available website experience for all your website visitors.
Developing a website is not as easy as some think. It is not simply about buying some cheap hosting space, designing a few pages, uploading the pages and maintaining content with the help of a CMS (Content Management System) and forgetting all about the website. Unfortunately some business owners continue to see website development and management as a one-time investment. Just as you would take your car for a regular service, similarly, you must efficiently manage and monitor your website to keep it in good running order.
So how should you, as a website owner, maintain and manage the website after it is designed and is live on the internet? Below we have listed a few useful and essential services that you should at least know about, and which any good web-service company should be be able to offer you.
Website owners have to understand the importance of securing their website and website code, and protecting it from malicious malware, viruses etc. Unfortunately, due to lack of awareness, skill-set or time, most website owners do not allocate any resources to securing their website. When we talk about website security, it is important that you, or whoever who is maintaining your website, has a strong and up to date knowledge of HTML, PHP, Apache, CMS and Server technologies, as well as firewalls, backup systems and virus scanning. The CMS will enable you to update pages on your website but you can't secure your web server from there.
Your web management or hosting company needs to be able to support you here and not leave everything to the website owner. They need to setup nightly automated backups for you and keep those backups for 3 weeks. They need to professionally scan your code during the night, every night. They also need to update you when your CMS (Content Management System) has security updates that need to be installed. Then for the server itself, they need to be proactively defending your website from attacks, and day to day issues. A lot is required but the returns are a safe and secure website for your and your customers to traverse.
Nightly Website Backups and Virus Scans
How many times have you read a news story about a website being compromised? The incidents of hacking, Trojan virus attacks and unauthorised access to data is commonplace. Do you want something similar to happen to your website? If not, then you must have nightly website backups that will ensure that all data from your website is regularly backed up in a remote location.
This backup can then be moved into place in case your website is damaged for any reason. Usually, this is one of the most common services offered by any web-service company but not all companies do backups correctly. The backups needs to be quite separate from your server so they can be reached in case of an emergency. If your service provider isn’t offering you nightly website backups, ensure that you sign-up for a service that does.
Just as important as backing up your website, is scanning it nightly for viruses and malware. Scanning the website every night will ensure that any new virus doesn’t compromise the security of the various files and photos that you have added, or some 3rd party has added, in the previous 24 hours.
Website & Server Monitoring
When a prospective client or customer visits your website, he expects to move around your site quickly and easily without coming across any broken links, invalid site certificates, malfunctioning forms, configuration error notices and slow site page loads because of unexpected traffic. These problems can easily hamper the reputation of your business and make a prospective new customer hit the 'back' button and go to your competitor's website. This is the reason why you must regularly monitor the website and web server. By monitoring you can easily get notifications on problems before any one else notices them and get them fixed immediately. Monitoring needs to be done every few minutes – anything more than that can leave your website down for much more time than you would agree to.
Content Management System Software Security Upgrades
The primary reason why content management systems have become so popular among website developers and owners is because it helps website owners and website managers to manage website content easily. Content management systems such as MODX, Magento, Drupal and Joomla enjoy huge market share simply because they offer up-to-date and secure features. However simply subscribing to the best CMS is not enough. As a website owner, you must also take action when the security upgrades are needed. You must ensure that your CMS is regularly updated and the latest version is running on your website at all times.
The latest CMS software version will offer better security and will have resolved previous and common bugs. Your website and website visitor's PC security is compromised if your website CMS code is not up to date, so know what your CMS software version is and keep and eye out for software releases and make sure your website is updated without delay.
Website and Email Hosting
As a site owner, it is important for you to be choosy about the website and email hosting service providers. The market is fragmented and you will find service providers luring you with throwaway prices. Make the wrong choice and you would offer a poor website experience to your users and in turn to your own business. You need to focus on things such as uptime guarantee, backups, nightly virus scans, security patches and accessibility. Also, adhere to the best practises that the service provider suggests as this ensures your website stays secured and also in sync with the latest developments in security. Many websites don’t look at this as an important maintenance job and pay the price.
Once you realise the importance of website maintenance and take regular action, you will notice a significant improvement in your website’s performance and user activity. Remember you are in a competitive business environment and you can’t afford to compromise on user experience and your site’s uptime and security.