Web & Digital

Jan '24

The importance of good website maintenance and support

Lea Chapman in Web Design

If you own or administer a website you may have heard some designers or developers talk about websites being a bit like gardens; they tend to need regular maintenance to thrive.

As we move into a brave new era for search engine optimisation, with Google’s upcoming AI search tools and INP page speed updates, it’s becoming ever more important to ensure that your website continues to be pruned into shape. 

We offer a range of support packages in the studio and all of these include what we would consider the basics; software updates, site monitoring and bug support. If you’re serious about using your website to drive new leads or to increase your sales revenue then having your development team on hand to support any bumps in the road could be vital to your success. 

Keeping your site secure

Priority number one for a website administrator is to keep the site secure and problem free. Determined hackers and software vulnerabilities can keep us on our toes with website security and the best way to combat these potential problems is through regular software updates. 

If your website is using a content management system (CMS) - Wordpress, Statamic, Craft or Magento (for example) - then this process is easy for your development team to handle. Little and often is usually the best way to handle updates and having your development team on hand to ensure that your CMS is patched at least once a month is a great way to keep the software of the site up-to-date. This should also avoid the need for large maintenance windows, which can be required if your site falls behind by a major release number. 

Only when your website is running the latest software can the server itself receive the latest security patches, ensuring technologies like PHP and MySQL (which are regularly used by website CMS systems) receive all the latest security patches. In the same way that we regularly run software updates on our smartphones, we should be doing the same on our website servers to combat hackers who look for vulnerabilities in old technologies. 

Everyone loves new features

Keeping the software for your site up-to-date not only keeps your website secure but usually has some welcome side effects. Regular updates tend to add new features to the back-end of your website as you’ll be taking advantage of the latest software release. 

Most CMS software vendors publish upcoming features lists so you can see what you might be missing out on. For example, you can see a roadmap for Wordpress here and a roadmap for Statamic here which details what features are in the works. 

Recent software updates to Root Studio client sites have enabled new features like a redesigned block builder for page templates, inline AI content translation and improved search throughout the dashboard. All of these updates ensure that your CMS is helping you to add content efficiently and they wouldn’t be possible if those websites had stood still from launch day.

Squash those pesky bugs

As developers we’re all aiming for a bug free experience for all our customers and any development team you use should be happy to stand-by the code they write. We offer a standard 90 day bug fixing window (from launch) with all of our website builds and this usually ensures that any of those teething issues that crop up just before or after launch are fixed as swiftly as possible. 

However, no development team can cover every eventuality and bugs inevitably crop up in the months and years after an initial website launch. Ensuring your development team is on hand to cover any unexpected hiccups with any edits you’ve made can be invaluable and save you hours of scratching your head about that problem that you’re sure wasn’t there the last time you logged in. 

Let us worry about monitoring your site

Even if you’re taking advantage of all of the above, problems can inevitably occur and this is why 24 hour monitoring of your site and its uptime can be invaluable. Hiccups with regularly scheduled tasks or with CMS plugins can sometimes cause issues that lead to temporary downtime and unfortunately any site can become a target for bots that can try to overwhelm your server. 

With constant uptime monitoring your developers can stay one step ahead of the game and they will often know about any problems with your site long before you do. In some instances minor issues can be ironed out and fixed before you or your customers are even aware of them. Uptime monitoring acts as a shield for your site so that you know that even if you do experience issues your developer is likely already working on a fix. 

Support is just the start

Of course, basic software support and site monitoring is just the start. Your development team is likely to have a range of expertise that you can take advantage of on a regular basis. We work closely with our customers and offer a range of packages to enable our clients to constantly get the most from our skills in the studio. 

Our packages range from monthly content and performance checks and broken link reports right through to retainer packages where we actively look to improve every aspect of client sites on an almost daily basis, with monthly round-up meetings and reports. Constant monitoring of page speed and Google search console also ensures that your site couldn’t be performing better in the competitive world of search. 

Member of the Root Studio development team

Speak to your development team

If you’re thinking of launching a new site or if you currently have a site that’s a few software versions behind, then we’d thoroughly recommend speaking to your development team about a support package. 

We offer annual support as standard with all of our hosted customers and it’s the best way to ensure you have a development team in your back pocket to support your website journey. If you think your site is getting left behind then get in touch

Thanks for reading

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