What the heck does maintaining a website have to do with getting a haircut?
Oooh, glad you asked!
Let’s say you have long hair. If you don’t get it cut every so often, it’s still going to look ok on the surface. I mean, you can always just throw it up in a ponytail or put on a hat. But, after a while, those split ends will start appearing and your hair (and you!) will just start feeling and looking pretty blah. It may even get so bad that you decide to not even go out on the town! Heaven forbid!
Now, let’s say you pop into the salon for a trim…or even a new style. We ALL (well, maybe not you guys out there??) know that getting a haircut can make us feel soooo good! We feel refreshed, revived, and ready to conquer the world!
What if you never touched your website after it was first launched? Well, for starters, if you have a WordPress website (or use any open-source Content Management System), you are opening yourself up to hackers and potential problems with the functionality of your site if you don’t update your plugins, theme and WordPress. If you haven’t updated any content or written any blog posts, you are also showing those robots that crawl around the web that you don’t go into your site very often…and you are also potentially hurting your traffic and SEO.
Bad (or unkept) hair = unhealthy, unmanageable, blah! The end of the world? No. Not feeling or looking good? Yes.
Bad (or non-existent) website maintenance = potential for hackers to hurt your site, less traffic, lower Google ratings, potential challenges with plugin functionality! (Oooh, none of that sounds good at all!) The end of the world? No. The potential end of your website (which may be the main home for your business)? Maybe!
So, what do you need to do to keep your website in order and good enough to make you want to show it off to the world just as you would a new haircut?
You have two options:
1. Handle the updates and maintenance yourself. It’s super easy and quick. I suggest putting a reminder in your calendar to pop into your website’s dashboard at least once a month (every week or two is even better). Just login, check for updates, make the updates (take a manual backup if you’re updating something major like WordPress or your theme), check to make sure all still looks good and is functioning properly and voila – you’re done!
2. Hire someone to do this for you. Lots of companies have monthly maintenance plans to take care of checking for and performing updates as well as providing other services such as inserting your blog posts, designing blog graphics, making changes to your content, etc. In fact, I do this with my WordPress and MailChimp Management Packages.
NOT taking care of your website is NOT an option…unless you want it to get hacked or even lose access to it entirely!
Whether you update your site yourself or hire someone for the job, this crucial step can mean the difference between having a website one day and having a hacked site that you can’t even access the next day. Please save yourself the heartache of losing your entire site or having crazy links appear in mysterious places on your site because you didn’t pop into it every so often to make these necessary updates.
Am I being extreme? Maybe a little, because it’s rare that your site will get hacked just from not updating plugins, themes or WordPress. However, it IS possible, and we never truly know what causes a site to get hacked. It could be a weak username or password (please don’t keep your WordPress password as the default one: “admin“). It could be failure to make updates. And sure, it can STILL happen even if you are doing everything right.
We can’t control everything in life nor with/on our websites…and certainly not when there are bad people out there trying to hack into our websites (how sad that that’s their hobby). But, we can do our best to protect our websites by making sure everything is updated, installing a back-up plugin and making sure it’s set to automatically perform regular backups, and installing security plugins like Wordfence and Login Lockdown.
Is the comparison of maintaining your website to getting a haircut REALLY a good one? Sure, why not! They both need to have some attention paid to them in order for them to look the way you want them to look and function the way you want them to function. So why not treat them equally by making appointments with yourself to update your website?
- Are you making sure you go into your dashboard every so often to make sure all is ok?
- Have you had any hacking horror stories because you didn’t update something or you kept your username as “admin”?
Tell me about it in the comments below!