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August 15, 2019
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The Dangers of an Unmaintained Website

A client taught me something the other day. They’re a leader in strategic asset management (think infrastructure, not investment portfolios), and a major part of their work consists of studying the life cycle of big, heavy-duty pieces of machinery. They know exactly how long these machines are going to last, what parts will break down and when, and what needs to be done to keep it all in working order. They know how much money they’ll need to keep investing to ensure the wheels (quite literally) keep turning.

Important stuff, right?

Then they told me that not everybody thinks like that; some organisations just roll along, hoping that these big, complicated machines that are the beating heart of their business will keep working the same way they always did. Which is fine, I guess – until they don’t.

I thought that was incredible… until I realised that’s exactly how people think about websites, too. Then I was sad.

Your website matters!

Here in the latter half of 2019, I can confidently say that your web presence is an important part of your business. It’s how people find you, how they work out how to contact you, and (if you’re doing it right) it’s a core channel in promoting your business to the world. Depending on what industry you’re in, it could even be the entirety of your business!

That’s why you need to look after it. You need its content to be fresh, up-to-date, and looking good. But even more importantly, you need to keep the software behind all that content up to date, too. Baaaaad things could happen if you don’t.

So what happens if I DON’T keep my website software up to date?

Old software will stop working

Nothing lasts forever, and that includes websites. Internet browsers change and evolve, or go out of fashion and are never seen again (I’m looking at you, Internet Explorer), and a website that looked good on a particular version of a particular browser won’t necessarily look the same after you upgrade. Hardware changes, too – a website that looked great on a desktop computer in the early 2000s isn’t going to be so swish on an iPhone X.

The hardware that websites run on evolves, too, meaning that if you leave it long enough, a website will eventually wind up completely incompatible with current hosting technology. It’ll be like trying to play a cassette tape in a Blu-Ray player.

Don’t worry, it gets worse.

Old software is vulnerable

Hackers don’t sit around trying to break into secure websites anymore – they build programs to do it for them. Even worse, as soon as a hacker finds a vulnerability they tell the world, so that everyone else can pile on and exploit it together. It’d be heartwarming if it wasn’t terrifying.

That’s why web developers work together, too – we figure out and apply security patches as soon as we’re aware of them. Sometimes a given piece of software will go months between needing a patch, but sometimes it’s days – or even less!

If you care, sign up for a Care Plan

Protecting your website against obsolescence and intrusion is a constant battle – or more correctly, a constant race – but it’s worth it. If you don’t, you’re leaving your website floating in the wind. If your insecure website is found by a hacker’s software, it will be hacked; there’s no question about it.

Luckily, Technology Matters are now offering a range of WordPress Care Plans to anyone whose site runs on the WordPress content management system. We provide daily backups, minute-by-minute security checks, and a monthly report detailing every software patch we’ve implemented.

In the past, we’ve only offered this service for sites we built, but we’ve had so many requests that we decided to open it up to anyone out there who understands how important their website is to their success.

Find out more about our WordPress Care Plans

Need support for other systems?

We’re currently working on formalising Care Plan packages for other software, too – namely OpenCart and the Joomla CMS – but we’re not quite there yet. In the meantime, though, we are more than happy to take care of software updates on an ad-hoc basis. Give us a call today to talk about what you need.

Nathan Dorey
Nathan Dorey
Nathan has been involved in nearly every aspect of web development for 12 years – from scoping to design, and coding to copywriting. He oversees Technology Matters' Association Suite, bringing together a range of services catered to professional associations.

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