Perhaps you have renewed your current web presence, or developed and designed a new website, with all the effort that entails. We see it beautiful and feel proud of the new creature, and we think: that’s it, mission accomplished.
That’s it? No. The work has just begun. A website is not a goal but a means, an additional channel in a business strategy. It is not a goal but a way. A website is alive, and after its birth we must accompany it in its growth and development. If we talk about a car, surely a more integrated element in our lives than a website, we naturally see the need to take care of it, make revisions and maintenance tasks. A website is the same, it needs care, revisions and maintenance tasks, and in this way, just like a car, it will offer a better service to us and our clients.
It includes all care aimed at preventing potential problems on a website, anticipating them so that they do not happen. It must be taken into account that all technologies around the Internet evolve at great speed and a website must be kept up to date. These are some preventive maintenance tasks:
Apply security updates and patches to servers: security problems are regularly discovered in web server software. Depending on the type of web hosting (in this article of our blog we review in detail the types of web hosting) we will have to take care of this type of updates ourselves or the company that provides the hosting for the website will do it.
Apply updates and security patches to the website software: in addition to server problems (e.g. operating system), security or performance problems may be discovered in the software used by the website (Apache, IIS, ASP.net, WordPress, PHP, etc.). In these cases, security updates should also be applied as soon as possible.
Update obsolete versions: in other occasions the software versions used end their life (they no longer have technical support) and must be replaced by new versions. For example, at the time of writing, versions 5.3, 5.4 and 5.5 of PHP are obsolete and no longer supported. However, there are many websites that still use them. Because they are not supported, the security issues that arise are not fixed, leaving the websites that use those versions at risk. Today, all websites using PHP should be updated to version 5.6 or 7.0.
Even if we put all the means in our hands to avoid problems, the truth is that incidents do happen. When this happens the aim is to resolve the incident as soon as possible. It is important to make an assessment of the impact of a website becoming unavailable before it is published. If the impact is medium or high, it will be convenient to hire a website maintenance that allows to receive a preferential attention and to solve the incidence in a short period of time.
Monitoring and improvement
As I said at the beginning, a website is something alive that must grow and evolve while adapting to new technologies and the needs of our business. To do this we can perform some of these tasks:
Access log monitoring: websites create a record of all the requests they receive. Its most common use is to obtain usage statistics, of the web traffic, but it can also be used to detect fraudulent access attempts, pages that are not found or pages that produce some kind of error and require some correction on the website.
Monitoring a website’s performance and traffic: It is important that the speed with which a website serves its information is adequate, as we explained in our blog article “Improve your website’s speed (1): why it’s important for your business”. Monitoring a website’s performance and traffic may reveal a need to increase the capabilities of the web hosting used, or perhaps excessive traffic may indicate improper use of the website.
Web positioning (SEO): we need that when someone uses a search engine with terms related to our business we appear in the first or first positions in the search results. Whether this is the case depends on our positioning strategy and our competition. It is essential to regularly review our web positioning, study its evolution and analyze the existing opportunities to guarantee traffic to our website.
Web analytics: it is about knowing relevant information about who and how our website is used. A website must be in constant evolution, and the decisions we make must be based on reliable data. Many times what we perceive as the best for our website is not the same as what our customers think. Let us therefore formulate improvement hypotheses to evolve our web presence.