Every day you’re working hard, running your business.
Maintaining your website may be the last thing on your mind.
Do you need to maintain your website? What is there to maintain?
Remember, 100s of people could be viewing your website every month, or maybe every day or hour.
These people need your website to be quick, secure and easy-to-use, or they’ll go elsewhere.
If your website isn’t user friendly, visitors will become frustrated and leave without taking action. They might leave before they’ve even read a word or watched a video.
That’s why it’s important you regularly maintain your website.
Top 5 Reasons to Maintain Your Website
- Give your site’s visitors the best experience possible.
- Give visitors a reason to come back.
- Protect your brand’s reputation.
- Increase leads and sales.
- Increase the return you get from your marketing investment.
If no one is in charge of updating and maintaining your website, it could lead to a serious impact on your visitors, customers and business.
We’re not in the business of scaring you. But it’s important you understand the very real consequences of not maintaining your website.
Don’t worry, you’re in the right place. We’re here to help…please read on.
Let’s find out the Top 13 Real-World Consequences of Not Maintaining Your Website.
Table of Contents
- Parts of your marketing budget will be wasted.
- Your website slows down. You could miss vital leads and sales.
- People don’t return to your website because of their poor experience.
- Your website is more likely to be hacked.
- Your website is hacked and defaced.
- The hidden heart ache of a hacked website.
- Your brand is damaged.
- Your web hosting company disables your hacked website.
- Google Search blacklists your hacked website.
- Internet browsers or anti-virus software block everyone from visiting your website.
- You inflict difficulties on the lives of your audience and customers.
- Organisations demand you stop attacks FROM your hacked website.
- You lose your entire website forever because you don’t have a PROVEN website backup.
Article by: Mark Reynolds, the founder and owner of ProfitReach. Mark has been building and maintaining websites since 2002. In every role since, he has created websites with the best interests of visitors at heart. He’s a trusted speaker, delivering SEO/Google Analytics workshops for Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and other organisations. Today he’s here to help you. Need Mark’s help? Get in touch.
1. Parts of your marketing budget will be wasted if you don’t maintain your website.
Companies like yours spend time and money getting more website visitors.
The resources invested in anything from writing articles/adverts in the local newspaper to investing £1000s in Google Ads can be significant – so why would you neglect your website where potential customers will inevitably visit?
If your website is poorly maintained, the experience for those new website visitors can be a really bad one.
Your website is probably your most powerful marketing asset. Give it the care it deserves.
Whether it’s slow loading pages, or a hacked website that you never knew about; a poorly maintained site can really reduce the effectiveness of your marketing.
It happens much more than you think.
How many times have you clicked on a website in Google, only to hit the back button straight away? Poor site maintenance can be a significant reason for that failed first impression.
Many of your new site visitors won’t be motivated to get in touch or buy, simply because of the poor website experience.
The solution is to invest time and money to maintain your website. Do that and you could increase the return on your marketing investment.
2. Your website slows down if not maintained, making life hard for visitors. You could miss vital leads and sales. Visitors will be less likely to turn into customers.
Whether or not you’re spending time and money getting new or previous visitors to your website, you still need to make it an enjoyable visitor experience.
It’s common to see 60%+ of website visitors leaving a site without taking further action. If you maintain your website, at least you’ve got another weapon in your arsenal to lower that number.
There are a number of reasons why an unmaintained website becomes slow for your website visitors.
Here are just a few…
- Too many website plugins, or too many poorly written plugins.
- Images that aren’t optimised (their file size is too big).
- Your web hosting is poor.
- Your website’s code is not optimised and compressed.
- Your website database isn’t optimised.
What can you do about a slow website? You need to maintain it and resolve all those points above, plus many more.
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3. People don’t return to your website because of their poor experience.
If you don’t maintain your website; speed and security will suffer.
If it’s too difficult and slow to get around your website, people simply won’t want to use it. And that’s a very real consequence of not maintaining your site.
Here are examples of how your visitors’ experience can be damaged by a poorly maintained website:
- Visitors Leave Before Your Page Loads: Visitors are more likely to leave before your slow loading page appears. People don’t have the patience to wait.
- Visitors That Make It Will Have Little Further Patience: Visitors are less likely to consume content, visit more than one page, or take any further action on a slow loading website.
- A Negative Experience Will Impact Visitor Trust And Many Won’t Return: You’ve got one opportunity to impress visitors to a point whee they won’t mind returning. But if you don’t maintain your website, trust in your business could easily drop- mainly due to speed and security issues.
- Remaining Visitors Less Likely To Turn Into Customers. Poor experience leads to a smaller proportion of people buying or getting in touch.
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4. Your website is more likely to be hacked.
Some business owners think their website won’t get hacked because their website isn’t interesting or big enough for hackers.
That’s simply wrong.
Any website can attract a hacking attempt.
A hacker doesn’t necessarily visit a website and decide to hack it. The hackers send automated pieces of software around the web, looking for websites with security holes. And when they find a weakness, they exploit it.
Intruders have automated web crawlers that can scan your site for known security vulnerabilities. When the web crawler detects a vulnerability, it alerts the intruder. From there, the intruder just needs to figure out how to exploit the vulnerability on your site.Google
So it doesn’t matter who you are, or what your website does. The fact that it’s simply a website is enough in many cases.
For many hacked small businesses websites, a hacker may never actually ‘visit’ the site.
If you don’t regularly update ALL of your website’s software, the number of security holes will increase. There will be more opportunities for criminals to hack your website.
Once the website has been hacked, they can potentially do whatever they like.
A hacked website often leads to irreparable damage to your brand and damage to your Google presence (which takes a long time to recover from).
Here’s an example of what could happen to an unmaintained website.
There was a popular WordPress plugin called ‘Rich Reviews’ installed on an estimated 16,000 websites. The plugin hadn’t been updated in two years. It was noticed that a vulnerability in the plugin was being exploited by hackers.
The hackers were abusing vulnerable sites in order to deliver popup ads and potentially dangerous redirects to their own pages.
The solution to stopping your website being hacked in this case would have been to uninstall the plugin when news of the vulnerability was released. It wouldn’t have been possible to update to a patched version because the developers hadn’t released a fix.
Unmaintained websites have lots of old plugins that haven’t been updated to the latest versions, or maybe there isn’t safe version.
It pays to maintain your website to stop hacking.
Here are some of the leading causes of infected/hacked websites today:
- Poorly configured plugins, modules, and extensions
- Abused user login details
- Poorly configured applications and servers
- Lack of knowledge around security best practices
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5. Your website is hacked and defaced.
Your visitors open up your website in a browser and they see the unexpected. Website defacement. It looks like your website has been hacked.
Your visitors immediately lose trust. Your credibility is significantly reduced. Hopefully if their anti-virus or Internet browser has done their job, they won’t even get to your website.
The website owner is often not even aware of the hack. I’ve spoken to many business owners to tell them their site has been hacked. The unsurprising response is shock.
When your website is hacked, the hacker often installs malware. Malware can come in a variety of forms:
- Trojan horses
- Phishing schemes
- Pharma hacks
- Information scraping
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6. The hidden heart ache of a hacked website.
Recovering from a hacked website can cost you a lot of money. It’s better to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Here are some of the common emotions experienced by business owners who get hacked.
- Emotional load of being in the dark – what just happened?
- The stress with your website being down with no sales or leads.
- The stress of knowing your Google presence could be damaged.
- The guilt of knowing that the real people who visit your website could be victims of the hack too.
- Panicked realisation that your backup doesn’t work because you never tested it, or…you don’t have a backup.
- Arguments with web hosting companies, web developers, security experts about how important it is that you get your website back online.
- Fear that you’ve missed something when cleaning your website. The feeling gets worse when the website infection wreaks havoc again two weeks later because you didn’t clean it in the first place.
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7. Your brand is damaged. Brand reputation can take years to build and minutes to lose.
Visitors’ trust in your business could easily drop because your website is slower & less secure.
It can take years to build, and minutes to lose. A hacked website is notorious for destroying trust.
Don’t let it get to this point.
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8. Your web hosting company disables your hacked website.
If your website gets hacked, your hosting company is likely to find out.
They will likely shut it down. They won’t want a hacked website on their servers that has the potential to affect their other customers.
You’ll be lucky if your hosting company doesn’t disable your website. Once it’s clean again they will hopefully allow you to go live once again.
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9. Google Search blacklists your hacked website.
BIG NEWS: Your Google presence could suffer significant damage from a hack – it could take months, even years to recover from.
Google and other search engines won’t want to lose searchers by putting them in harm’s way. That’s why they could easily block your website from appearing in the search results, or tell everyone your website is hacked.
If Google detects that your website has been hacked, Google will tell everyone who sees your site in the search results that it’s been hacked.
You’ll see the message “This site may be hacked” when we believe a hacker might have changed some of the existing pages on the site or added new spam pages. If you visit the site, you could be redirected to spam or malware. We recommend that you don’t visit the website until this message disappears from the search result.
If you depend on Google traffic, a ban of any sort could ruin your business. If you’re blacklisted by Google you could lose nearly 95% of your organic Google search traffic. That can quickly impact sales and revenue.
If Google isn’t as important to you, your website could still appear to be hacked when someone searches Google for your organisation’s name. This will severely damage your brand’s reputation and must be avoided.
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10. Internet browsers or anti-virus software block everyone from visiting your website.
It’s not just in the search results that Google might block your potential website visitors.
Everyone uses an Internet browser to visit your website.
If your website gets blocked by these browsers, then your visitor numbers could hit zero. That’s usually terrible news for a business or organisation.
Google’s Safe Browsing technology is there to protect web users from malware and phishing attempts by alerting users when they try to visit dangerous websites.
Safe Browsing protects more than just Google Chrome users. To make the Internet safer for everyone, Google made this technology free for other companies to use in their browsers, including Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox.
Today, more than 3 billion devices are protected by Google’s Safe Browsing.
Google Chrome is the most popular Internet browser on the market. If anyone visits your hacked website then Google Chrome is likely to display one of the following warnings to them:
- The site ahead contains malware: The site that you are trying to visit might attempt to install bad software, called malware, on your computer.
- Deceptive site ahead: The site that you are trying to visit might be a phishing site.
- The site ahead contains harmful programs: The site that you are trying to visit might attempt to trick you into installing programs that cause problems when you’re browsing online.
- This page is trying to load scripts from unauthenticated sources: The site that you are trying to visit isn’t secure.
- Continue to [site name]? The site that you are trying to visit may attempt to confuse you, and may not be the site that you meant to visit.
It’s not just Internet browsers that could block you.
I’ve seen computer anti-virus software accidentally blocking a website, even when there isn’t any malicious code and the site hasn’t been hacked.
You can imagine that if Norton Internet Security or Kaspersky discovers that your website contains malware – with one foul swoop, all of their users could be blocked from your website.
You probably won’t find out about the block until a visitor tells you. 1000s of visitors could have tried to visit the website, but not reported it.
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11. You inflict difficulties on the lives of your audience and customers.
GDPR had led many small businesses to review their website security. Have you?
There are always victims of a hacked website. That’s why companies like Google try everything they can to stop people visiting hacked websites.
If your website gets hacked, you have to think about all the other victims.
Here are some examples of the potential disaster to your business and your website visitors if your website gets hacked:
- Does your website have forms? (eg. contact forms): if yes, it’s likely the full message and the person’s contact details are stored on your website. If your website is hacked then all of their details could be stolen and your Google traffic could be seriously impacted.
- Do you have an eCommerce or Membership website?: if yes then your website will contain sensitive data, such as which products have been purchased by who, and all your customer’s contact details. Some websites also still collect payment data which could be stolen in a breach. Not only does poor maintenance put your customer’s privacy at risk, but someone will have a lot of key data that they can sell to other businesses, or use to sell products directly to your customers.
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12. Organisations demand you stop attacks FROM your hacked website.
A website hack is unlikely to be just about putting rude photos on your website, although it certainly can as website defacement is so common.
Often the goals of the hacker are part of a larger strategy. For instance your website could be used to launch further attacks on other unsuspecting websites.
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13. You lose your entire website forever because your don’t have a PROVEN website backup.
I’ve saved the most dramatic for last. But it’s still a very likely scenario.
Backups are easy to ignore, but the result of not having a fully tested backup can be a jaw-dropping disaster for your business.
When did you last try to restore your website backup to prove it works?
When a website is hacked, you discover there’s too much damage. You can’t simply fix a few pages. You can’t guarantee that you’ve removed all traces of the hack.
You decide it’s easier to restore a clean backup of your website.
But when you try to restore your backup, you find there’s a problem.
This is where your world implodes.
Your backup has failed.
Make sure none of the following backup nightmares happen to you.
- You discover that a website backup has never been created.
- You thought you had a backup, but for one reason or another your website backups stopped being generated a long time ago.
- You never tested your website backup. When the time comes to restoring your backup, it fails because it was corrupt.
- You only notice your website has been hacked 5 weeks after it happened. But you only have backups from the last 4 weeks. That means all of your backups are hacked versions of your website. You don’t have a clean backup.
It’s critical that you have a website backup that will work in the case of a disaster. Do you?
Don’t worry, at ProfitReach, we’re here to help.
If you suffer from this real-world consequence of not maintaining your website, it will take a lot of resources to get you back up.
We have monthly web care plans to help make sure you always have a backup that works.
Is it time to protect your business and your website visitors?
If your website is not maintained throughout the month, it could be time to consider help.
For the price of a cup of coffee a day, our monthly website support and maintenance service will help you prevent the top 13 real-world consequences of not maintaining your website.
I’d be happy to talk with you more, so feel free to get in touch today to learn more about our monthly web care plans. Myself or one of the team will be happy to answer any questions you have.
Our Monthly Web Care Plans will give you this and a whole lot more:
- Help Desk: Full access to our website support help desk.
- Single Point of Contact: You have the same real person working on your website every single month. You’ll have a personal relationship with them.
- Experienced Website Professional Team for an affordable price. We have a full team to support you and your needs.
- Access to Additional Web Design and Development Services.
- Less Likely To Be Hacked + Proven Tested Backups – reduce the chances of damage to your reputation, to your customers and to your Google presence.
- Better Experience For Site Visitors – you’ll increase your chances of your visitors turning into customers.