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No, I don't mean adding new articles or videos etc. I mean, does your web designer / web host regularly check your site to ensure that all the themes, templates, components, plugins, modules etc are updated on a regular basis? These are the bits on the backend of your website that you would not normally see as your website host seldom gives you access to this level in case you inadvertently break the site.

This is what you are paying your website developer / web host for.

When you purchase a website you need to budget for a website refresh, and the annual fees to update the website to the latest versions of templates and plugins etc which make your site look great and be kept safe. See The Myth of A Free Website. 

If you have a Smart Phone or a computer you will know all about the updates that chew your data and are done when you least have time or the patience to wait for them to complete. These updates not only add new features but also fixes bugs (software always has bugs) and adds in new security patches if the creators of the software have found that hackers have been trying to access the software.

Most of us happily renew our phone contracts every couple of years to ensure we have the latest model, but we whinge about paying to maintain our website which is our storefront and the hub of our business.

It is not only the software on your Wordpress or Joomla or or other software that you are using for your website that needs to be updated. It is also important to ensure that the server software provided by your web host is kept up to date.

I have recently been asked to look at 3 different sites which happen to be built using WordPress. WordPress is hugely popular because it is marketed as free, and you don't need to know anything about coding to create a great site.This is both true and false. The basic software is free but if you need more functionality, you pay. You do also need to understand how the bits fit together and you will often need some basic coding skills to make it work properly. You get what you pay for.

All 3 of these sites I looked at are using outdated server software and have many plugins and themes which have not been updated in months / years.

Your web developer / host should check for software updates on a regular basis. I do it weekly to keep the sites as safe as possible.

I still come across many websites that are not responsive. This means they don't automatically scale according to the device you are using. eg. desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile. Most   website visitors access the internet via mobile. If your site doesn't work on mobile, they move on. Google is getting very strict with non-responsive sites.

There were also no backup facilities on the websites.

If your site content changes daily, especially if you have a store or a members area, or a directory, you need an automatic backup facility where the backup is stored in the cloud so that if your site gets hacked or crashes, at least you will only lose one day's work. It is also a good idea to check that the backups work will restore as expected. I use a sub-domain for each site where I can test the backups.

Several years ago, I worked for a large Property Management company where we had 15 accounts staff working on the site all day, every day capturing financial transactions. The site crashed, the most recent backup didn't restore and our team worked day and night for a week trying to re capture the data from printouts. It was a nightmare and cost the owners of the company a fortune is overtime salaries.

It is only when we have a disaster do we stop being complacent.

If you are not getting satisfactory answers from your web developer / host, I offer web hosting, web design using Joomla or Wordpress and great support.

Please complete this form if you would like me to contact you.

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