Most people think that once a website is built it just lives on indefinitely, in some vague place somewhere on the internet. This is a myth that if not addressed can have dire consequences for your site
**This article will be strictly 101; an introduction for someone who knows nothing about nothing about websites
Many of you know that the truth is actually quite a bit different. Websites are like a piece of machinery in some ways— in this case let’s say a car. Store it and treat it well, and you’ll get years of good use out of it. Ignore it, and it will rust and break down and cause you, and potentially your clients, grief. First off, we’ll talk hosting— what it is and why it matters.
When a website is built, it needs to reside on a computer somewhere, connected to the internet. This is not your own computer, but a massive computer called a server, which “hosts” thousands of websites. This server can be anywhere in the world, and some are great and some are less so.
This is your car’s garage. Is it clean? Or is it littered with trash, rusty bikes, oily rags, and critters who may find their way into your engine? Is it easy to get to your car or do you always have a bunch of stuff in the way impeding your progress to and from it? Similarly, some host servers are faster and slower, and this will be apparent when you try to explore your site. It may take forever to load or to navigate, which is terrible in the eyes of SEO. The longer a page takes to load, the less likely people are to wait to see it, resulting in a high bounce rate. If your site isn’t fast and responsive, potential clients will seek out the next one, meaning a loss of potential clientele.
Virtualcopia uses only high quality, vetted servers to ensure speed and reliability. Though the hosting services you use make a big difference in these factors, let’s move on to website maintenance and speak a little to that and how it will affect performance.
Website maintenance is the service and care of your “car”. If you never change the oil in a car, it will eventually grind to a halt. Same goes with ignoring all of the warning lights on the dashboard. Little problems will inevitably crop up, and if you don’t deal with them the end result is often disastrous for your car.
The same is true of websites. Websites are often a conglomerate of different software working together, and if just one of those programs is updated (or not updated), it can cause the site to malfunction or shut down completely. Automatic updates happen all the time that can cause conflicts, and website maintenance is essential to keep all parts working smoothly together.
Yes, it’s worth it
More than worth it, even. Absolutely necessary. If you’ve never had a website, these are not things that may occur to you. If you’ve had a website that crashed or errored out in some way, then you can relate.
Beyond what we’ve discussed there’s also some more esoteric parts like renewing licensing for plug-ins, domain names and the like. It’s not something you should just set up and ignore, you need to actually pay attention, or you’ll pay the price.
This is why hosting services and website maintenance are a wise investment, and one that you should make a priority early on.
Matthew Ogden is a Minneapolis-based copywriter and content writer and editor. He’s written for national retailers and lobster roll companies alike. When not writing he can be found nose deep in a book, writing and performing music, or nerding out about guitar tone.