No need to worry about anything – right?
Once the task of getting your website written, designed, programmed and “live” is accomplished – which can take a few weeks — you enter another phase – updating and maintenance – which will go on as long as your website is active.
Maintenance means security – monitoring for unauthorized intrusions from hackers and malware that can affect your site’s operation and even bring it crashing down.
Websites are built with software and plugins that require ongoing updates and new security patches throughout the year. And they always need a watchful eye on the coding for malware infections inserted unknowingly by hackers. While there is no absolute guard against hackers, site upkeep and an ongoing watch on performance are the first defense for a safe and high-performing website.
At Creative Services, we regularly get calls from Center owners who completed a website for a client two or three years ago. Now, the site is “not working right”. It’s slow. It’s down. I can’t get into the content management system. A form is broken… The list goes on and on.
The client’s natural impulse is to go to the one who sold it to them. Their general message may imply “your product is defective – fix it.” In reality, their site has probably been hacked.
Client relations can be improved in advance by setting the right expectations when the website is sold. First, the client should be told that a website is like a car – it requires ongoing maintenance. Second, like a car, a website has a warranty – one that covers the first 90 days of operation. If anything goes wrong in that time frame, we’ll fix it at no cost. (This does not include damage caused by hackers.)
After 90 days, the client needs to have a professional monitor the site’s performance. If the client hosts with Creative Services, they may want to consider subscribing to the Website Performance and Malware Monitoring program.
We offer two levels of service. For highly visited websites, eCommerce websites, and large websites, we recommend the MONTHLY TOP PERFORMANCE PLAN. For websites with standard viewing and less functionality, we suggest the QUARTERLY SILVER PERFORMANCE PLAN. Maintenance plans cannot guarantee a site will not be hacked, but it will ensure a thorough cleansing of the code routinely resulting in fewer vulnerabilities.
While the main difference is the frequency, both programs scan the site for vulnerabilities, update all security patches and plugin software, run a complete backup of the website and database and review all programming code for signs of malware infections.
Your client will appreciate the education you can provide about maintaining their website even as they are forewarned about problems that can develop later. Hackers are growing in numbers and are getting more sophisticated in their attacks. Sooner or later, most every site will be hit.
Let your client know about this probability and that you are prepared to help keep it from happening. They will appreciate it.