Hey everyone,

I would say most business owners know how important it is to keep their website up-to-date with current information, as well as updating the website’s software.

(If you aren’t aware of how important it is, I'll talk about this later.)

However, I've noticed that a lot of small business owners are not aware of the risks associated with making updates or changes to their website.

Anyone is prone to these risks, whether you’re a skilled webmaster or just learning how a website works.

The key difference is having a plan to prepare for these risks BEFORE they happen.

So, what could go wrong when updating your website? Mainly these 3 things:
  1. Accidentally Deleting Content
  2. Causing a Major Site Error
  3. Losing Search Rankings (SEO)
Below I'll discuss more about these risks and what can be done to mitigate them.

1. Accidentally Deleting Content​

The likelihood of accidentally deleting website content will depend on the platform you’re using to edit your website, but in general, this is always a risk.

If you’re not completely familiar with how to change your website, it can be easy to accidentally delete content or website elements. In some cases, you may not be able to undo a mistake!

To mitigate this risk, do the following:
  • Become familiar with your website editor before making changes
  • Backup your website before making any changes (even small ones!)

2. Causing a Major Site Error​

One of the most common ways that your website will experience an error is when activating a new plugin or processing software updates (such as plugins or themes).

This is usually because of compatibility issues between plugins, themes, or other software.
For example:
  1. The newly activated plugin is not compatible with one or more existing plugins
  2. A new plugin or theme update is not compatible with other software that is not ready to be updated yet
You must make a backup of your website before updating any plugins, themes, or software. In addition to that, you must have an action plan to recover the website if something goes wrong.

3. Losing Search Rankings (SEO)​

As you probably know, search engine rankings are a huge factor for many businesses. Some businesses, especially local ones, rely on search rankings for the majority of their new business.

When making changes to your website’s content you risk losing ranking on high-performing pages, especially if you remove content.

Google ranks your page high in the search results because it has determined that it is a good fit for a particular search term. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why you gained the ranking you did, so if you remove some content that Google favors, you may lose search ranking.

It’s generally discouraged to remove content from pages that are performing well in the search results. Rather, it’s recommended to add to the content instead.

Of course, if you need to make an essential change such as updating your business hours or removing menu items (in the case of a restaurant), you should do it!

What I'm saying is that you should be very careful when removing content (especially text) from your high-performing pages. Only do it if it is necessary.

Why You NEED to Keep Your Website Updated​


So, am I saying that you should avoid making changes and updates to your website?

Not at all!

It’s very important to add new content to your website and change information to keep it relevant.

Here are a few reasons why…

1. It Protect’s Your Business’s Reputation and Authority​

Imagine a potential customer visiting your website and seeing a banner promoting an event that passed months ago.

What might go through the potential customer’s head in this situation?


“Is the wrong date posted for this event?”
“Are they still in business?”
“If they neglect their website, will they neglect their customer service as well?”



Those are a few examples of what the potential customer might think when visiting your outdated website… Nothing good!

Keeping your website’s information updated frequently shows that your business is active and lively.

Ultimately, your website is a digital representation of your business. If your website is not flourishing, the customer may believe that your business is not flourishing.

2. It Keeps Your Website Secure​

Updating your software (usually plugins and themes) will help keep your website secure.

Many software updates are released to address security vulnerabilities in your website. Failing to install a security update will leave an “open door” for malware attacks. This puts your entire website at risk.

Keeping up with these security vulnerabilities is essential to keeping your website safe.

3. It Prevents Expensive Fixes and Redesigns in the Future​

A lot of small businesses contact me looking for help with major website errors.

These website errors usually happen because the website was not properly maintained or a plan was not in place to restore the website in case of a crash.

When your business’s website goes down, you’ll be in a rush to get it fixed as soon as possible. Since you won’t have to research many website support companies, you may overpay! You’ll also be missing out on new customers while your website is offline.

This is why it's so important to keep up with website maintenance and have a plan in place if things go wrong.

Also... keeping up with your website’s design may save some future costs.

Design standards and trends are always changing, so keeping your website’s design up-to-date with new trends may prevent you from needing a full website redesign in a couple of years.

--

Hopefully you guys found this write-up useful! I'd be happy to answer any questions you have on this topic.
 

djbaxter

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Thanks BWS.

Since your article is fairly long, I reformatted it into columns to make it easier to read on desktop/laptop or in landscape mode on mobile devices.
 

BWS

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Thanks BWS.

Since your article is fairly long, I reformatted it into columns to make it easier to read on desktop/laptop or in landscape mode on mobile devices.
Thanks! I'll keep this in mind for the future (or I'll possibly write a bit less!)
 

Julia Sta Romana

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This really is helpful. Especially your point about website security. Sometimes you don't have a choice but update your site if you want to protect your content.
 

JShivell33

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Thanks BWS.

Since your article is fairly long, I reformatted it into columns to make it easier to read on desktop/laptop or in landscape mode on mobile devices.
I don't know how other member feel, but I am not a big fan of long articles in a forum. BWS's article is not too long with your conversion to columns, which does help, but a reader would still have to scroll down, and then scroll back up, to read it. Personally, I would prefer a synopsis of the article with a link to the full article at the end.
Again, this is only my opinion, but I would like to see what other members think.
 

BWS

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I don't know how other member feel, but I am not a big fan of long articles in a forum. BWS's article is not too long with your conversion to columns, which does help, but a reader would still have to scroll down, and then scroll back up, to read it. Personally, I would prefer a synopsis of the article with a link to the full article at the end.
Again, this is only my opinion, but I would like to see what other members think.
That is also what I was thinking and I totally agree. I prefer to post a shorter summary. djbaxter Is it allowed if I summarize the article to a shorter version and provide a link to the full article at the end of my post?
 

djbaxter

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That is also what I was thinking and I totally agree. I prefer to post a shorter summary. djbaxter Is it allowed if I summarize the article to a shorter version and provide a link to the full article at the end of my post?
Absolutely.
 

djbaxter

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Joined
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I don't know how other member feel, but I am not a big fan of long articles in a forum. BWS's article is not too long with your conversion to columns, which does help, but a reader would still have to scroll down, and then scroll back up, to read it. Personally, I would prefer a synopsis of the article with a link to the full article at the end.
Again, this is only my opinion, but I would like to see what other members think.
Personally, I think there is a place for both shorter and longer articles on a forum like this, but I get that it's a matter of personal preference.

I'd rather read an article, long or short, than watch an instructional video, but for many it's the other way around. I detest podcasts; others love them.

There's room for everyone in this world and on this site. :)

Except serial killers and those who abuse women, children, cats, dogs, and other helpless animals. I have no time and no room for those.
 
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