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For the past few years, B2B marketers have been forced to come to grips with a new fact of life — websites are never really “done.” When web development ends and the go-live date has come and gone, websites enter into a new phase of life — ongoing site maintenance.

Modern websites can’t be left alone once the initial programming is complete. Sites are comprised of content management systems (CMS), modules and plug-ins that enable dynamic functionality like sending forms. That software requires regular updates. When we develop sites, we use CMSes such as Joomla and WordPress. These popular platforms power millions of websites. They are robust and secure and appropriate to use for corporate websites. In fact, mega brands around the world use them successfully.

Fact is, any software that is not properly and routinely maintained will become vulnerable to:

  • Downtime
  • Broken functionality
  • Security risks (possibly a hacked website)
  • Data loss

It doesn’t matter if it’s Joomla, WordPress, or the iPhone iOS. Think about what happens to your iPhone when you don’t upgrade the software — you get bugs and failures. Does it mean that the Apple iOS system is bad? No, it means you need to update regularly to maintain functionality.

Why do sites need these constant upgrades and ongoing site maintenance?

Websites don’t exist in a vacuum. They run on another layer of software — server software like Microsoft or Linux/PHP. In addition, sites interact with database servers that also use different software. When the server software and database software get updates, the CMS software of your site must also be updated to keep up. If not, it creates errors that cause site functionality to fail and opens pathways into your site for hackers to take advantage of. In order to stay ahead of hackers and maintain functionality, there are many software updates that get released over a given year. It is not uncommon for updates to be released on a monthly basis – or even more frequently! Therefore, you need someone to keep an eye out for these updates and make sure they are integrated into your site as soon as they are stable.

What should a typical website maintenance program contain?

The most basic tasks in an ongoing website maintenance program should consist of the following:

  • Review and updating Content Management System core files
  • Review and update components and plugin files
  • Maintain a firewall list that contains whitelisted and blacklisted IP addresses
  • Review comment and form SPAM, clean out as necessary
  • Ongoing security audits for potential threats
  • Weekly backups stored in a remote location

Fact is, no CMS solution is 100% secure. But these risks can be dramatically reduced by taking simple, proactive steps like those mentioned above.

All marketing tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating all tactics, the programs become more effective and cost efficient. An Integrated marketing communication plan helps you meet real business objectives – generate leads, grow revenues, gain market share, and become the leading brand.

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