A web developer isn’t only a person that builds your website. They are the ones that should guide you through making the most out of it after it’s deployed as well. Proper website health is a part of that.
Staying ahead of the online game is one thing- but do you have the solid foundation to ward off big events and problems? Our websites may be built tough, but they do need help to remain safe, productive and healthy.
Here are some of the ways you can work with your web developer to ensure the health of your website now and in the future
Make decent security a priority
When we build a website at Webcoda, you can bet your bottom dollar we do what we can to ensure security. Using items such as SSL certificates and the correct HTTPS protocol help keep the bad guys away. That’s why we use these features as standard with each website build.
What kind of website developer would we be if we didn’t make security a priority?
However, the security of your website doesn’t begin and end with the website build itself.
Hosting can be another area in which security can be problematic. Some hosts aren’t as secure as others, so always make sure whoever you choose for your hosting has a good reputation in regards to security.
Your email servers and any additions to your website (such as an external intranet or help file silo) should also be checked to ensure it is safe and secure.
Keep the security messages going after launch
Once you’ve driven your brand new website into cyberspace, you also need to ensure you keep a safety mindset. Your in-house web developer or tech team should also have a list of tasks to help keep things clean and healthy.
Looking after your website and keeping it in good running order includes:
Managing passwords and logins properly
Including removing old profiles when staff leave, only activating new ones after they arrive and regularly prompting password changes based on passwords that are alphanumerical and harder to guess.
Only approving comments that are genuine
Ever received a comment about “lovely content and good day to you!” with a funny bunch of characters on your blog or pages? Pop it straight in the trash and don’t look back. It’s someone attempting to hijack your website or leaving their spammy code behind.
Locking off your web forms properly
Contact forms, email popups and other forms of field driven areas of your website can invite the wrong knocks to the cyber door. They can suffer from what’s called an SQL injection that can inject malicious code into your website and give a hacker a way in to the CMS and/or database. You may not even be aware. That’s why it’s important to keep your website up to date and the code, healthy with regular checks and proper builds from a professional web developer.
Give enough info to fix issues, but not the whole game away
Error messages help us run our websites and keep a clean online presence when using apps. But they can also over-inform hackers. Give a level of information with app to help you troubleshoot, but not enough for a hacker to exploit the vulnerability. For example, there’s no need to give a complete dossier on the line and area of your app that is throwing an error to a customer. Keep that for your error logs!
Always connect Google Analytics
In this day and age, there is no reason not to know where your traffic comes from and to what value. You also have no excuse for not knowing things like what pages have high bounce rates or what SEO keywords are driving interest in your website and content.
Not only does the web developer and IT team benefit, this is vital information for sales, marketing and product development teams as well.
All of this information is easily obtained through Google Analytics. And it’s completely free.
You can set up your custom dashboard to monitor all kinds of geographic and demographic information. You can also see the difference between organic and paid traffic.
After connecting Google Analytics, make it your business to check it every month as a minimum so you can identify what is going well and areas of improvement for your SEO. For extra protection, also install Google Webmaster.
Investigate additional SEO supports
Google Analytics is a great resource. You can also take the data you receive to new heights with other tools that inform your website’s performance.
For example, you could look at programs like Screaming Frog. Screaming Frog emulates the scan performed by a Google spider. It can tell you when you have titles and metas that are too long after a Google update on SERP. Or it can spot canonical errors, problems with robots.txt and the sitemap and more. It sees things as Google sees things. So it’ll soon let you know if your images need optimising and your headers need work.
Another great tool is SEMRush. Not only does it give you data across different countries about how your organic and paid keywords are performing, it also lets you audit your website health, let’s you know about vulnerabilities and errors, and connects the backlink performance data to your social media profiles and so on. While not a cheap service, what it provides is invaluable data.
Does a lack of in-house IT or your own web developer or content manager mean you don’t really have the time to manage reporting and SEO yourself?
Webcoda also produce SEO reports and keep track of things for you if you choose to stay with us for maintenance and related services. Neat, huh?
Make time for updates and maintenance
There are a few things in the web world that are continuously changing on a small and large scale. So it’s a great idea to make time for updates and maintenance.
Some examples of things that a good web developer or website manager will need to keep an eye are include:
Security requirements. Hackers are nimble, so staying ahead of their game requires security that is equally as switched on
Operating systems and other programs. How commonly used items such as your computer’s operating system, browser and the like influence the website performance is much more important than most people think. That’s why ensuring the website works across multiple browsers, tablets and smartphones is important. That takes work with Java, PHP, scripts, CSS and more. If you are unsure how to stay compatible, drop us a line
Staying abreast of SEO. Google is changing the way it ranks websites through battling spammers, viruses and hackers. To stay ahead of the game, they also have to tweak their algorithm. So it’s a good idea to perform regular audits to maintain your SEO performance
Updates to apps, platforms and CMS. To avoid being susceptible to issues, it’s a good idea to have a regular update protocol for your CMS and any useful applications. That way, you minimise the chance of security breaches and compatibility issues when new apps or features are introduced
If in doubt, give Webcoda a shout. We can sort you out with advice on how to keep things maintained.
Ignore mythology and stay informed
There are a lot of silly rumours related to technology that really need to go away. They cause damage and can make our lives difficult. Being informed on how things work is far better than getting your tech information from the water cooler.
For example, claims that Macs and mobile don’t get viruses are ridiculous. If Mac code was completely impervious to hacking, viruses and malware, then every platform would use it. But it’s not. It’s simply that the volume of viruses written for PC based code is higher. You are not immune when on a Mac or Mac based apps or servers.
Also, viruses aren’t the whole ball game. Malware is actually far more damaging and much more likely to infect your website, smartphone, tablet or computer. Malware logs your keystrokes to gain access to your email, bank account login data and steal your identity. It can also attach itself to member databases on your website, spawn out to other contacts through your email account and fly from your browser and/or website to infect others. As a result, any security should include both malware and virus protection right across your handheld devices through to the website and servers.
Attacks and strikes can still happen. From ransom ware through to breaches of data, the larger the internet gets, the more potential for security issues. That’s why good security, regular backups, scheduled updates and being prepared are a must.
Stay informed by choosing reputable industry publications, not junk news sites. Set Google Alerts for things you might need to know, such as anything to do with Microsoft and/or Kentico.
And ask questions from people that know your technology well, like the team at Webcoda. Our aim is to make sure you’re about to use all the technology and website goodness we provide in the manner it is intended from design to every day of its life.
Website health is a priority for a functioning business
Your choice of technology solution shouldn’t be one that gives you a hard time at a later date. But the reality of all online work, websites, applications, CMS and beyond, need to be reviewed, updated and maintained to stay healthy. None of the online tech you’ll see on the market today is set and forget.
But if you want an ally in managing your website and associated technology, you’ve come to the right place.