6 Reasons Why Managed Site Updates Are Worth It

Websites are the digital face of any modern business. They often take weeks or months to materialize from those initial days of conception and often go through multiple phases and iterations before finally going live. 

As any experienced marketer will know, a successful website launch is far from the end of it. 

This article explores six reasons why you should consider investing in managed site updates from a professional.

Why you should consider investing in managed website updates

Maintaining and updating your website is something that requires significant ongoing time, effort and technical expertise. Every website will need an upgrade at some point. Whether it’s ?content management system (CMS) updates, security patches for plugins and features, or adjusting code like HTML, CSS and JavaScript to make way for new elements, updates can manifest in various ways.

The problem is that no matter how professional, engaging and relevant your website is, updating it is never as simple as pressing a series of buttons and waiting for the update process to finish. It requires a methodical and considered approach, depending on your host server, platform, security restrictions, and whether you are using an external or incumbent web developer. It also takes a significant amount of time, and annoyingly, it is often riddled with unforeseen obstacles and issues. 

Many companies simply lack the time and resources to manage this process regularly and with the minimum level of oversight. This is why outsourcing your website updates to experts can save you considerable time, ensure your site is compliant, secure and not broken, and allow it to reach its full potential.

The managed website update process

No managed website update process will be exactly the same from one organization to the next. There are many variables that could influence how the process is conducted, including the setup, user permissions, the amount and extent of plugins that are installed, the hosting environment, and how outdated the existing software is, among many others.

A managed site update process typically look like this:

  • Initial audits will be conducted to evaluate your site’s requirements.
  • Monitoring and reporting tools will pick up any known or obvious issues that require investigation or patching.
  • Software, security and feature updates would be rolled out, either via a single update or individually, depending on the setup of the site. Ideally, this would be conducted on a test server.
  • Developers would test the site to ensure the updates have not disrupted any functionality or affected the design or visual elements.
  • Updates would be rolled back for further investigation and adjustment if needed.
  • If a test server was used to test the updates beforehand, the updates would then be rolled out in the same way on the live server.
  • Initial scans would be run to ensure that there are no issues resulting from the updates.
  • Monitoring and reporting tools ?run as frequently as required.

Specific providers would outline how they would conduct managed updates. For instance, your chosen provider would likely make recommendations on the most time- and cost-effective methods. This may involve uninstalling certain plugins and replacing them with better-quality ones. 

Some solutions, such as those from cyber security firms, provide managed detection and response services but their service agreements or licenses can affect the costs and timescales associated with integrating them into your site. However, these upgrades would likely provide your site with better coverage and security than your incumbent solution, if one exists. 

The benefits of managed website updates

So let’s get to the crux of the issue – are managed site updates worth it? Here are just some of the many reasons why they can be a valuable asset to your business.

  • They save time and resources. Outsourcing your website updates saves you from dedicating valuable time and resources away from important duties that help you run your business. Entrusting your updates to technical experts allows you and your staff to continue business as normal with minimal disruption.
  • Optimum security and compliance. External web developers are often well-versed in cyber security and can often monitor for threats and issues that could jeopardize your site’s security and compliance with legislation like GDPR. They will ensure updates for software, plugins and patches will ensure you are not at risk from hacks or any legal action.
  • Better user experience. Updated and patched sites offer better functionality, navigation and experiences for users. Leaving sites dormant for too long can mean customer conversion rates and interactions take a hit. Better user experience is crucial for building valuable loyalty with your audience.
  • Long-term stability. Leaving your managed updates in the hands of capable, trustworthy experts means that you can build an accurate roadmap for improving and scaling your site over time. Being transparent with your developers will mean that they can account for changes in your business and make suitable recommendations accordingly.
  • Cash flow benefits. Most web developers offer a fixed monthly fee for update management and will handle the process autonomously, but keep you informed of any issues. This is often preferable to paying ad-hoc fees to resolve problems as and when they arise. However, costs and pricing can vary greatly.
  • Providers know what they’re doing. Professional web design and development providers have the skills and experience to handle all technical aspects of your site updates. They will offer practical and impartial advice on how you can get the most out of your site.

Failing to update: potential risks

  • Cyber attack vulnerabilities. Outdated software means that vulnerabilities are often exploited. If the software isn’t patched, it can leave you at increased risk of hacking, malware or ransomware which could seriously threaten your data (or that of your clients) and your business’s reputation.
  • Risk of non-compliance. Without updates, you run the risk of your business incurring hefty penalties for failing to meet accessibility standards and relevant legislation like GDPR. In turn, this could affect your bottom line as well as your credibility.
  • Higher bounce rates. Users will get increasingly frustrated with neglected sites with broken elements, poor navigation and unresponsive features. In turn, bounce rates will jump, and conversions and engagement will likely suffer as a result.
  • Traffic and rankings decline. Search engines like Google favor well-maintained and fast-loading sites that offer a positive mobile-friendly user experience, as well as fresh content and a good user experience. Outdated sites will likely see their SEO rankings and traffic drop.
  • Increased chance of your site breaking or going offline. If neglected for too long, outdated plugins, software or firmware can amalgamate into large-scale issues. These include problems like broken pages, site errors, and extended downtime, and they are often very costly and time-consuming to fix.

The importance of update management

Hopefully, it’s clear to see why updates are important to oversee with careful consideration and caution. 

Updates keep sites functional and secure by resolving known vulnerabilities like software bugs, security holes in plugins, or insecure website platforms. They also ensure new features and elements work properly on your site, which is crucial for creating a positive user experience for your users, particularly on mobile devices. 

It’s all well and good installing a new plugin that is better than the previous one, but if it’s not updated, it may conflict with other plugins and cause site errors. You may not know what a specific technical error means when plugins aren’t cooperating, whereas a website developer likely would, and would be best placed to keep all elements compatible and working seamlessly together. 

With managed updates, your core databases, code, and files remain intact, error-free and backed up. If you don’t exercise caution when updating your site, these essential foundations become more prone to issues and could even be misplaced without you realizing it. In turn, performance and security can take a hit, even if nothing appears to be at risk. 

Therefore, it’s evident that investing in managed website updates gives you complete peace of mind that your site is compliant, secure, working as it should, and not at risk. 

Finding a website update provider

To find a reputable web-design agency or freelance developer, you’ll need to do your research and look beyond the bottom line

Some agencies will offer management, hosting and support alongside their update services, which may come at an increased cost. Experienced freelance web developers may be suitable for handling your updates but may not have the infrastructure to host or provide full management. You may even find that your CMS provider may be able to offer in-house managed services, although be advised this service can feel less bespoke and personalized.

Peruse the sites and profiles of your potential developer or agency to assess their experience, skills and processes, as well as their costs. Discuss your needs, goals, and budget to get a tailored quote, and don’t be roped into any immediate agreements unless you are confident they are right for you. Consult similar clients to understand what their experiences were like, and check your provider’s reviews and testimonials to enhance your understanding.

Finding a reputable service provider might take time, but ultimately, it will give you complete peace of mind that your site is in safe hands.