Why is it important to keep your website up to date?

When we ask you to consider a redesign, or request permission to update your website software, or to change software, we are not trying to squeeze every last penny from your organization's budget.

On the contrary, Red Earth Design, Inc. is conscious and respectful of our clients' budgets. When we encourage you to think about redesigning your website, letting us upgrade your site, or switching to different software, there is a reason behind our suggestions.

It's important both to be proactive about your site's security and also to keep on top of current trends. Check out our post about why your website security matters - even if you have a very simple site and aren't collecting customers' credit card numbers. It's important to keep your website up to date.

Trends come and go in fashion, and the same is true in the internet world.

Keep your wardrobe and your website up to date.Why should that matter to you? Maybe you are happy with your 1970s leisure-suit internet software. You don't care what anyone else says about it, and this outfit has worked for you for years. Now, imagine that one day when you wake up and go to get dressed, your leisure suit's pants are full of holes. (Knew you should have bought mothballs!) You can't go out in public like that. You could certainly try, but imagine the impression you'd make - not only are you outdated, your clothes are full of holes. Your leisure suit is no longer functional as an item of clothing.

If things have gotten to that point, you have some options. You can search for the root cause, and try to solve it. Maybe you can stitch up the holes, and then buy some mothballs to prevent further holes. You can go to the thrift store and find a new pair of matching pants. Or, you could update your wardrobe, and catch up with the times.

Internet sites are similar. (Oh yes, they are!) Your website may be fully functional, but it may be so outdated it is hurting your organization's image. Or one day you may wake up and find that your website no longer displays properly, it displays errors, or it's not functional - for example, if you run an online store, you may find one day that customers can no longer submit orders.

It's unlikely that this has happened to your site overnight, or with little to no warning. Computer software changes and needs to be upgraded to remain secure, but also to keep up with programming changes. Code that may have worked with a previous version of the programming software may no longer work when that version isn't supported anymore. Remember how Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP in 2014? The program was first released in 2001. There have been many more versions of Windows created since. Let's be clear: a calendar year is like 10 years in computer software time. Even so, some people are still using XP, oblivious to or willfully ignoring the dangers to which which they are exposing themselves and their data.

Your hosting company may be on the slow side to update programming language versions. This gives you plenty of time to prepare. But at some point, the update will happen. It won't happen without warning. Your hosting company should let you know if they plan to stop supporting a version of the programming language you are using. Your web developer (that's us!) stays abreast of the latest trends and updates, and will let you know that your site's software either needs to be upgraded, or to be replaced with something else. We are your steadfast, trusted partners in this ever-evolving internet world, ready to help you keep your website up to date.

I'm not sure I'm following. Give me a real life example.

Case study #1:

A short time ago, one of our clients found that her e-commerce website pages and administrative area were no longer accessible at all.

Her hosting company had updated the version of PHP software that her shop software was based on. The shop software had released several upgrades, and newer versions were compatible with the new PHP version, but her site was still running an old version of the shop software. This effectively broke the site, making both the public side and the administrative side of the site completely inaccessible.

The client had not responded to prior emails in which we requested she let us update her software to be compatible with a newer version of PHP, or to replace it with a new shopping cart software which is much more effective for our clients these days. Since she didn't approve these updates or changes, by the time the site broke, we could only access her database. We couldn't even see what her store used to look like.

Now, we do have ways around this, don't worry - that is what we are here for. But these workarounds are considerably more of a hassle and are much more time-consuming than if we had been authorized to keep the software up to date from the beginning, or to switch her store to a different, more up-to-date system.

With her shop effectively broken, she was losing sales and money for as long as it took to get a new solution going.

Case Study #2:

In another example, one client had 23 updates required on her site.

If you make one upgrade, you have a risk of something going wrong, but you can localize the issue fairly easily. If you have 23 upgrades to do at once, imagine all the moving parts involved. Each upgrade is like a separate mini-program, and can interfere with any of the other mini-programs installed on the site.

Upgrading in such a situation necessarily takes a lot longer - and therefore costs a lot more - than if we had been able to log in to the site once a week or once a month, and make three or four upgrades each time, keeping everything up to date.

We offer monthly security and update packages if you want us to take the hassle out of it for you.

 

Security upgrades now will prevent surprises and stress later.

Keep your website up to date and fully clothed.You don't want to wake up one day and find your website is full of holes. If you sign up for one of our security packages, we can take care of keeping your website up to date, fully clothed, and in style - without nagging you about it!

Don't waste your precious time digging into the details of your website's updates.

Let us handle it for you. We take the worries and confusion away, while you handle the aspects of your business or organization that deserve your personal attention.

Let us help you keep your website up to date.

If an issue comes up where it would be advisable to change to a different software, we will discuss this with you and explain our reasoning. If you have any questions about any of this, please don't hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

When you sign up for one of our security packages, we ensure that your site stays safe. We check in on it regularly and apply any necessary updates. No more nagging, just peace of mind knowing your site is safe.

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Alisa Cognard

Alisa was one of the first team members to join Red Earth Design, Inc. in early 2004. From data entry, she progressed to MySQL database manipulation and PHP coding. Alisa is responsible for all kinds of odds and ends: installing new websites, adding features to them, programming databases, PHP coding, website troubleshooting, website security, and organizational tasks for Red Earth Design.

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