Outdated code or features don’t just affect website performance, they affect the user experience. Having a website isn’t the end of the journey, it’s the very beginning. A website isn’t a business card where once it’s printed the job is done. A wide number of factors can turn a simple and functioning website into a security breach-filled mess. We’ve seen it happen and that’s why we highly suggest website maintenance.

Do you know who doesn’t want to deal with a messy, problem-filled website? The customer.

Like a grocery shopper stuck at the check-out counter, a user wants a simple experience. They want to learn, buy, or subscribe without having to jump through hoops just to get to checkout. So after a few years without fixes or updates, your website suffers and then your sales do too.

Believe it or not, it’s avoidable. The actual cost of ignoring web maintenance is worth a lot more than the developer or new host you’ll pay to fix your issues.

Let’s take a look.

The cost of ignoring web maintenance

Security Breaches & Other Dangers

The growing threat of cybersecurity hacks and leaks doesn’t stop growing. Year after year, criminals at home and abroad create new schemes, scams, and hacks to infiltrate websites to access their private data. If your website has a login or checkout system and hasn’t been updated in a while, there’s a very good chance it’s already being exploited.

If a web host is offering core updates and you’re not using them, your site will suffer. If your plugins don’t receive necessary security updates when they’re available, your users will suffer. Thousands of criminals around the world are trying to steal private data and financial information. With a couple of clicks and downloads, your site can be prepared to fight against the threat.

Lower SEO Rankings

So you gave your website a quick SEO once-over when you created it and now you think you’re done. Believe me, you’re far from done. Your website could drop down the rankings, new keywords and trends could be taking the top spot, or your position as an authority has diminished because you haven’t updated your site in years!

Whatever the reason, it’s not a reason to fret, because you can still enliven your SEO.

Fresh Content is a way of boosting the SEO of already existing sites and pages. With fresh pages added, the new content will help drive traffic back to the old pages. You also want your site to appear on Google’s web crawlers, which sift through the internet for data to bolster its search results. Guess what? They don’t look at dead links. They look for updated or new pages. Once you add those pages, and with more search engine indexing, you’ll start rising through the ranks again.

Optimizing keywords should be a consistent and regular task, not a one-time gig. The more you follow keywords and trends the more your website will stay ahead of the competition and attract new and organic traffic.

Declining User Experience

When tech and software evolve, so does the user. The internet landscape in 2024 looks different than it did in the early 2000s. Pageload speeds and downtimes aren’t just a nuisance, they are a serious impediment to the buyer experience. The more time your website spends without getting bugs fixed or without a faster web host, the more time customers will spend searching for alternatives.

You might think that your product is worth the experience. Your sales won’t take a hit from user experience, right?! Wrong. Studies show that roughly 3 out of 4 people will leave a website that doesn’t load within 5 seconds. You wouldn’t stay at a store where you’re not getting service, why would you stay on a website that’s doing the same thing?

Repeat Customers Won’t Return

Repeat customers are the golden goose of commerce. They’re loyal, they spend, and oftentimes they’ll rep your brand as much as you do. That’s why you want to keep them happy. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, the principles remain the same. A customer, client, or consumer making a repeated purchase should have the simplest and easiest experience.

That customer wants to get their order without fuss or trouble, but that’s exactly what an outdated website is going to give them. A declining website is going to affect how repeat customers see your business. It’s the same website, it’s the same product, but now it takes them 3 times as long to make the purchase as it did a couple of years ago. After a couple of times on a slow website, that customer won’t be repeating that.

Your Website Is Your Reputation

A slow and security breach-filled website doesn’t just affect your sales, it affects your brand. Let’s say you sell both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. In-store sales have been healthy so you’ve neglected your website for a bit. Sales are still coming in, so there isn’t a problem, at least not at first.

Your website is your brand. Whether or not it’s your biggest source of sales or revenue, it represents the company and products you create. Having it become a slow and danger-filled online shop will reflect on the brand it represents. Whether you like it or not, customers are going to believe you put as much care into your website as you put into the products you sell. Show them that quality matters with an updated website that offers a modern and quick customer experience.

Benefits of Cost-Effective Maintenance

The customer is always right. That’s not really a fact so much as a motto. Give the customer the experience they feel they deserve and they’ll pay you back in sales. So you might think it’s not a big deal to weather a slow website to get the product you want.

“A data leak occurred a couple of years ago, but they were only able to access emails!”

Those aren’t minor inconveniences, those are impactful and reputation-affecting problems. Your customers aren’t soldiers following you into battle. Don’t treat them right and they won’t follow you anywhere, certainly not to checkout. If your SEO isn’t updated, the customers won’t even see you in the first place. It’s important to know that regular updates are the key to fixing this and not reactive fixes. Making repairs when they’re needed is going to cost you. Regularly scheduled maintenance isn’t free either, but instead of fixing problems regular maintenance will create a more secure site where problems are less likely to occur. If your site is secure in the first place, it won’t need costly reactive fixes.

The cost of not maintaining your website could be the end of your business. It won’t happen immediately, but like the problems piling up on your site, it’s a bunch of small problems that will turn into a big one. So stop taking your customers for granted, stop being cheap, and start fixing your website!