I recently had my entire site down due to several factors; problem in the database, injected code and my hosting company advising me to update to the next code version which then led to several other fixes needed elsewhere, and then…
Well, you get the point.
The right time to do an update and change my site’s look had presented itself to me, but what if the above problems hadn’t happened? Then when should I make updates and changes?
In my opinion, whenever you want.
If you have a website and looking at it makes you feel empty and incomplete, then change it so it makes you feel better.
That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind depending on the kind website you have.
If you have an online store, the changes and updates should be made at intervals when the site traffic is slow. You should also update sections of the site one at a time so that parts of your store can remain open. The other reason you may not want to do a full-out update that involves shutting your whole website down, is if something goes wrong.
Something can always go wrong.
What I mean by wrong is typically somewhere in the code. If a bug appears while updating, the time you gave yourself to do the update may increase exponentially. If your whole site is on standby, it could possibly be several days or longer before you can be up and running again.
Another important thing to consider is your site’s ability to be found on search engines. Gone, for the most part, are the days of the page ranking system, or at least the tangible number you once could add to your site (if it was a high number!). Now it’s all done behind the scenes with algorithms and formulas that are very complicated to understand.
One thing that isn’t hard to understand, is that the adage, “content is king” is still very much alive and true.
What does that mean? It means that new content added frequently makes your website more attractive to search engines. Based on that, if you’re updating your whole site and it’s offline for a period of days, well…the site will be less attractive.
You can’t always avoid having your whole site down, however. Perhaps malicious code has found its way into your database or backend code. Maybe you’re completely overhauling your current CMS, or switching to a new one. No matter what the reason is, plan ahead, expect problems and plan for those problems.
Keep these tips in mind when it’s time to make some changes and try to plan strategically.