Episode 264 Your Website Will Always Be Changing
Rob Cairns sits down with Ryan Waterbury and they talk about why your website is always changing.
- Security Updates.
- Content changes.
- Pictures updated on the website.
Hey everybody, Rob Cairns here today I’m here with Ryan Waterbury and our monthly segment and we’re gonna talk about why websites and SEO and all this good stuff is not set it and forget it.
How are you today, Ryan?
I’m doing great.
It’s the first Meteorological day of fall till things are splendid.
Yeah, officially I think it’s like a couple weeks away.
But yeah, it’s sure starting to feel like fall in probably Minnesota where you are and certainly in Toronto, it’s it’s full.
So let’s jump into this whole ideology and there’s been a couple tweet threads and I don’t even want to give credit to the tweet threads for a number of reasons, but.
Some people have this idea.
You create a website and business owners and you set it up and you leave it alone and it’s going to run great for the next 10 years.
So let’s talk.
How do you feel about that?
Ah, that’s blatantly false. And.
One you and I are both security experts in the in the WordPress arena.
One you can’t.
You can’t just leave software alone.
Uhm, you know, we both saw during the pandemic when people had more time at home that hacking attempts escalated, you know, up to 2000%, sometimes higher in a lot of instances, so.
After that we saw I I think we’re still continually seeing security updates because those hacking attempts for websites haven’t slowed down a lot.
So one is just security updates and that’s just, that’s one of the bare minimums as.
You know that we need to think about.
I think what most people don’t realize is all their software gets updated and a lot of times it’s in the background.
Although if you’re a Windows user you know how long those software updates can take.
I’m a Windows user, so I do yes.
But you know most of the handhelds.
That’s, you know, Internet enabled software.
Your your phone, your your iPad, any tablets.
Android updates your software constantly in the background with security patches daily, and people don’t think about that when we have an open source.
A tool like WordPress or even the other is Drupal Joomla.
You know, a lot of people say, hey, they’re free.
Well, kind of.
They’re DIY, so that means.
Google is not pushing updates to your.
Site in the.
You need to actually go and manage the updates.
Yep, it’s true.
You need an update plan in place to manage those updates.
Come and you know one of my good friends is Robert Rowley, who’s the developer advocate up at Patch Stack.
And as you know, I know the security team quite well as well.
And what will I’ll tell people is it’s better to to patch than not to patch.
So I 100% agree with that and.
Just a a little plug is if you can’t do that stuff, reach and you don’t want to do it, reach out to Ryan or Ryan.
I mean, we could certainly help you with that.
There’s a lot of expertise here in that arena, is there not, right?
Yeah, I, you know, I talked about security updates, but you know, there’s a lot that goes into.
Uh, that management in that plan.
And you know, I call it web care because it really is caring attention to maintaining a site.
You know, those updates.
You know, for security or new functionality.
Because we work in an open source environment and everybody is working on their own.
Siloed projects to do a specific thing maybe.
Or if their their tools overlap those updates can break things.
So when we talk about a website not ever being done and you know when we manage in that in that care environment we do schedule backups and backups before updates.
Uh, to make sure that hey, when we do those updates.
Everything works, and if it doesn’t, we can roll back and start diagnosing those issues.
And at the time, at the time of this record, 6.02 for WordPress has just come out and if you look at the release notes for it, there was three major security updates and I think there was a total of about, give or take 16 or 17 bug fixes.
I want it.
And I certainly wouldn’t do updates like those without doing a backup ahead of time.
That’s just the way I roll and the way you roll, and it’s the right way to roll, to be honest.
Yeah, it it was.
You know, uh, much needed security updates, uh, that were taken care of in core.
And that’s one misnomer that I think WordPress as a whole has gotten is that it’s not, it’s not secure, and part of that is people don’t manage their updates.
Uh, there was a site that I managed.
Uhm for a few years for a client and then they had personal change and they said Nope, we’re going to take care of it and things started not working and it was a non profit org and a member from the board reached out independent to me and said hey, I’m going to get this approved as an expense.
In the next meeting, but hey.
Can you come in and look for something for me?
Wow. I went and looked at the site and I think they had 46 updates that needed to be run.
Somewhere Core WordPress updates, plugins, themes.
Uhm, it was pretty ugly and I said I can see why things aren’t working.
It wasn’t my responsibility to do that.
Their person that they had sent in charge just went in button mash after I had had let that board member know you need to do those updates ’cause.
There were a few security updates in core at that point.
They updated everything and found themselves down for.
Almost a month.
Yep, I would agree.
Well, security updates were kind of only one part of the equation, and.
One of the things I think business owners don’t do a real good job of is updating things like ours.
So especially in the month of December, especially in long weekends, we’re going into the Labor Day long weekend.
They don’t think to go to their HR page and a lot of US list hours on the contact page.
I know I do.
To go in and change those hours, say you’re closed on a on a Holiday Monday or are you open?
I know website aside, Google Business Pages sends out an e-mail and says are you open Labor Day weekend?
They actually remind you to change your Google hours well.
You should be changing their website hours as well, and certainly in the month of December if your retail ’cause many retail uh.
Places have funky hours and they change all the time, right?
Yeah, you know, and this is A and this is a point when people should start thinking about marketing for, you know, Black Friday.
But that’s another discussion.
Uh ahead of that?
You know, not only updating your hours, but you know, I I’ve seen businesses with personnel changes.
Somebody found my contact information on a from a a board position on a nonprofit board that I haven’t been on in over a year.
Yeah, they hadn’t updated their information, so that’s the little things like that.
You know, just for the basic info, like who is the contact person?
Has your phone number changed?
You talked about hours, but there’s other information that’s relevant.
If you’re an organization that’s working on a specific project, are you writing A blog post about it?
To let your, your donors and your supporters know and as a business are you developing a new product?
What are you doing and.
Your blog is really a nice way to keep fresh content out to people that are following you, that want to do business with you if you’re not updating that content one your avid fans.
I think you’re not doing anything.
I’ll just say it like that, but two Google thinks you’re not doing anything and your site starts to slip and drop in rankings because it’s not seen as relevant anymore, and that it’s kind of a dead site.
I I would agree with that.
And then the other.
The other thing is even just general stuff like.
Did you add a landing page?
Do you have a new product that needs a landing page that changes the website?
Did you, if you’re, say, a juror, did you think to update your images on your site every couple months to give it a new fresh hold to get people coming back?
Did you update catalogs if you’re selling products?
If you have a woo.
Commerce Store, did you think too?
Update your new products and get rid of the old products that you no longer carry.
You know and and the Woo commerce side is is an ever changing side.
Did you update your inventory in the back end?
Things like that, like it it just it sounds so basic, but so many people don’t do it.
Yeah, and you know, sometimes it comes down to just, uh, a lack of knowledge on on that, that they should be doing it.
Sometimes it’s a lack of time and organization on who should do these things and get you earlier.
In the podcast you talked about a plan for updates and that that doesn’t just apply.
You know, when we started talking about security updates and, you know, just regular software updates.
That absolutely applies to content and who’s going to update what and when and.
Nine times out of 10 uh, I find that businesses don’t have anyone assigned to take care of those those content updates.
And I’ll say 6 out of 10 don’t have anyone managing their security.
Yeah, that that.
That’s a big problem.
And I always say, if you’re not gonna do it yourself, find somebody to do it for you.
That’s kind of a common phrase and and then the biggest one I got and and we were talking about this before we went to record but I’ll, I’ll share it again is I got a call a couple weeks ago from a client.
And he said I want some SEO stuff done and I want a one time shot in my site all fixed and that’s magically going to fix everything and then we’re done.
I have a bit of a problem with that philosophy, and I’m sure you do.
I you know, honestly? Uhm.
I I look at that two ways there.
I have a lot of clients referred to me that started out DIY on various number of platforms.
A lot of them are WordPress and.
That basic markup and the basic technical SEO was never done.
So that one shot cleaning up it gives them a boost and they see some results right away because they should when you format things in the way that Google wants to see them, just from a basic standpoint of markup.
Uh, you see a boost and you start seeing increases and then those clients that want that one shot think they’re done.
Until six months later.
Nine months later, all of a sudden the rankings have dropped back down to where they were because they didn’t do any other content updates.
What Google and the other search engines like to see is continual, gradual progress, and they want to see it consistently.
One of the things that just happened with the core algorithm update, it’s called the helpful content update and it’s it’s another.
Another attempt to swat the useless AI crap content out there.
What Google is focusing on is you need to write for humans, and you need to write content that’s useful for them.
So for, for myself and for yourself Rob, I try and write how to articles or helpful tips for small businesses on how they can improve things in their business from a technology standpoint or a marketing standpoint because I think that’s helpful for them and.
That that’s how I get my pages ranked up now if I’m.
Crawling and using an AI writer and writing an article.
What’s a marketing funnel?
And it looks like everyone else is.
Google is probably not going to rank that very.
No, they’re not.
But that that’s kind of the key, and it gets back to writing things that are original and personal to your audience.
So I think that’s going to help a lot of the small.
Businesses out there that are doing content themselves when they schedule time.
To do it, and they’re going to start to see more results, but that one shot clean up, hey, you’ll see a big boost if your site was not ever established appropriately.
But it’s a long game and it’s a continual process and once you once you stop you may see some long lasting results if you’ve done some things correctly, but overtime if you’re not continually producing.
Search engines see you as becoming stagnant and not helpful anymore.
No, it’s it’s true and and The thing is too is one of the things I look for when I do SEO stuff is what’s trending and and that’s a big factor and if you don’t know what’s trending.
Uhm, and you’re not changing your website.
How do you adjust for that?
Or how do you adjust another strategy?
And SEO is looking at what your competitors are doing.
Well, if they make a change and you’re not adjusting your website appropriately to keep you in the market, how do you make that change?
I mean, there’s just so much, Sarah, and I think a lot.
Some of it.
Is people not understanding?
But I also think a lot of it is people not having proper marketing budgets and as CEO and websites are a marketing function.
That generates leads and that’s what we got to realize is it’s not just a brochure throw out there.
The design of it is to actually generate leads.
I worked in print for a long time and that’s how I started doing some websites is, you know, I did consulting and workflow automation and technology and color science and technology for printing companies.
But you know, some of them and some of the graphic designers that I worked with back then said, hey, I need a website.
I hear there we just need one.
And there there was, you know, some old school mentality that, hey, it’s just a thing.
Do we we just need it.
And there wasn’t a real.
Understanding of why they needed it.
Well, the reality is, when was the last time you used Yellow Pages?
Well, does well the one.
I I can’t.
Last time you saw a payphone around where Yellow Pages sat.
So your website is your yellowpages entry and the search engine Google, DuckDuckGo, Bing, Yahoo.
That that’s how people find you, and if your site doesn’t specifically spell out what someone looking for and has content that’s relevant to your service that your buyer wants, they’re not going to find you.
And the farther down you get from the top three spots in a Google search.
And especially if you’re off of page one.
Uh, you’re you’re really going to have a hard time finding customers?
You know, through through a search.
So SEO is absolutely important and sure PPC falls into that, but I think a lot of people understand that those are paid results now, so people are smart enough not to click that and they will go down the page.
Look for the organic results.
Or at least I do.
Uhm, if you’re not in there, people don’t know about you at all.
Yeah, I would agree.
And I, I think, you know, moving forward we’ve kind of thrown around some ideas of things that change on websites.
So I think if you’ve listened to this podcast you kind of get the idea where we keep saying websites are continually changing and have work that continually need to be done.
I think the two things that companies need to put together, one is a time budget and two, put together a proper marketing budget to governor website and anything assets that are around the website.
What do you think about that?
Oh I absolutely I I think first it you know, it’s identifying it might be a person, you know but if you’re a one man shop it’s it’s absolutely time. And I’ve I’ve built some checklists that ioffer for free.
They’re helpful to establish that time budget.
I talk about some of the time involved with certain tasks, like who’s in charge of running your backups, who’s maintaining software licenses, and some.
Some people don’t think about those things.
It’s it’s like Netflix, you sign up for this.
Scription and it’s on Auto Bill every month and you know you forget about it.
Can’t necessarily do that with web stuff.
I’m part of.
The problem why?
It gets forgotten about with web stuff, frankly, is web care owners like you and I, and I know I certainly don’t forget.
They don’t think to send out their list of clients that write an e-mail that’s not their normal e-mail.
Maybe it’s geared towards just the.
Clients they don’t think to do stuff like have some kind of a portal, whether you build one or use like you do quick up.
They don’t think to communicate on a regular basis with their clients, and that’s a bit of a problem and that’s why it gets forgotten about.
The outreach strategy, uhm, you know, more and more people are leaving the major social media platforms and you know a lot of businesses up, you know, from the late 2000s. You know, a lot of them would spin up a Facebook business page and call it good.
Can’t do that anymore because it’s buried.
Facebook tries to show organic content from your your friend, friends, feeds and paid content.
So guess what?
You need to have a website and you need to own your content.
And you know, you talked about an e-mail list and I think it’s important.
I think every business needs an e-mail list of some fashion and whether you’re a small business like a tailor shop.
Or you know, a large ecom store.
Communicating that out of office time for that small shop.
You know it’s helpful to your client list.
If they’re regular clients, then they know that, hey, you’re not there.
Or if you’re running a special that they might want to take advantage of, e-mail list is a great way to do it.
Or post it on your website.
Yep, or or both.
Even because some people don’t subscribe to us and some people do.
So, I I would actually do both, but that’s just my personal experience.
Yeah, I your website, you know, is a constant evolution of it.
It’s your number one marketing tool.
And you know there’s a lot of nuts and bolts from the technical upkeep to the content upkeep and building a plan.
And figuring out how much time that you can invest.
And I say invest because.
It’s not an expense, it’s an investment in into your your marketing budget.
That really needs to be thought about.
It’s so, it’s so true.
So, I think we’ve, you know, given some people ideas to think about.
Come if somebody wants to get ahold of you to talk more, Ryan, how’s the best way?
You can find me at one dog solutions on every social, every major social media platform on my website.
https://onedog.solutions/ or e-mail me at Ryan,firstname.lastname@example.org.
And make sure you ask Brian why his office staff button should or really don’t do any work these days, because that’s an interesting problem, is it not?
It is thankfully they are taking naps and being quiet during.
Recording right now.
Have a great day.
Talk to you soon.