Websites and houses have one major thing in common: you are NEVER done working on them! Sometimes your needs or tastes change and you need a redesign. Other times, you have to spend a lot of money to repair something that you’re not sure how it broke in the first place. It’s hard to know why websites break, why things in your house break, and whose fault it is.
Imagine Your Dream House
Imagine you have a beautiful new house. You spent countless hours working with the builder, picking out all the finishes, getting everything just right. Not to mention, this beautiful house also cost you a pretty penny. You move in and you love it; everything is perfect and just as you imagined it.
After you’ve lived there for a while, you decide you want to change the wall colors, so you repaint. Next, you’d like to upgrade your appliances to the newest models with the extra bells and whistles. Your washing machine starts leaking, so you have to hire someone to come out and fix it. You make sure your furnace has regular tune ups in the fall to make sure everything stays in proper working order. You went too many years in between staining your deck and now the wood is rotten, so you hire someone to build you a new deck. And after a number of years, you decide the house isn’t quite big enough anymore, so you build an addition to accommodate your need for more space.
You’ve realized that home ownership requires a lot of upkeep; sometimes preventative maintenance, sometimes fixing something that broke, and sometimes because your tastes, needs and styles change. When you need someone to either fix or upgrade your house, you know that you need to pay extra for these services- You wouldn’t go back to your builder and expect them to at no charge fix your washing machine when it breaks, to change the color of the walls because you changed your mind, or build a new deck due to your lack of maintenance. Well, you guessed it: The same is true with a website!
How Does a Website Break All On Its Own?
When you invest in a new website, there is a common misconception that your website will work flawlessly forever with no maintenance or additional cost involved. But unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Something that worked fine yesterday may not work today; it’s like it broke on its own. It’s frustrating as the website owner, because you certainly didn’t do anything to break it, but there it is: A broken website that you now have to figure out how to fix. Most often when websites seemingly break all on their own, it’s due to one of the following things:
Your website looks great in the current version of Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer. Next thing you know, your site looks and behaves differently. It could be an update to the internet browser, the operating system running these browsers, or the device on which you’re viewing the site. Web designers and programmers can do a lot– but they don’t have the capability to look into the future to see how these updates will affect the current website.
Your website likely has multiple plug-ins for different functionalities on your website. Your site and all the plug-ins will need regular updates, and occasionally there is a chance that the updates may not play nicely together. In these cases, you need someone to sort out the updates and get things back to normal.
Having full admin rights for your website means you have the ability to make changes and updates to the site on your timeline and not wait for your web developer to update (If that’s even a service they offer). However, this also gives you full access to break the site. Having admin access is the equivalent of getting the keys to your new house. You can do anything you want, which is both wonderful and potentially dangerous. You can update the carpet and paint, but you can also topple the entire house if you’re not careful.
There are other issues that can affect the way your site behaves, including hardware failure, viruses, and firewalls among other things. When your website has a problem, it takes time to diagnose the issue, in addition to fixing the actual problem. Depending on what the problem is, it can take some time to figure out what is going on. Sometimes, even longer that it takes to fix it.
My Website is Broken: Who’s Fault is It?
Naturally when you have issues with your website, it’s easy to get frustrated, angry, and look for someone to blame. You know you didn’t break the site, so you may expect the website builder to fix it for free. But there’s a pretty good chance they didn’t either.
Your web designer’s job is to deliver a working website to you, free of bugs and glitches. Remember: This is not a lifetime guarantee. It is a promise that at the time of delivery, your website is in good working order and functional.
Your web hosting company’s job is to keep the software updated, apply security patches and take regular backups of the site.
*** Please note, it’s possible that your web design company can also host your site, as is the case with Blindspot Advisors.
Your job as the website owner is to make sure your site is maintained, either by doing it yourself or hiring someone to do it. In addition to the monthly maintenance, you need to make sure to budget for the unexpected. Because as we’ve learned, a website isn’t something you purchase once and never look at again. And if something does go wrong, be prepared to pay an hourly fee to have it fixed. Just as you would pay a contractor to come fix something at your house.
If you have questions about why websites break, your site’s maintenance, hosting, or potential issues with your website, get in touch with Blindspot today!