I have been building web sites for over 10 years now, and during that time I have noticed that many people have a “set it and forget it” mentality about their sites. There are lots of problems that come into play when you build a site, and then just let it sit. It is a bad option from the stand point of security as well as a problem with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices and aesthetics.

Security Issues

From a security view, letting your site sit unattended and unmaintained is a potential nightmare. The longer a site sits with no updates or changes to the code, the more likely it is to be hacked. Any scripts that are used within the site become outdated and therefore a security risk. Older scripts pose opportunities for hackers. The longer a script is out there the more ways they can find to break into it and use it to gain access to the rest of your site.

Hackers are a community unto themselves. They share information on known vulnerabilities with each other as well as techniques for using those vulnerabilities to gain access to a site. They have their own forums and private online communities in which they work and network. The best way to keep a site safe is to keep it’s scripts up to date.

SEO Issues

Set it and forget it is also a bad idea from the standpoint of Search Engine Optimization. SEO is an ongoing process. It is kind of like having a car, but not putting any more gas in it. It may be moving now, but sooner or later, it will stop and you will be passed by. If your page is at the top of Google today, you need to keep working to keep it there. Google (and other search engines) likes content. Search Engines like to see new articles, new photos and new links on your site. This tells them that it is a site that is active and therefore more relevant in the ever changing Internet world.

Aesthetic Issues

Another reason to keep your site up to date is that it is just better from a purely aesthetic point of view. When the web was young, a site could go for quite a while and still look fine by the standards of the day. Today, that is no longer true. The Internet is still growing by leaps and bounds and there is a definite style or fashion, if you will, to the way today’s sites look and feel. If you allow you site to go more than a couple of years without much visual updating, you will soon have a site that looks antiquated.

Change The Dial Once In A While

I guess what I am saying is, don’t just build a site and then let it sit. Think of it as a tree. Plant it, then take care of it and it will grow. If you take time to care for your web site and water it, feed it, and prune it, when needed, it will grow large and beautiful. Not only will people see it in the forest, but they will want to come hang out under it for a while.