Things to Avoid in Website Maintenance
Maintenance is a good idea for every website, but it’s a requirement for websites using open source code. The upside of open source is that everyone can participate. The downside is that means keeping up with everyone’s changes. Code gets patched, which causes other code to stop working and need patches in turn. Exploits are found and then blocked. Fancy new features are developed, and your users want them. All of this means you need to keep up! The most important weapon to combat these forces is maintenance.
Reinventing the wheel: I’m not saying that custom code or a new system is always a bad idea. Just make sure that’s the best solution to your problem before leaping in. Instead, use software that’s being maintained by others, and change your setup cautiously. Despite its limitations and frustrations, this makes maintenance faster and easier. You might have to deal with a patch that breaks something it shouldn’t. But that’s exactly what would happen with a custom solution, too.
Biting off more than you can chew: A big, complicated website generally has big, complicated maintenance needs. If you start small, it’ll be easier to isolate and solve issues as they appear. You’ll have time to become familiar with your setup before you introduce complications.
Not keeping (enough) backups: Make sure to set up automatic backups and keep multiple versions. Back up at least weekly, and keep at least three month’s worth of them. Statistically speaking, you’ll need those backups at least once, and you’ll feel okay you have them.
Not doing (regular) maintenance: Maintenance is an important part of everyone’s life. It’s the key to long-term happiness. Think about what happens if you stop maintaining your body. If you stop eating or sleeping, you’ll break down. Eventually you’ll stop functioning altogether. If you don’t maintain your website, it too will break down—but not before it sabotages your reputation by giving your visitors a frustrating or ugly experience.