Monday, 5 May 2008

Reducing Maintenance Tasks

Routine maintenance tasks are a necessary burden for all of us in the webmaster game. When developing new projects, it's worth planning ahead to reduce the amount of time these tasks will take. In this post I'll look at installing new scripts vs choosing third-party solutions (for any type of dynamic content on your website).

If you read the "Which blog software should I use?" threads on any webmaster forum, you'll see that most people are recommending Wordpress. That's because it's probably the best blog software. You'll notice that I use instead - an inferior solution it would seem. However there's a good reason.

As each of my projects has become more successful I've realised that those little routine maintenance tasks begin adding up. For example, every new script I install on a website needs to be updated periodically. For the first few years this wasn't much of a hassle, but now that I have dozens of scripts, updating them is becoming a regular annoyance. That's why I went with - because I'll never have to worry about security patches, plugins or anything else.

If you're ever considering installing a new script, make sure you think about how much time will be involved keeping it updated. You can usually get a good idea by viewing the script's changelog (version history). Check out the support forum (if there is one available) and see how much drama other people have encountered in previous updates. And of course, you might like to consider using a solution hosted by a third party (like to eliminate those little maintenace tasks altogether. IMO it's often worth some sacrifice in features to have a no-hassle solution.

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