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The Critical Importance of Frontend and Backend Website Maintenance

by | Sep 3, 2020 | Security, Web Design, WordPress

A laptop placed on a desk

Most business owners understand the importance of owning a website, but neglect to think about the need for regular website maintenance once the site goes live.  If you fail to account for regular website maintenance, you risk losing valuable customers or clients, thereby affecting your firm’s bottom line.

When it comes to maintaining your website, developers need to focus on both frontend and backend website maintenance. Anyone new to the world of website development and maintenance needs to understand the differences between frontend and backend website maintenance.

In this guide, you will learn what frontend and backend maintenance are and why they are important.

Difference Between Frontend and Backend Website Maintenance

In simple terms, the frontend of a website is what the audiences or visitors see and interact with on your website, while the backend of the website is the behind-the-curtain mechanism and functions that make your website operational and secure.

While frontend code focuses on creating user interfaces through which the website interacts with visitors, the backend code interacts with the server and focuses on delivering data or content that viewers should see.  Since the backend deals with the application, the webserver, and the database, it is a more complex function than the frontend.

When you combine frontend and backend website maintenance, it’s commonly referred to as full-stack development.

Let’s now explore frontend and backend maintenance individually to see what they include and why they are important.

Backend Website Maintenance

Without solid backend support, a great-looking frontend can easily fail. No matter how enticing a webpage looks at first glance, visitors will eventually turn away if the functions are compromised. Poor backend support often leads to a website that runs slow, has frequent crashes, and encounters errors.

The backend takes care of all the database interactions and calculations that are required to ensure consistent performance. The actual coding is majorly handled at the backend, where the code runs not on the client-side but on the server-side.

When studying the backend, you should familiarize yourself with idioms and standardized style guidelines that exist for programming languages such as Python, PHP, Ruby, etc.

Basics of Backend Web Development

Backend web development and design involve the following concepts:

Programming Skills

Some of the most popular server-side languages or programming languages include:

PHP: A highly popular programming language with a large developer community. Popular content management systems (CMS) and frameworks such as WordPress, CakePHP, Drupal, etc., are all backed by PHP.

Python:This programming language is easy to read for non-coders. Some popular sites built on Python include Dropbox and Reddit.

Ruby: Another programming language that’s remarkably easy to read and understand for people with no prior knowledge of it. Used for calculating data, distribute servers, and code business logic, Ruby helps ensure optimal website performance.

APIs

Application Program Interface (API) defines the action of software components, allowing web developers to integrate one service with another conveniently.

Databases

Structured Query Language (SQL) is the universal database query language that every web application requires to store information.

Regardless of the CMS or framework you build your website on, you must use SQL to interact with databases that form part of every backend application. MySQL, MongoDB, and Postgres are some of the most popular database options.

Web Services

Many websites and applications are integrated with independent platforms, such as social media networks and payment gateways. This is facilitated by web services, which ensure efficient communication between frontend and backend tech.

The two most significant web services you should familiarize yourself with include REST (Representational State Transfer) and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol).

Why is Backend Website Maintenance Important?

Helps with Security

The top-most priority for backend website maintenance is security. Hackers around the world are constantly looking for vulnerabilities and weaknesses in online platforms. Therefore, securing your website and its data from security breaches is more important than ever.

Some cybercriminals even attempt to steal information from thousands of credit cards. Others attempt to upload a Trojan Horse or malware, troubling everyone who visits your website. Hackers do all that by tracking and exploiting the website’s outdated security patches and software.

If you use WordPress or a similar CMS, be sure to run the latest version so that your website benefits from the updated security patches and bug fixes. There’s more backend work that ensures robust security that a backend developer can help you with.

Adds Utility to Frontend Functionalities

Backend developers are supposed to write backend codes that add utility to every frontend functionality. For example, to set up the functionality of an account login form, the coder needs to write a code using a server-side programming language.  So, whenever a user enters login details in the form, the backend code records the values and verifies it against the login data stored in the databases.

Similarly, various other functionalities associated with accounts, profiles, and forms rely on the backend code. Thus, every website depends on quality backend coding for smooth functioning.

Facilitates Information Transfer

As mentioned earlier, backend deals with three significant elements of a website: application, database, and server. Before a website visitor can access their user interface, they’re required to enter their login credentials that typically includes a username and a password.

Backend validates these login details and stores any information shared by a user into the databases. The backend also obtains information from the database and directs it to the user interface for frontend display. Acting as a website structure, the backend thus facilitates information transfer.

Improves the User Experience of the Website

The popularity and success of any website are linked to the user experience of that website. Since the majority of functionalities are set up and controlled from at the backend, the quality of the backend code greatly impacts the usability delivered by the website.

Poor backend code or mismanagement can result in serious issues including slow page-loading, website crashes, and so on. Even minor defects in the backend code are not harmless. They make your website susceptible to targeted security and malware attacks.

To make sure that your website offers a rich user experience and is free from interruptions, developers need to create a high-quality backend code and ensure regular backend maintenance.

Consists of the Application Logic

To simplify the development and maintenance of a website, it’s best to keep its user interface and application logic separate.

The application logic includes the components of infrastructure and the domain of an application and ensures routine data processing that every business requires. This critical utility is contained in the backend of a website.

To make sure that multiple user interfaces access the same application logic and achieve seamless switching from one frontend interface to another, developers need to pay attention to backend development and maintenance.

Runs in Different Hosting Environments

It has become common for businesses to run web applications and websites in varying environments, such as on web servers and the cloud. Some businesses even choose to combine the two hosting options to benefit from better scalability and improved performance.

The setup for web servers varies by network. Plus, the server-side workload needs to be distributed across multiple machines. Hence, the varying hosting environments necessitate backend customization and maintenance.

Frontend Website Maintenance

Since the website frontend is what the visitors see and interact with, the primary objective of frontend website development and maintenance is to establish a truly satisfying user experience.

No matter how valuable your website content is or even how smoothly your site runs, your business won’t succeed without delivering a superior user experience to visitors. Hence, it’s important to possess some basic understanding of human psychology as well as learn from the most successful social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Before the emergence of Facebook, other social media sites, such as MySpace existed. Even though MySpace had similar features as Facebook, it was not able to compete against Facebook because of its visual layout.

Today, no one knows about MySpace, whereas Facebook has become one of the internet’s most frequently visited sites. Let’s take a look at some of the technical areas of frontend website development and maintenance.

Technicalities of Frontend Development

JavaScript

JavaScript is an extremely important frontend tool that instructs the user’s system to behave in a certain way once the webpage is loaded to facilitate the creation of dynamic and interactive content. Thus, it helps track visitor behavior for analytical reasons, verifying values entered in web forms, playing video files, and everything that involves making dynamic changes to the content.

While some of the above-discussed features are offered by HTML5 (the updated version of HTML), anyone looking to familiarize themselves with frontend web maintenance just can’t neglect JavaScript.

Some of the frameworks that allow for quick JavaScript development include Ember, Backbone, Angular, and React. Note that JavaScript and Java are two totally different languages, so don’t get confused between the two.

Coding for web design

Perceived Performance

Perceived performance is another critical part of frontend website maintenance that helps modify the website layout so that the user perceives that the site loads faster and performs better.

When you know what adjustments to make, the users will be more satisfied and be more likely to follow your desired path, such as sign up to a newsletter or purchase a product.

Responsive Design

A 2015 report by Similar Web found that web traffic from smartphones and tablets accounted for 56% of the overall online traffic to popular US websites. That percentage has increased in the past 5 years. This trend has necessitated the need to have a responsive design for your website so that the user experience remains consistent as people switch from one screen to another.

Responsive design involves optimizing your website to automatically adapt to different screens and browsers and ensure faster image loading on all mobile devices.

Person shopping online on a mobile device

HTML

When it comes to content display, HTML plays the key frontend role. For frontend website development and maintenance, knowledge of HTML is a must.

CSS

CSS is the advanced version of HTML that builds upon the basic HTML guidelines for developing visually appealing interfaces. Design choices for CSS continue to grow rapidly and the tool keeps on getting more and more powerful.

CSS precompilers such as Less and Sass have made the code writing process incredibly simple for front-end developers.

Importance of Frontend Website Maintenance

Optimizes Navigation

Frontend maintenance helps optimize navigation on your website that makes it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for on your site. It calls for a clean, well-structured, and carefully planned layout accompanied by appealing graphics, thus adding value to the user experience.

Improves Performance

If your website’s loading speed is slow, you can easily lose valuable customers to your competitors. Frontend website maintenance optimizes site performance so that they load faster. This, in turn, leads to higher visitor engagement and retention, boosting your conversion rate.

Communicates Business Intent

Frontend website maintenance also helps you ensure that your website reflects the main purpose of your business. It helps you manipulate the graphics and design that will provide a welcoming experience to the visitor.

Through frontend maintenance and avoiding frequent website design mistakes, you display relevant content in a way that visitors can quickly find answers to their questions. All in all, it prompts visitors to bookmark your website and become your loyal customers.

Final Word

By now, you must have developed a clear understanding of why frontend and backend website maintenance is critical for your business performance. Today, since having a solid website online is more important than ever, to increase your company’s bottom line, consider hiring a full stack web developer for frontend and backend website maintenance.

Nora Kramer Designs offers reliable website development and maintenance solutions. To book a free 15-minute consultation, please get in touch with us.

frontend and backend website maintenance

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