What Is Website Maintenance?
Website maintenance is the act of regularly checking your website for issues and mistakes and keeping it updated and relevant. This should be done on a consistent basis in order to keep your website healthy, encourage continued traffic growth, and strengthen your SEO and Google rankings.
Why is Website Maintenance Important?
Keeping a website well maintained and attractive is important to companies big and small in order to engage and retain customers. Your website is an important part of your business. It represents your brand in the online community – it’s your primary avenue to attracting new customers and clients. Regular visitors are looking for what is new, so provide them with new and exciting information, products, or features. Also, Websites are subject to being hacked, with a website maintenance program you can prevent your website from being hacked by keeping everything up to date. Regular monitoring of your website is a must for keeping your business running smoothly.
Website Maintenance tasks
Below are some maintenance duties for websites that should be performed on a regular basis:
1. Keep your site secure:
Always monitor your website for malware, viruses, hackers, and errors. The earlier you are able to detect them, the faster you can secure your website back and ensure that visitors to your website don’t notice any of these faults. Hackers do not usually make an elaborate announcement when they get on the front page of your website. They might have charge of your website and you won’t even know about it. When you set up a regular monitoring service it will ensure that you do not get infected or have issues with site errors. You will be able to fix them very fast.
2. Ensure you keep a regular backup schedule:
Backing up your website is something you should do all the time, especially if you are the type that uses the online interface of your store or blog to make changes. Things happen. Even though the web hosting company says they backup the sites on their servers, their last backup could have been before your last edit. If the server crashes for some reason or your site gets hacked, your edits will be gone if the web hosting company restores what they had backed up. Image losing a whole day’s work, just because you didn’t take a few minutes to backup the site.
3. Keep your Software always updated:
Most websites are built on a Content Management System, which means that its software can potentially be exploited at any time. People tend to use WordPress for various reasons, but one is that it gets updated, secure, and improved constantly. When WordPress releases a new version, the next thing to do will be to update your site. Failing to do this leaves you and your site very vulnerable. Plugin updates should be treated in the same way as all forms of software updates are a form of protection.
Third-party software, like your e-commerce software, and Joomla for example, are always updating their software. You need to keep on top of these updates and install them as soon as they come out. The updates won’t just be new features, they will include security updates too.
4. Keep your Content updated:
Are you connecting to your audience effectively? How should you create your content so that you’ll engage readers and turn them into customers? These are just some of the questions you have to keep in mind when you have to maintain your website’s content. Ensuring you have a regular blogging or publishing schedule that pushes out relevant content will keep your returning visitors happy and engaged. Before posting, always take time to proofread. Don’t hit the publish button without taking the time to edit and review a couple of times. When stating facts, make sure that you’re linking to credible sources, and don’t try to sound overly sales and promotional – remember that your site’s content is your connection to your valued customers. The search engines will like you a whole lot more too as you will be providing answers to queries that come in. If there was one piece of SEO advice that should always be given, it is to publish relevant content and publish it often.
5. Test your website forms/checkout process (quarterly or after any updates):
Make sure to regularly test all calls to action and points of contact/sale, such as “Contact Us” forms and the checkout process on your website. There is nothing worse than discovering your contact form stopped working after website update and you lost business opportunities due to this flaw.
6. Review your KPIs, SEO and analytics reports (monthly):
In order to gauge your website’s performance effectively, you must set and measure the KPIs (key performance indicators), search engine ratings, and the general website analytics for at least a month. This process will indicate the effectiveness of the website and will help expose possible problems.
There are a few other tasks that should be noted;
1. Check for broken links always: Nobody likes broken links and if people keep seeing this on your site then be sure they will not revisit your site. Links become broken over time. With changes within the site and if you referenced someone in one of your articles or somewhere else within the site links could have changed or are broken. The task to find broken links isn’t too hard. Just use a link checker to test your external links and internal links at least once a month.
2. Check site speed: Everyone knows that a fast site is a good site. Nobody should have to spend hours before they get a response to their queries. Testing the download speed of your site regularly is important. Especially if you have added a new feature. Web surfer has a very short attention span. If your site is slow to load, they are not going to wait. You need to do everything you can to improve the download speed of your site or blog so visitors stay to read your content and hopefully provide you with organic incoming links by spreading the word for you what a wonderful site you have.
3. Track your site statistics: Going through your web server stats will show the status of visitors’ traffic. Most of the hosting services are backed with this feature, however, if yours is missing out on this, then you might as well get one installed. There are Google Analytics on every site built, but if you don’t check you won’t know.
Ensure your site is mobile friendly. Everyone has a mobile device on the go and it is the first thing that comes handy for a search. So ensure that if you have a response to a query then your site does not crawl slowly on a mobile device.
Just like any other business tool, your website requires regular checkups and maintenance. Industries and organizations are ever-changing and your website should match to stay on the cutting edge. With these measures in place, it’s sure to run like a well-oiled machine. While carrying out these website maintenance responsibilities, you will definitely be learning a lot.