If you own a business in this day in age, you more than likely have a website to represent you and your brand. Many factors determine the success of a well-maintained website. Everything from having an easy and impactful experience when someone does a web search for your business, to making and procuring leads and customers easier. To ensure a website is operating properly, website maintenance is something that needs to be performed on a weekly/monthly basis. It is important to regularly maintain a site to protect information from hackers, update, run audits, and keep it running at optimal speeds.
A majority of businesses rely on their websites to grow their company and having a site that is slow can have huge implications on a site’s SEO. When somebody is searching for specific needs, you want your brand to be at the top of the page. Unfortunately, brand awareness is not easy to build normally, sometimes taking years. A website must load quickly and be well-designed to be successful. Monthly or weekly website maintenance can help you identify what parts of your site are holding your company back from growing.
This article will help to show you what is important when it comes to website maintenance:
Perform Website Maintenance Regularly
The first thing you should always do is check for outdated plug-ins, or updates put out by your hosting providers. This is something that is extremely detrimental to the functionality of your site and can be easily overlooked. Another thing to remember once you have checked and installed all updates is to visit your site and make sure none of the updates have disrupted anything on the site. It is best to run updates when the traffic on your website is the lowest. As a result, if something does not load properly, it will not impact customers who are actively browsing your site.
If an update has caused a problem with the site function, do not sweat it. This leads us to our next important website maintenance protocol:
Create an Up-to-Date Backup of Your Website
You want to make sure that you have a copy of your website in its most recent state. Making a backup copy of the recent version of your site before and after you perform your important maintenance can really come in handy. It will make it easy to revert to its original state if an update caused a major problem that is going to take a little longer to fix. Having multiple copies of it also isn’t a terrible idea just in case something happens to your original one. All CMS and site builders have a way to easily save the most recent version of your site, so use it! It could save you from a major headache down the road, so just make it a part of your routine maintenance.
Next, become familiar with your website’s analytics page. Doing this and understanding all the information you can collect from it and how to use it can help you improve your performance and rankings exponentially. It gives you a look at different engagement metrics to help you identify negative patterns-like a page that has a high number of visitors but is not getting any conversions. This gives insight into what problems you may be experiencing with your site and on what pages. No matter how great your content and design are if you are not reaching your KPIs, it won’t mean a thing. It can tell you specific pages that need to be optimized. Although be aware, you shouldn’t change your pages only because of your results with analytics. Another way you can know what pages need to be edited is by looking at them at the back end of your website.
Using Google Analytics can be an immensely helpful tool when doing your routine maintenance. Make sure you have all the filters they offer to set up in a way that makes the information more useful to you, and in a way you understand, based on what you want as far as results for your brand or business.
Now that we have covered updates, backups, and analytics, let’s talk about content. When performing your website’s maintenance content is another thing that sometimes gets swept to the side. A blog is a common thing for businesses to have on their site. If you have had a blog on your site for a long time you likely have articles that are past their relevant date and need revision.
You should make sure the content you offer on your blog is helpful and valuable to your audience specifically. Look for parts of articles that are redundant, which can cause content competition, and could negatively impact your SEO. Then make whatever changes you need to. One thing you can do is research and understand what tools are available to help you identify errors in articles on your blog or pages with lots of content. Deleting articles that have repeated information or combining them with other articles is an easy fix. When you go about fixing them, do so on the pages with the most traffic first, then move on to other less popular pages/articles.
Having up-to-date content is something that should be a part of your maintenance routine at least every few months.
Website User Testing
Another thing that should be on your checklist is usability testing. Although this does not need to be a part of your monthly or even quarterly maintenance schedule, it should not be left out. This is something that should be done at least once a year and done by someone who is not affiliated directly with your website or company. You get to see your site from a different viewpoint, catching any glaring problems you may have missed. When you do this, it opens the ability to gather tons of information on what is and is not working.
The True Customer Experience
Moving forward, the last thing on the list is what website maintenance is all about. That would be navigating through the site like a potential customer. If you observe your site as if you were a customer, you will be able to determine whether there are any obstacles standing in the way of sales. Optimizing user experience means considering, acting, and thinking like a user as much as possible. A good place to start would be checking all your internal/external links, making sure no visitor is experiencing “404 page not available” on any of your pages. Next, you should click through your site from beginning to end. Make sure that the process is not too complex, and that you have enough available information that is current and relevant. When doing this, it will give you a complete perspective of a user on your site and helps you identify any navigation challenges ahead of time.
Website maintenance may not be a walk in the park, and it might seem overwhelming at first. But it can result in having a site that is ranking better, which in turn can bring in more revenue, and elevate your company and the message you want to convey to consumers.