You may have the most groundbreaking product or the most exceptional service.
Your branding might be top-notch, compelling, and visually stunning.
But all these efforts can be in vain if you overlook one crucial aspect—website maintenance.
Website maintenance ensures that your website is secure, functions optimally, and provides a good user experience to visitors. It’s a broad term encompassing activities to keep your website in top shape.
These activities range from regularly updating plugins and your Content Management System to mitigate security risks to monitoring site traffic to identify significant changes.
Other tasks include reviewing your website for missing or broken content, slow-loading pages, and other issues that could affect user experience. Additionally, it involves conducting design audits to ensure your site’s design is up-to-date and user-friendly. It also involves technical audits to monitor site uptime, check for broken links, and ensure all pages are crawlable by search engines.
The scope of website maintenance can vary depending on the type of website, the platform it’s built on, and the industry it serves. For instance, ecommerce websites require additional maintenance layers to ensure functionalities like shopping carts and payment gateways are operational. We’ve put together everything you need to know in this comprehensive guide…
Why website maintenance is essential
The importance of website maintenance cannot be overstated. It offers numerous benefits beyond the obvious advantage of having a website that works. Consumers and businesses are spending more time online than ever, and if your website doesn’t appeal to them or work in the way it should, the chances are that a competitor will overtake you.
Moreover, conversion rates are five times higher for B2B sites that load in one second than those that take 10 seconds. The average load time for a website on the first page of Google search results is just 1.65 seconds. These statistics highlight the critical role that website speed plays in user experience and conversion rates.
Additionally, 45% of shoppers are less likely to purchase if pages load slowly. When your website is well-maintained, your products and brand shine truly, unencumbered by technical issues that could otherwise hamper user experience and conversions.
Backup your website
The first step in any website maintenance routine should be to back up your site. This ensures that you have a fallback option if something goes wrong during maintenance. Most hosting or CMS providers offer automatic backup options. Make sure these are active and functional. It’s also advisable to download copies of your site to a secure hard drive for added security. Conduct backups at least once per month.
Check your website’s speed
The next step is to check how quickly your site loads, which significantly affects user experience and search engine rankings. Tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights can provide valuable data on your site’s performance. If your site could be faster, you may need to delve deeper to identify the bottlenecks.
See also: How to improve your website’s speed
Perform security updates
Security is a critical aspect of website maintenance. Make it a monthly habit to check that your site platform and CMS are up to date. Also, remember to update any plugins you may be using, as outdated plugins can be a security risk. While on the subject of plugins, it’s a good idea to delete any you are no longer using. This reduces potential security risks and makes your CMS cleaner and easier to navigate. This should be done monthly.
Check content analytics
Regularly reviewing your content’s performance can provide insights into what’s working and needs improvement. Tools like Google Analytics 4 or Google Search Console can offer in-depth analytics. This should be a monthly activity.
Look for broken links
Broken links can severely impact user experience and your site’s SEO performance. Tools like Ahrefs can help you identify and fix these links. This is another task that should be performed monthly.
Review browser compatibility
Your site may perform well on one browser but not on another. Ensuring that your site offers a consistent experience across all major browsers and devices is crucial. This should be checked quarterly and after any significant site changes.
Test your forms
All forms on your site, from contact forms to lead generation forms, should be functional and capture the correct information. This should be checked quarterly and whenever you launch a new landing page.
Perform a content audit
Regular content audits can help identify broken links, outdated information, and other issues that could affect your site’s performance. This should be done quarterly or yearly depending on your resources.
Read also: How to perform a mid-year marketing audit (and why you should!)
Create a 404 page
A well-designed 404 page can turn a negative user experience into an opportunity for engagement. If you still need to get a 404 page, create one that guides users back to relevant sections of your site. This should be reviewed annually.
Website maintenance can be a significant investment, but it’s essential for the success of your business. Whether you have a limited IT team, design budget, or content expertise, there are ways to perform effective website maintenance. Leverage tools, automation, and freelancers to keep your site running smoothly. Reach out if you have any questions.