When it comes to important things in life, just owning or creating them is not enough – be it a house, a device, a car or any other prized possession. Anything worth spending time and effort on demands attention and maintenance.
So is the case with your website – yes if you want your website to help you achieve your goals, you have to ‘maintain’ it.
But what is website maintenance?
Keeping your website relevant and updated and regularly checking it for issues among other tasks falls under website maintenance.
If you want to bring up your SEO and Google rankings, bring more traffic to your website and keep the website up and running, maintenance should be done consistently and regularly.
A well maintained website helps in retaining and engaging customers and turns leads into sales. However it is common for businesses big or small to keep delaying website maintenance thinking it doesn’t require urgent action.
But just like your car will eventually give up on you if its recurring problems aren’t dealt with, your website will fall apart (alongside your business) if you keep ignoring it!
Now that you’re ready to take action, let’s look at a few steps in website maintenance in the form of a checklist that’ll help you in the process.
- Check your pages for any errors
- Run a backup
- Update the software and plugins
- Check if the forms are working fine
- Check for broken links
- Search and fix 404 errors
- Engage your community by adding new blog posts
- Remove spam comments from posts and pages
- Check the loading time of your website
- Check your security scans
- Go through website statistics of the last month
- Update any articles if need be
- Analyze if your website design and structure can be improved
- Check if the images and graphics need to be updated
- Make sure your SEO and meta titles and descriptions are effective
- Perk up your forms, calls to action and popups
- Review if any aspect needs to be automated
- Check of your website displays correctly on all devices and browsers
- Evaluate your marketing campaigns to see if any changes are needed
- Check your website backup by restoring a previous version
- Review content of all pages (typos, grammar, relevancy)
- Renew any reference to the current year
- Delete email addresses that aren’t necessary
- Renew your website domain name
- Assess if it’s time for a website design update
- Check which blog articles are performing the best and update them with new content
The important point to note from this checklist is that website maintenance is a constant part of your business – keep on top of it all the time.
If you’re still thinking website maintenance isn’t meant to be taken seriously, here are a few reasons to convince you further:
SEO – your business runs on customers, clients or an audience. You can bring these people to your website only if you have a healthy and regularly updated website.
Google will de-index your website if it’s left unattended for long or maybe subjected to malware. If you want to be on Google’s result pages (that too on the top ones) you have to update your website regularly with new content, news, articles and keywords.
Retaining customers – in order to keep potential customers your website must be free from grammatical mistakes, typos, broken links or outdated/irrelevant content.
They should be able to find what they’re looking for. Your website should look consistent and attractive.
Security – this is one of the most important reasons for website maintenance especially if your website stores customer information. Install regular software updates and security patches. Dormant websites are easy targets for hackers.
Professional image – you will lose your customers if your website lacks professionalism. Meeting certain expectations of the corporate world and your customers is crucial.
For your own sanity – your website can be a valuable asset for your business if it’s been kept updated and taken care of. Otherwise it can cost you greatly. Delaying maintenance can pile up a lot of pending work which then becomes a hassle to tackle. You’ll have peace of mind by staying on top of your website.
Adapting new technology – by regularly updating your website you’ll have a sleeker website through the use of new technology and features. This will make the backend run smoother. This also means you’ll opt for the latest website design which surely attracts customers.
Now let’s talk about the cost of website maintenance. The cost basically depends on the purpose of your website, the audience size and the amount of hosted content. Let’s look at some price brackets below and you can evaluate where your website stands.
A small blog has very few needs and not a lot of traffic. It can be hosted free of cost on a blogging site (Google Blogger) or self-hosted on a platform like WordPress with low costs (for domain name renewal and hosting service).
Active Blog (medium/large in size, wide audience)
If your blog brings in money for you and has an active audience, go for self hosting with some customizations. A slightly higher investment will be required for maintenance, updates, marketing and backups.
Company Website used for Marketing
This will also be self hosted and will have limited content plus simple design template. It will require low maintenance (regular updates, marketing, backups).
Customized eCommerce Website (large)
This will require a larger investment because of due attention to website maintenance. There will be a lot of content, code, customer data and customization so if you don’t have an IT team, find a web maintenance package for your website needs.
Web Application (custom built)
Your web application was built from scratch for a specific purpose and it has to be perfectly working all the time else you’ll lose your business. Hence this will require the largest financial investment. Having a dedicated staff of developers for maintenance is a good idea.
Whether you tackle website maintenance yourself or hire someone to do it for you, make it a priority in your to-do list. Your business success depends on it!
We at 4M Designers with 17 years of website development experience, understand the specific demands and needs of website owners – big and small. Contact us for your website maintenance support today!