How well oiled is your website? Are the wheels turning smoothly? Are the nuts and bolts firmly in place?
Most business owners have websites for their businesses, but many times maintaining their site is treated as an afterthought. Instead, for the most part, maintenance is only addressed when an issue crops up that makes the website inaccessible or slow. This approach may work, but the best way to handle your website is to make sure you proactively carry out maintenance tasks on a regular basis.
In a different yet equally important scenario, maybe you only did a basic website in the beginning but, since then, your business processes have increased or been updated, creating the need for you to have your website reflect all this. While this isn’t routine maintenance, it is a part of keeping your site current.
Ultimately, whether it’s maintenance and/or an update, the goal is to make the user experience better and to ensure your whole brand is represented.
- Read through our tip, How many clicks?
- Using the information from that tip, do you think your website is serving its purpose as you intended? Is it communicating all you intended to pass across to your audience? Write down the answer(s) to the question using the information from your website.
Looking at your website through your audience’s eyes will help you notice things that may be ‘off’, and this is what will inform your maintenance strategy. You can tell how fast your web pages load up, how long it takes your visitors to get to the information they may be searching for, and if all the information you intended to pass along is readily available for them.
Why do you need website maintenance?
There are several reasons why website maintenance is important, including:
- To make sure your site is running efficiently or at full capacity.
- To allow your brand to be accurately represented.
- To maintain the security of your site by reducing vulnerabilities.
- To attract more visitors to your site.
- To boost the number of returning visitors as a properly optimized site.
- To raise your website’s overall performance in Internet search engine results.
It is very important that your business ranks highly in the search results, and regular maintenance is a part of the ranking recipe. Our web tip, The Basics Of How Search Engines Work, will shed more light on what you should do to keep your website at optimal performance and that will give you direction when planning maintenance for your website.
A maintenance plan will detail, among others, what area of maintenance or task will be done, and when. So what particular tasks are carried out during website maintenance?
Areas of website maintenance
There are several areas of your website that require a regular checkup and update or maintenance if it’s going to run smoothly. Each of the following maintenance tasks serves a different function for your website and must be included during the routine updates.
Each website needs regular updates to be made to its core files, plugins, and themes. Updating these would either add new functionality and options or improve the overall security of the website. But – and I can’t stress this enough – before any update is set in motion, you must have a current backup for your website!
Clients that host with us can easily check this off their list as it is one of the items we take care of as a part of their hosting package.
Having a clear backup strategy for your website data in place helps to protect your website. Never forget, it’s one of your business’s most important assets! If possible, set up, or have someone help you set up, an external backup process independent of your website hosting company. You never know what the future holds, and in the event that you need to switch to another web hosting company, you will still have all your data intact. Confirm that your backups are carried out for specific periods, either weekly or monthly. In essence, there is no such thing as too many backups, redundant backups are great! In addition, check for the potential restoration of the backed-up data, just to be safe!
For us, one backup isn’t enough. At the server level, we’ve upgraded to using JetBack, which allows for incremental backups, making it easy to restore just what is needed. We run redundant backups for all of our hosted WordPress websites that are stored on a different cloud solution than the server backups. And yes, these backups are included with all of our hosting packages.
On a monthly basis, you should test the functionality of your website. Are all forms correctly sending out emails and receiving them? If you have an e-commerce website, make a test purchase to make sure it shows up correctly in the back-end, as well as in any of the transactional emails being sent out. This maintenance check is crucial for making sure all your site processes are in optimal output mood.
Website uptime is the total time that a website or web service is available to users in a given period. Ideally, the target for this is 100%, but a score of 99.9% is considered optimal. Frequent service outages are very detrimental to any business as it is so frustrating to your visitors; you could lose a lot of customers when your site keeps disappointing them.
We recommend running a check to see how your website’s uptime works out. The Free Website Uptime Status Checker lets you do a quick uptime check on your website. All you need to do is enter your website’s URL into the Uptime Checker’s tool and receive the results once it’s done running.
While it’s not possible to have a website that is 100% secure from any attacks, you can still work on making sure your website is as difficult as possible to breach; leaving any malicious attackers to target less secure websites instead. Regular security scans will point out to you what sections of your website require beefing up of security firewalls. You’ll get notices of plugins, themes, or CMS updates, and also if a file has been modified.
We use and highly recommend Wordfence for WordPress sites, but there are quite a few really good ones out there. Neil Patel goes in-depth on all the top security plugins if you want to explore other options.
Once your website is performing well, it stays in optimal performance … until some changes are made that may cause some interruptions. Regular speed optimization is important if you often update or add content to your website. GTMetrix is one tool you can use to carry out a speed test on your website. Just like a full-body health check at a hospital, a speed test on your website will go through your website’s ‘vital organs’ and provide a report on each. Our tip Core Web Vitals explains what core web vitals are, and how they affect your website. This way, you will be able to interpret your reports and come up with the necessary interventions.
Feeling the Overwhelm of Website Maintenance?
Website maintenance is a very important undertaking for anyone who runs a website for their business. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone take care of all your website needs and work with your business to get the most out of your website? We’re here waiting to take care of your online needs! Check out our web hosting packages or website maintenance service. We’re a full-service agency, so can completely “take care of you online”!
Your Online Partner… for Success
You’re passionate about what you do with your business… We’re passionate about helping you grow your business through your online world. Let’s chat! Take time to brainstorm with Christy.