Maintaining your website is crucial. A well functioning website is essential for customer experience and securing leads.
Maintenance on your website ensures that it is safe and protected from hackers. It is also important for how your site runs. When a website is slow and buggy, it can be detrimental to your SEO and ability to grow.
Here are the six steps to follow when you want to perform routine website maintenance.
Make sure your site is backed up so that if you make a mistake you have a reliable fallback copy. This is a very important practice for all businesses as we are all liable to making mistakes from time to time.
The general rule of thumb is to keep at least three backups of your site in three different places. You can store your backups on CDs/DVDs or drives. Having your website backed up in three different places saves you when one or two of your backups get corrupted.
Website hosting services regularly put out updates, but it’s easy to miss them when you’re trying to juggle an already overcrowded inbox and to-do list.
These updates can be crucial for things like site security and function. Updates can protect against being vulnerable to a brute force attack, read more about protecting your website from being hacked.
After installing each update, play around on your site for a couple of minutes to make sure nothing has been disrupted. And if it has, return to your back up — and be thankful you have it.
Great design and punchy content don’t count for much if your website fails to help you achieve your core aims and targets. That’s why we recommend taking a deep dive into your analytics page to examine various engagement metrics. If you’re noticing any negative patterns, like certain pages are seeing a decent amount of traffic, but there are no conversions, or the average time on page is low, it could mean that something is wrong with your site. Or, it could indicate that there’s something wrong with the user experience you’re offering.
Checking your analytics is a good initial step to take when figuring out which pages need to be optimized. We don’t recommend updating your pages based on your analytics results alone. However, looking at how your pages are performing on the back-end can help you identify which pages to look into more closely.
When you’re looking into your site for areas that need updating, make sure you also look into your content. If you’ve been creating blog content for a while, there’s a pretty good chance you have outdated articles that need to be tweaked. You may also have some redundancies, which could be causing internal content competition and negatively affecting your SEO.
It’s not enough to be creating content that feeds your audience’s needs; you have to be looking at all your previously published content to ensure it’s still valuable. Performing a routine content refresh will help you maintain high-quality, helpful content on your website, which will in-turn feed your nurture campaigns and can ultimately improve your conversions.
Doing a content audit can be overwhelming. But, it helps to draw out a plan so you and your team can easily stick to a process and see results. Working one to one with a content marketer may help with this process, for information on working one to one with us see here.
This step is the crux of what website maintenance is all about. Since you want to optimize the user experience as much as possible, you have to think and behave like a user, navigating your site as a customer would so that you can identify any hurdles that may be standing in the way of a sale.
Test out any forms that live on your site, and check every single internal and external link to make sure you’re not leading your users to the dreaded “404 Not Found” page. Once you’ve done this cursory audit, revisit your homepage and test drive the start-to-finish experience for your main conversion metrics, whether that’s sales, demo requests, or some other distinct action. Is the process intuitive? Is it too complicated? Are you failing to provide the right type or amount of information? By looking at your website from a user’s perspective, you allow yourself to identify problems that might be otherwise invisible — and give yourself a leg-up in getting ahead of them.
You won’t need to do this as part of your monthly or quarterly maintenance schedule, but do make sure that you perform complete usability testing once a year. This should preferably be overseen by people who are unaffiliated with your brand, as there’s nothing like a second set of eyes for catching glaring issues that you may have overlooked. By bringing in real users and having them navigate your site, you open yourself up to gathering data on what’s working and what’s not.
Website maintenance takes work, and it can feel like one of those tasks that are out of your wheelhouse. But putting in the effort and getting up to speed on how to perform website maintenance results in a more visible site to potential customers and an overall elevated brand message.
If you need assistance in developing or maintaining your website, take a look at our services and training programmes or book a complimentary 30 minute discovery call to see how we can help. Click here to book your call now!