Website Maintenance: The missing element in your 2021 digital strategy
Website maintenance is probably one of the most important yet frequently overlooked parts of a digital growth strategy. Updating your website layout, switching up your photography and boosting your Google rankings seems a lot more exciting and gives more tangible results, yet website maintenance shouldn’t be forgotten. It is critical…
Website maintenance is probably one of the most important yet frequently overlooked parts of a digital growth strategy. Updating your website layout, switching up your photography and boosting your Google rankings seems a lot more exciting and gives more tangible results, yet website maintenance shouldn’t be forgotten.
It is critical if you want your website to operate properly and for customers to find browsing your site an enjoyable experience. It is also crucial for you to maintain your website diligently in order to keep it secure and shouldn’t be disregarded as part of your marketing strategy.
In fact, you should be dedicating time at least once a week to website maintenance so you can keep on top of it, before it becomes an overwhelming task. Website maintenance is essential to ensure your website remains secure and boosts returning traffic.
Is your website built using WordPress or another popular Content Management System (CMS)?
While CMSs have plenty of advantages and so tend to be extremely popular, there’s one big disadvantage – their popularity means hackers are much more likely to target their systems and identify flaws in the code which they can exploit. As a result, it’s extremely important to stay on top of updates.
If you’ve got a large website, this can get time consuming however it should in theory be as simple as logging into your website’s backend regularly to check for updates. If there are any updates available, run them as soon as possible to avoid your data – or your customers’ data – being hacked.
Keep the user front of mind
Regularly updated content that brings your customers value is incredibly important for running a successful business. Shareable content like events, images and blogs gives your audience a better understanding of your brand’s identity and mission. Content that’s good for engagement should also be updated regularly, such as ensuring social media and newsletter links are accurate and link to the right places.
A well-maintained website shows professionalism and promotes your brand and work. Website maintenance also includes removing information that is no longer valid or out of date, and you should conduct regular site audits to find problems and errors on your site such as broken links or dead pages.
Anyone who has ever had their site hacked or had it crash will tell you the importance of backups! Having to start again from scratch is a huge waste of time and money, so ensuring you have a full copy of your website files and database is essential. Imagine losing everything, the website you worked so hard to develop and probably paid a lot of money for and having to re-create it? Scary thought right?
Your website hosting company will usually keep a backup and it’s diligent to make sure you have another regular one setup, elsewhere. If they’re not already, get them setup now to avoid disaster.
Have you ever clicked on a site and been faced with a loading icon that never seems to disappear? We all have, and most of the time, we give up immediately and close the window. Loading times are critical for customer experience, with 53% of mobile users leaving a webpage if it takes more than three seconds to load.
Website maintenance helps you keep on top of the elements that slow down your site, keeping those loading times as low as possible. Google’s search rankings also reflect loading times, meaning you’re likely rank higher if your site is faster. A speedy site means your customers don’t get bored and give up, and Google makes sure more people find you as well.
It’s vital to ensure that your website is regularly tested – not just during the pre-launch stage.
So, what should you be testing on your website? There’s a whole heap of things you can do, and as website maintenance professionals will tell you, you can spend hours ensuring everything is working perfectly. However, as a starting point, make sure you regularly test things like the forms on your website. Do they still send successfully? Check for broken links too and if you’ve got an e-commerce website, it’s well worth checking regularly that your checkout and payments system is working as it should.
Testing your website for functionality, usability and accessibility will not only make the entire customer experience better, it will also create a greater opportunity for it to please Google, thus rank better.
You can have the best backlinks and use all the keywords and well written content you like on your website, but if you’re not maintaining it regularly, it could all be for nothing. Website maintenance goes hand-in-hand beautifully with SEO to keep your enquiries flying in. Google raises the ranking for websites that are frequently updated with new, relevant content, meaning they’re much more visible. The higher your search ranking, the more likely your website and content will appear when your targeted audience searches your keywords.
So if you really want your customers to find you, spend time updating your website with valuable content, removing duplicate pages and fixing broken links.
In A Nutshell
Website maintenance may not be the most glamorous task out there, but it is essential if you want to succeed. From security to speed, not keeping on top of these small maintenance jobs regularly can lead to a negatively impacted customer experience or leaving your website vulnerable to hackers. By ensuring you stay up to date with CMS and plugin updates, clearing out broken links or dead pages, backing up all of your site data and sharing engaging content, you can avoid all of these negative repercussions.
Many businesses have failed due to not staying on top of basic website maintenance tasks, don’t let yours be next.
By Phil Storey
Phil Storey is the founder of Glow – a pioneering website maintenance app designed to highlight the importance of website maintenance and power digital growth. Incorporating all aspects of website support and upkeep for WordPress websites, Glow streamlines the processes involved with website maintenance. When Phil’s not planning the growth of the business, you’ll find him pushing his e-commerce business, Kijani and travelling backwards and forwards between Leeds and Barcelona to see his girlfriend Sophie.