This post will explain how to maintain a website and why it is important.
If you think of your website as your home on the web, then you can think of website maintenance as all of the things you need to do — both things visible to the eye and structural and functional things as well — to keep it fresh, tidy and in good working condition.
To maintain a website, you need to consider:
- What people see when they come to your site
- The platform and code that make up your site
- Your host and server and
- SEO & analytics
Let’s start with the parts of your website that people can see.
What People See
Maintaining the appearance and functionality of your site may seem cosmetic, but it affects whether people convert from visitors to customers. Your website is kind of like what you wear: if look sloppy, people will have a harder time trusting you. Likewise, if your site is sloppy, you will seem unprofessional.
In order to stay fresh, you will need to:
- Update content. Content includes images, blog posts, product updates, company news, giveaways, new pages or features. In fact, sad but true, if you run a business blog you will have to have a system in place for going back and updating posts — especially if your business in any way involves technology.You will also want to regularly schedule an audit of your site to make sure, for example, that all of your links work and your site is free of typos.
Pro tip: Make an editorial calendar and schedule regular audits and assign people to update older posts and pages.
The Platform And Code
Your website’s platform is the software system you used to create it, such as WordPress or Blogger or the code your programmer used to build your site.
- Software updates. Things change fast on the web. For example, if you use a WordPress site you can look forward to updating the WordPress platform itself as well as any plugins you have installed.
- Site speed. Today’s internet surfers are busy people. If your site takes forever to load, they may up and catch the next wave before they make a purchase or download your awesome free content. The issue of site speed involves mostly code but also your server (see below).
- Backups. If you have a WordPress site, get a plugin that will schedule regular backups of your site’s entire database and then have the backup saved to the cloud or sent to you automatically via email. I used UpDraftPlus.
Now let’s talk about host and server issues.
Host And Server Issues
Here are some of the website maintenance issues you may have that involve your web host:
- Uptime monitoring. Critical for e-commerce sites, uptime is the amount of time the server your site connects to is working. If you run an e-commerce site you’d like it to be up and open for business 24 hours per day, wouldn’t you? You can use a free app like pingdom to monitor this. If you find that your site is frequently down, it may be time to consider a new host.
- Domain registration information. Every once in a while it is a good idea to check with your host and make sure the host has your updated information. That way, you can be contacted if your domain registration is about to expire.
In addition to what you put on your site (content), how your site is built (platform and code) and who is hosting it you will need to consider the third party tools you use to make your site a shining success.
Use Third Party Tools For SEO, Reputation Management And Security
Third party tools include Google tools such as Google Alerts and Klout, a website that measures your online influence. Here are some things to consider:
- Search engine optimization (SEO) & web analytics. Let’s assume you have chosen keywords and installed some kind of analytics tool on your site. You will need to update your keywords regularly to make sure that your SEO strategy is on the right track. Similarly, you will need to check your analytics tools to find out:
- How much traffic you are getting
- Where it is coming from
- Numbers of return visitors
- Your bounce rate
- Which of your pages are most popular
- How long people stay on each page and
- Whether they convert to paying customers
All of this information tells you whether your work is paying off and whether you need to make strategy adjustments.
- Reputation management. You can also use third party tools to measure your reputation. Two tools that measure reputation are Google Alerts — if you set alerts for your name and your brand name — and Klout.
- Security. A final important use of third party tools is to measure your site’s health. Google Web Master Tools monitors not only broken links but also nuisances like malware (software intended to harm your computer and/or website written by mean people with too much time on their hands).
And don’t forget, change your passwords regularly.
Pro tip: Add this important task to your editorial calendar.
Web maintenance done properly can be time consuming and overwhelming. If, after reading this post you understand why website maintenance is important but you don’t want to handle it yourself, don’t be shy about hiring a consultant.
Or, if it sounds fun and you feel brave then get going and tell us how it all works out.
Do you have any stories or tips about how to maintain a website and why it is important? Let us know in the comments.
eHow Contributor. How to Maintain a Website. eHow.
Goxerago, Jerry Will, Gaurang, Catdog, Editors. How to Maintain Your Website Using Efficient Web Master Practices. wikiHow.
How to Maintain a Website. Web Page Mistakes.
Johnson, LB, Technology Consultant. Personal communication. June 6, 2013.
Maintaining a Site. University of Texas at Austin.
Maintain Website: Basic principles and tips of website maintenance. Rocketface Workshop.
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