What Is Website Maintenance?
Keeping a website well maintained and attractive is important to companies big and small in order to engage and retain customers. It’s easy for businesses, especially startups, to cut corners and let a few tasks slide.
Website maintenance can easily become one of those things as it doesn’t always present immediate issues. However, just like your health can fall apart if you go too long without a regular check-up, so can the health of your website.
Regular monitoring of your website is a must for keeping your business running smoothly.
What Are the Steps in Website Maintenance? A Quick Checklist
There is a laundry list of tasks that should be done to keep your website running smoothly. The most time-sensitive of these are website security updates and patches. Without these, your website has the potential to be an actual danger to those who click on it.
With that in mind, here is a list of website maintenance tasks that should be completed regularly:
To be done weekly
- Check that all of your pages are loading without errors
- Run a backup and make sure a previous version of your site is stored
- Make updates to website software and plugins
- Check that all of your forms are running properly
- Remove any spam comments from pages and posts
- Check your pages to see if there are any broken links
- Search for 404 errors and fix or redirect
- Write one or more blog posts to keep your community engaged and encourage SEO traffic.
To be done monthly
- Check the load speed of your website and ensure that nothing is bogging it down
- Review your security scans and make sure nothing is out of place
- Analyze website statistics from the previous month
- Check your blog to see if there are any articles that could be updated
To be done quarterly
- Review your website design and structure – can be it improved?
- Check graphics and images – should anything be updated?
- Review SEO and meta titles and descriptions to ensure they are as effective as possible
- Test and tweak popups, forms, and calls to action
- Review your workload for efficiencies to see if anything can be automated
- Test your website on all devices and browsers to see if it displays correctly
- Review advertising and marketing campaigns to see if anything needs to be changed or updated.
- Restore a previous version of the website to check your backup health
To be done yearly
- Update any reference to the current year
- Review each page for content accuracy, grammar, typos, and relevancy
- Check any active email addresses and see if any are excessive and can be deleted
- Ensure that your website domain name is renewed
- Consider whether a website design update is due
- Review all of your top-performing blog articles and see if they can be updated with new content
A Proper Website Maintenance Plan Is a Circle
As you can see from our checklist, website maintenance should be a consistent part of your business. It grows on itself, and if not correctly implemented, can cause some serious problems and setbacks to your potential growth and business health.
Staying on top of website health takes awareness and organization. This is particularly the case for a large site with hundreds (or even thousands) of pages.
With the introduction of new tools to make website building easier, website sizes are growing each year. While it’s easy to add pages to most websites, it’s not as easy to keep all of your pages in a good state.
All that to say: keep on top of your website maintenance.
Why Is It Important to Do Website Maintenance?
Many new businesses already have a lot on their plates without worrying about constantly checking in on their website. It’s tempting to buy a domain name, throw up something temporary, and just worry about it later. There are many reasons why this is not a good idea. Maintaining a current, healthy, and active website is important for a number of reasons.
The whole point of starting a business is to have customers, clients, or an audience. To drive traffic to your website, you’ll need to keep it regularly updated.
Google wants to rank websites that have the most relevant and up-to-date information on their search engine results page. They may even de-index your website entirely if it hasn’t been updated recently enough and if they suspect it has been infected by malware. You must keep your website regularly updated with current content, news, keywords, and articles in order to rank well in search results.
Regular website maintenance is invaluable for SEO strategy.
If your website is gaining traction and traffic, it’s important to keep those potential customers. If they aren’t able to find what they are looking for, current information, and relevant content, there is a good chance you’ll lose interest quickly. In order for your website to be the useful tool you want, you’ll need to ensure it is free from typos and grammar issues, has any and all information a customer could want and looks engaging and consistent.
This is the single most important reason to keep website maintenance on your radar, particularly if your website is storing any form of customer information. If you are using a website-building platform like WordPress or Wix, you must ensure that you are installing regular software updates and security patches. It can be easy and attractive for hackers to find and target websites that have sat dormant for too long.
It’s becoming more and more simple to create a website that looks well-designed and professional. There is an expectation for a professional website from professional companies. If your website doesn’t deliver on the promise of professionalism, your customers will often go elsewhere.
Your website is a very important element of your business. If it is up-to-date and running smoothly, it can be a valuable support and asset. If it is not in a good state, it can cost you dearly. Once you are behind on your maintenance needs, it can be quite the process to bring the website back up to speed. Sometimes, if your maintenance has been ignored for too long, it is easier just to scrap everything and rebuild from the scratch.
Do yourself and your business a favor by staying on top of your website. This will repay you with the simple ease of mind.
Keep up with Trends in Design and Technology
The sleeker your website is, the more you’ll convince potential customers that you are their ultimate choice. If you’re staying on top of your website maintenance, you’ll also have the opportunity to be an early adopter of new website technology that will help the back-end run more smoothly. If you’re installing software updates regularly, you’ll be able to take advantage of new features that install along with the updates.
You’ll also be able to tweak your design to stay on top of the latest website looks. It’s far more tempting to employ a company with a polished and modern website than one that looks like it hopped on a time travel device from 2003.
How Much Does Website Maintenance Cost?
There are different cost expectations based on what your website is used for, the size of your audience, and how much content is hosted. We’ve discussed the different pricing brackets below.
Small Personal Blog
A small blog typically does not have a lot of traffic and has very few needs. This can be hosted on a blogging site like Google Blogger with no costs whatsoever. Or, it could be self-hosted using a platform like WordPress with low monthly costs stemming from domain name renewal and hosting service.
Medium-Large Sized Active Blog with a Wide Audience
If you have a blog that is bringing in an income with an active audience, you will likely want to be self-hosted with some customizations. This will require more frequent maintenance, updates, marketing, and backups, and a slightly larger monetary investment.
Company Website for the Purpose of Marketing Only
Similar to the medium-large size blog, this will need to be self-hosted with a simple design template and limited content. It will be low maintenance for upkeep with regular updates, marketing, and backups.
Large Customized eCommerce Websites
This will be a larger financial investment as you’ll need to be vigilant about website maintenance. You’re handling a lot of content, code customization, and customer data. If you do not have an IT team on staff, we would recommend finding a web maintenance package to stay on top of your website needs.
Custom Built Web Application
This will be your largest financial investment. Your web application was custom built from the ground up for a specific purpose and it needs to be in top-notch working condition at all times or your company will suffer. This likely needs a dedicated staff of developers keeping a close eye on the maintenance.