Website Maintenance: Why It’s Needed
Website Maintenance is very important to your website for your business or organization. A website is like your storefront to the world. It allows you to sell products and services, provide information and attract new customers. I allows you to reach customers far beyond your geographical area.
What is amazing is how little attention is given to websites once they are built. This is a major problem for more than half of all websites. Websites require maintenance and upkeep just as your brick-n-mortar offices. This is a point that is lost on many businesses and organizations that build websites and give very little consideration to maintaining it.
Website maintenance requires some time, basic web building skill, research and consistency. For those reasons, many businesses and organizations, smartly, pay for professional services. Maintenance is generally very affordable and it assures the proper attention is being given to your virtual space.
Outlined below are some of the basic and general tasks required to keep your website up to date, relevant and inviting to new and return visitors
Daily/Weekly Website Maintenance Tasks:
- Check your site daily to for completed customer forms (if applicable), other correspondences or page errors.
- Fix any broken links. Check images that may be linked from another webpage.
- Write a blog post or add new content to the website weekly. It is important to keep your content fresh.
- Perform searches with major search engines to get idea of ranking on each.
Monthly/Quarterly Website Maintenance Tasks:
- Review your website statistics monthly. This gives you a picture of where your traffic is coming from and if your reaching your audience.
- Review your local search visibility quarterly. Register the website with local searches and regional search engines
- Review and adjust meta tags and search engine optimization quarterly.
- Test forms and automated messages – If you have forms on your website, you need to review them to make sure they are working properly and are collecting the information that you need.
- Test your website on new web browsers – Web browsers are updated frequently and sometimes it affects how your website will display. View and navigate your site in each browser to ensure it is up to your standards.
- Back up your website.
Yearly Website Maintenance Tasks:
- Update time references and copyright in footer of your website or other locations.
- Review each page on your website for consistency (fonts, photo sizes, grammar & copy-writing).
Those are just general tasks that are required to keep your website fresh, relevant and accessible to all your visitors. There is also attention that needs to be paid to your hosting environment. Your hosting environment is never seen by your visitors but is most vital in the operation of your website.
Hosting Environment Maintenance Tasks:
- Review updates and changes as released by the hosting company.
- Evaluate your active email accounts; delete unnecessary ones create new ones as necessary.
- Review your website domain names and expiration dates. Review and renew whois protection (if necessary)
- Update server environment (php version, server software upgrades)
- Make sure redirects and error messages are correct. Improper error coding and redirects can effect how your website is viewed by search engines.
- Update ‘blocked’ ip addresses and verify that your not blocking an ip that effects the functioning of your website
- Monitor cpu and bandwidth usage to avoid suspension by your hosting company.
- Check to be sure your file permissions are correct.
- Update any server side software (including any content management system you may have installed, like WordPress or Joomla)
- Create new or back up databases
Depending on the complexity of your website and hosting environment, other tasks maybe required but these tasks are applicable to most, if not all websites.
I always recommend that businesses and organizations get a professional to maintain their websites because, in addition to all the tasks listed above, a professional webmaster will serve as the technical contact for any issues with your website. Webmasters will generally add your websites to their webmaster accounts, increasing the ranking and ultimately, the visibility of your website. A good webmaster will also actively promote your website by registering it with various directories and search engines. There are a lot of little benefits that a webmaster brings to your website just because they are constantly on the web and often are privy to tools and techniques that help improve your website and it’s visibility.
The bottom line is this: Don’t build a website and abandon it! Doing so is counter-productive. Visitors visiting a website that looks outdated and has old information, usually wont stay long or return. If your website has broke links or tons of errors, people will leave quickly and never return. It’s a good practice to view your website as you would your office space or store front. Businesses go to great expense and effort to keep their buildings and work spaces updated, clean, functional and inviting. Take that same approach to your website. If you can’t do it or a member of your team, it is best to get a professional webmaster and maximize the returns on the investment you made in your website.
Author: Keith Barney