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- Routine website maintenance protects against data loss, improves performance, improves SEO ranking and helps drive online business.
- To improve website maintenance you must take a number of steps: review analytics, backup data, update plugins, review broken links, ensure device compatibility, conduct speed tests and update contact information.
- Routine website maintenance can cost a lot of time and money, which is why it’s often important to delegate it to a dedicated maintenance team.
Choosing the right web hosting solution is a daunting task for many business owners. WordPress Hosting, VPS, dedicated servers and shared web hosting all present their own benefits, but understanding which benefits best fit your website’s needs is trickier than you may think.
The work doesn’t stop at picking the right web hosting solution, though. Routine maintenance is necessary to ensure the health and stability of your website. Technical issues such as unresponsive pages, broken links and feature malfunctions are problematic for a site when left unchecked. As such, regular maintenance reviews are recommended for optimum performance.
Why Website Maintenance is Important
Routinely reviewing the health and stability of your website ensures that small, manageable issues are promptly handled and won’t affect the site’s performance. In the digital realm, your website is the face of the company – it’s the first point of reference for many consumers and the first place that your products or services will be visible. Don’t give consumers a bad impression of your brand. Learn about the importance of health and stability maintenance below.
Choosing the right hosting solution goes a long way in availing backup and recovery options for lost data. However, it’s best not to put all of your eggs in one basket to ensure 100% data protection. This is why a quality maintenance review needs to include monthly backups instead of waiting until a disaster strikes. Fortunately, there are many website plugins available that provide cloud storage backup capabilities for your website.
However, data loss isn’t the only way that your data can be compromised. Outdated websites, or those running expired security certificates, are more likely to experience third party interference. Hacking, viruses and malware all present threats to your security and thus, your customers’ data. No matter what kind of website you’re operating, it is vital for you to update it with the latest plugins and security patches.
Website Performance and SEO Ranking
Online visitors are growing more impatient than ever. A web page that takes longer than 3-5 seconds to load will typically be left by the average consumer, therefore it is pertinent that your site is running as efficiently and smoothly as possible.
While a well-maintained website creates a good first impression with prospective customers, a poorly-maintained website creates a bad one. If visitors are brought to a website that has long load times, broken links, bad formatting and an outdated design, they’re going to leave for a faster, better-optimized site. We recommend installing Google Analytics, as it allows you to monitor your website’s traffic and the various factors affecting it. If users are leaving certain pages faster than others, that can be a sign of performance issues.
Routine maintenance also helps your site rank better for improved search engine optimization (SEO). Essentially, a well-maintained website receives a higher priority in search engine rankings as opposed to low-quality, improperly managed sites. Regular site maintenance can help ensure that your site is beating out competitors and appearing first on search engine platforms like Google.
7 Steps for Improved Website Maintenance
Now that you know the importance of regular health and stability maintenance, it’s time to make a plan. We’ve included the most important aspects of routine maintenance below, outlined in seven steps:
1. Review Analytics
Google Analytics gives an in-depth look at your website’s performance, as well as any factors that can affect it. By providing a detailed analysis of where users are coming from, what they’re viewing (and for how long), goal conversions and more, you can understand exactly what areas of your site are working—as well as the ones that need improvement.
2. Backup Data
Routine backups ensure that your data is safe, secure and easily recoverable. If you find doing this regularly to be stressful, many web hosting services offer automated backups. If you’re savvy and looking for the perks of automated backups without a high price tag, there are plugins available that can handle the job—such as UpdraftPlus or VaultPress.
3. Update Plugins
If you opted for WordPress hosting and are running a CMS content platform, it is crucial to update plugins regularly. WordPress offers countless plugins that are frequently improved upon, so updates are necessary to avoid vulnerabilities and ensure a smooth user experience. Fortunately, many CMS platforms (such as WordPress) will update plugins automatically as developers roll them out, but it’s still important to manually check to ensure that plugin development hasn’t been abandoned.
4. Review Broken Links
Web pages are constantly updating. A page used in a hyperlink one day may have issues in the future, so routinely checking for broken links is a mandatory part of any website maintenance routine. Broken links lead to empty pages, which in turn hurts both SEO ranking and user experience.
Luckily, there are plenty of free tools online to help get the job done. WordPress also offers plugins that check for broken links, so these are a viable option for WordPress sites. Use this review to eliminate any and all instances of bad links on your site.
- Replace the hyperlink with an alternative source for the linked information (onsite or offsite).
- If the hyperlinked information is no longer available and the content can stand as is, try getting rid of the link altogether.
5. Ensure Device Compatibility
This task is quick and easy. Check your website on the various devices that it will be viewed on, such as smartphones, tablets and desktops. Web browsers interpret and present information a bit differently, so make sure to check the website on different browsers as well.
6. Speed Test
Review your website’s speed and performance. This doesn’t require a clock or stopwatch, simply use Google’s free PageSpeed Insights Tool to inspect all areas of your site’s speed and the factors affecting it. This tool even helps by outlining the steps needed to solve issues affecting site speed. It is also important to note that website features, such as a search function, need to be regularly inspected to ensure they’re working properly.
7. Update Contact Information
Regularly check that all contact information on your website is accessible and up-to-date. However, don’t wait for your next checkup to make the necessary changes. Immediately update contact information any time there is a change in address, email, phone number or personnel.
Don’t Ignore Website Maintenance!
A lot can happen if your website is not regularly reviewed and maintained. It’s likely that you’ll experience:
- Decreased website traffic
- Lower SEO rankings
- Loss of prospective customers
- Issues with data security and data loss
- Poor customer perception
- And more website issues
A website is no longer a luxury for businesses, but a necessity. Furthermore, a well-functioning website is essential for effectively communicating with your audience. That’s why conducting routine maintenance is a worthwhile investment that should be a top priority for businesses striving to strengthen their online presence.
Fortunately, the responsibility of website updates, maintenance and auditing can be easily delegated to a group of professional website developers. Contact Comit Developers today to learn how we can keep your website in tiptop shape and help your brand stand apart from your competitors.