What is website maintenance?
Your website is like your car or garden – in order to continue to run and present itself in the best possible way, it requires consistent maintenance. And considering it’s often the main point of contact that potential customers will have for your business, it is essential that it is kept running reliably and efficiently. Cutting costs, ignoring website maintenance, and not repairing issues as they occur may lead to costly repairs and losses in traffic and sales. As such, it is evident that website maintenance must be considered and planned for.
Website maintenance is the process of regularly checking your website for issues and mistakes, while also ensuring the content is updated and relevant. As your website is the main point where customers will find and interact with your business, it is important that they have a smooth experience to ensure they will return to you, and not be deterred to your competitors instead. Regularly maintaining your website to ensure it is at its most optimal pays dividends in that it can load faster, run more reliably, and spare the headache and expense of malware and hackers. These processes are important to keep your website healthy and protected from vicious hackers, encourage traffic and growth, and ensure your SEO and Google rankings remain high.
A well-maintained website benefits your business and its growth by ensuring a seamless experience for your customers, encouraging them to return. Imagine if a customer visits your website and each page takes more than 3 seconds to load. They will become frustrated and leave for your competitors instead, losing you revenue and a potential client. By performing monthly website maintenance, you can ensure that customers have no issues accessing your pages and products.
Monthly website maintenance checklist
This is a list of tasks that should be performed each month to ensure that your website runs smoothly. The tasks aim to optimise your website performance so that it is easier for customers to find and use, improve the security measures to prevent hackers, and general reviews to ensure things are working as they should.
To be completed monthly:
- Check the loading speed – Customers will spend an average of only 2 seconds waiting for a webpage to load before they move on, so make sure loading times do not hinder their experience. Look for elements such as high-res images that may be slowing loading times and ensure they are corrected.
2. Review security scans – Make sure nothing is usual or out of place, and if something is, then see it is resolved.
3. Analyse web statistics from the previous months – This includes your Google Analytics which will inform your content strategy. You can see how much traffic is coming to your website through your Google AdWords, as well as ensure your links are working.
4. Check blogs for articles that need updating – Customers come to your website looking for relevant and up-to-date information, so make sure you go through your blogs and make sure they are with the current times.
5. Keep your CMS (Content Management Systems) up-to-date – Make sure your website is running the most current version of your CMS as hackers will learn how they work over time, thus making older versions of CMS more vulnerable to attacks. Providers like WordPress consistently add new security features so you can stay protected by performing regular updates.
6.Keep plugins up-to-date – Similar to how hackers familiarise themselves with CMS, older plugins become more vulnerable to attacks and will need to be updated to stay secure. Additionally, with new features rolled out, your plugins will need to meet new standards of performance.
Why is it important to do website maintenance?
Your website is the digital storefront of your business – it is important to maintain a professional, functional website as this is generally the main point of contact your customers will have with your business. Regular maintenance and updates with relevant, useful content that is optimised to be found through search engines will ensure good search rankings and help retain customers.
Let’s explore the benefits in further detail.
Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO for short) is the core of how customers find your website – effective SEO can drive high quality and quantity of traffic so it is critical that it is attended to. You want to ensure your website is ranked highly on search engine results and is relevant to those searching. There are also risks of becoming de-indexed if a website is deemed dormant from lack of updates. Ensure your website is kept up-to-date with current content, news, keywords, and articles/blogs.
Customer attraction and engagement
To maintain traction and traffic to your website (whom of which are your potential customers), they need to find current information and relevant content on your website so that it continues to be a useful tool/resource that they will come back to, and may even convert to a paying customer in the future. Engaging, consistent content that has what the customer is looking for will ensure they will return.
Slow loading times, broken links, and annoying spam messages are enough to deter a customer elsewhere. A professional website that impresses them and is easy to navigate will ensure they leave satisfied and are thus more likely to return. Ensure your website experience is seamless and you’ll have happy customers.
To evade and fend off hackers, regular software updates and security packages must be installed. Websites that overlook security and remain dormant are easy targets and attractive to hackers, leaving you at greater risk for malware, bugs, and hackers. Keeping your security measures up-to-date minimises your risk of attack.
Brand reputation and trends in design and technology
New designs and features are updated frequently, so ensure your website is abreast of thee changes that customers may expect. Maintaining a current, modern website promotes a professional brand image that appears reliable and customers would be more inclined to return to. New technology will also ensure a smooth experience for your customers.
Why pay for website maintenance?
By paying for a professional to undertake your website maintenance, you can rest assured you’re getting a team of experts to take care of all aspects of your site while you focus on the more important parts of your business. Website maintenance can be a tedious, time-consuming task to execute and to learn, as mistakes can result in hours of work to undo. With the amount of customers who access and come into contact with your business through the website, it is imperative that it is functional and a smooth experience every time. Having a well-maintained website helps promote a professional and reliable brand image.
Here is a list of the advantages of paying for website maintenance:
1. You will have a team of experts and professionals to manage the work for you
There are many aspects to website maintenance – security, design, other backend work to ensure it runs smoothly – and while it is possible to learn it yourself, it is another thing to have it mastered. In the time it would take you to learn how to manage all the aspects of website maintenance, you could have spent the time focusing on what you know of your business and growing it. Even after the work you put in to learn about website maintenance and the processes, the results still may not be satisfactory – especially in highly customised websites with unique coding and requirements. By employing a website maintenance team to handle the processes for you, you will ultimately save money and time where any mistakes and pitfalls are avoided by having a professional manage them. All you have to do is set the maintenance processes you need for your website (which will depend on the size/volume of the pages) and everything will be taken care of for you.
2. By hiring someone else to do the website maintenance, you have time to focus on what’s
important for your business
Website maintenance, as we have explored, covers many different aspects and skills that need to be understood to execute successfully. Mastering these skills will necessitate a great time investment that takes away from other aspects of running your business. Not everyone will be a webmaster in that they have the skills and knowledge, and chances are, you have more pressing matters to attend to in your business that you do have knowledge over. Hiring someone else to do your website maintenance frees your time for you to focus on what you can do for your business, rather than take the time to learn specific processes that a professional could do much quicker and less painfully.
3. Cost effectiveness
Yes, it may seem counterintuitive to hire someone to do a job that you could technically teach yourself to do for free, but the assurance of having a professional webmaster manage the work is priceless. Most website maintenance agencies and professionals charge for their services based on the scale of the website and the amount of work required for it, so it will cost less for smaller business with fewer pages and traffic.
Things to consider when buying website maintenance
Most website maintenance agencies offer a range of packages with different services depending on the scale of your website. A small business with at most 20 pages, for example, would require less work than that of a large scale organisation with hundreds of pages and greater volume of traffic. Keep this checklist in mind when considering which website maintenance package to choose to ensure you’re getting the best value according to what suits your business needs.
The size of your website
This refers to the amount of traffic/visitors your website has, as well as the number of pages and amount of content you may have. All these elements will impact the cost of your website maintenance package, and may even determine the services you require. A smaller website with fewer than 100 monthly visitors and only a home page and a couple of pages for a blog, gallery etc. will necessitate less maintenance and time.
The purpose of your website
Is your website purely for informative content? Maybe your website is more of a portfolio of your works, with a gallery of images and a couple extra pages for information and home. Or you have a full-blown e-commerce platform attached to your website that requires frequent listing updates and content to remain at a higher ranking. The purpose of your website will impact costs in terms of what needs to be done to maintain your website. Things like updating content for a smaller, gallery website would cost less than the maintenance cost for a website of a larger organisation with hundreds of pages and specific requirements.
How much of you website has customised content
If you have lots of custom elements and codes on your website, it may impact the amount of time needed to maintain and correct any issues that may arise. Custom codes are more liable to issues than basic templates so they may run into more problems that require time to address.
PMGS Digital marketing covers all aspects of website maintenance, from security, to updates, to SEO. We can ensure a holistic, comprehensive approach to your website maintenance so you can get back to business. Contact us today to discuss your website and how our services can save you time and optimise your business.