Maintenance Tips To Keep Your Website Healthy
Keeping your website running like a well-oiled machine can feel overwhelming at times. Decision fatigue plagues us every day as we’re asked to make hundreds of choices before noon. It can be tempting to think of arresting design as the one with all the bells and whistles. There are a lot of moving parts and many different areas that you need to keep on top of. You know your website is important to your business, so you labored over the design, copy and search engine optimization. It goes live, and you celebrate! Now you can start changing things. It’s called website maintenance. Here are 15 tips on keeping your website healthy.
- Decide who will maintain your website – During the planning process for the new company website, all employees, or just you and some friends feedback, probably had a hand in the development of the site. Gone are the days of “If you build it, they will come” You now have many departments to manage yourself or assign to others. Accounting, Marketing, Social Media, SEO, and on and on and on and on… One often overlooked role is website maintenance. Just as a car needs frequent maintenance and oil changes, so does the website to operate in tip top shape. The cost for maintenance is not high and if overlooked, can cost you a lot of money if you drop in the search engines, or worse, the whole site goes down. Therefore plan ahead to commit to maintenance or hire someone to do it.
- Write Relevant Content. Regularly and Consistently. – With all the updates Google are doing there is one main focus, relevant content. Therefore, to be found on Google you need to be producing relevant content regularly and consistently. This aids both Google and the visitors who read your website and to extract as much information as possible. After your website has accumulated dozens, maybe even hundreds of pages, content can become old and outdated. Website maintenance should include ongoing reviews of static content that may require updates or corrections. Fresh content will not only keep you highly ranked with the search engines, it will also keep your customers interested.
- Check for broken links , both internal and external. – This is a fairly straightforward task, since there are a number of web-based and stand-alone tools that perform this task. But link checking can go beyond URLs; you can also check to ensure all images and external files are properly referenced. Here are some tools to assist with these task. There are software’s that can do this for you
- Update your web software. – If you’re using a popular content management system, chances are very high that at some point you’ll need to upgrade. This would be necessary for a variety of reasons — maybe the previous version has security problems, contains inefficient code, or just doesn’t work properly any more.
- Watch your competitors for new trends. – The World Wide Web has almost taken a life of its own. It is ever growing and ever changing. So must your website change to the new trends. By watching your competitors, you can have a deeper understanding on how to make your website stronger than them and current and relevant to the times.
- Keep Your Blog Clean. – If you are engaging your readers to participate in discussions on your blog, make sure that your posts do not contain spam comments. For instance, at the very least, regularly go through popular posts to manually remove comments that lead to suspicious sites. It’s also necessary to analyze tags that you’ve used. Some tags could be altered or modified to better reflect the topic, maybe because of a singular or plural rendering, or because of a misspelled word.
- Browser Compatibility Testing – Ensuring all aspects of your website or web application are functioning properly in the most commonly-used browsers should be an ongoing part of your maintenance routine. While valid, semantic code will give you the best chance for cross-browser success, there is still the need to do manual and, if necessary, automated checks to ensure optimal compatibility. Make sure you include testing your site on mobile devices as well.
- Make sure you have automated backup and that it is up to date – How often have you needed to rely on your backup. Not often right? That’s why so many people become complacent when it comes to backing up their website. It’s kind of like an insurance policy. We don’t need it very often but the day you do, you’ll thank your lucky stars. Creating a backup of your website is the first task on this list for a good reason. Even if you diligently perform all the other tasks on this list, having no backup when it’s needed can erase ALL of your hard work in the blink of an eye. You don’t ever want to be in that situation.
- Watch your Customer Feedback. – Approach some customers and ask them for constructive feedback on your website. Watch their responses on the blogs and comments. Make adjustments as needed.
- Blogging still rules the web. – Blogging is a great tool to get regular, relevant content up on your website. It also encourages your visitors to offer feedback on your blog post. Especially if you have asked them for feedback and your blog answers some of their concerns
- Know Your Analytics – What is the point of doing all this work if you can’t measure if it worked or not. You need to get familiar with your websites analytics. You don’t need to become some analytics nerd but understand the fundamental areas to which you, as a business owner, need to pay attention to.
- Review Your Security – If there is any truth to the saying that an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure, it would apply right here. Few things will ruin you day as quickly as a hacked website so taking some time to review your basic safeguards should be part of a regular maintenance review.
- Take care of the Speed – If your site is taking unnecessary time to load, then you need to do something about it with no delay. You may also use different tools for testing the loading speed of web pages like Yahoo! YSlow, Google Page Speed, Internet Explorer’s Page test etc. Watch the size of the graphics on each page. Do not use more than two animated links per page. This may resolve your loading issue.
- Search Engine Friendly – SEO practices, like adding meta descriptions, improvement on title tags, optimization keyword phrases etc. is not a “one and done” thing to do. You need to revisit the SEO information on your pages and see if they need updating or new tags. This will help your website to gain high search engine rankings.
- Update Promotions and Deals – If you offer coupons, special promotions or other similar ideas, make sure they are regularly updated and relevant. Let’s say you run an accounting firm and offer a 25% off coupon for personal tax preparation. This is great content and incentive during January-April but can make your site feel dated and unkempt the rest of the year. Also, if you have an expiration date on your coupons, that’s an obvious sign of a neglected website.