The web is evolving—and website trends come and go quicker than we think.
Getting a new website up and running is a huge step for business owners. It establishes an online presence, serves as a digital storefront, and forms the foundation of how companies make an impact online. But building a website is just the beginning.
All websites need to be properly maintained—and this is a job that never ends. Just like buying a house, there are chores to keep the place clean, safe, and functional.
As a web agency, we know how difficult it can be to manage site maintenance as a business owner. You’re so busy serving your clients that basic upkeep tasks are placed on the back burner. In all honesty, we struggle with this juggle, too.
In this article, we’re going to discuss the importance of website maintenance and the tasks that tend to fall by the wayside and should be common items in a website maintenance plan.
1. Conduct Regular FULL Site Backups (Daily)
Business websites are constantly bombarded with risks—malware, accidental deletions, server failures, plugin updates that conflict with other plugins etc.
The truth is most businesses don’t take proper precautions until AFTER disaster strikes. Don’t be one of these businesses.
Performing regular backups protects your site from hacks or other disruptions. In the event of a disaster, you would be able to quickly restore your website and get business operations back up and running in minutes.
If you have a WordPress website, there are tons of backup plugins to choose from. But in our experience, they cause more headaches than peace-of-mind. That’s just one reason why we partnered with Wordkeeper and developed our TLC Hosting, Security, and Software Maintenance Program over 10 years ago for our clients. Wordkeeper backs up your site daily—all of it. Not just the WordPress database which is what many (terrible) website hosts do under the guise of backing up your site. That database backup may not include your theme, plugin, and design customizations.
Plus when you have a host like Lance and his team at Wordkeeper on speed dial, you can ask them to run an extra backup before you make big changes to your site, or restore a backup when things go wrong. Believe me. We utilize these backups for our clients regularly each month. And we love that we don’t have to touch code because Wordkeeper takes care of it for us!
Regular backups turn a potential business nightmare into a minor inconvenience – with little to no downtime (or lost revenue).
2. Update Plugins and Themes (Monthly)
Keeping your website plugins and themes up to date is an easy task that maintains the functionality, security, and performance of your website.
Plugin updates typically involve patches for new security risks because these are evolving by the second. They also include upgrades and new features that work to keep your site performance and user experience up to par with industry standards.
Moreover, as websites age, they may not be perfectly compatible with the latest versions of browsers. Keeping plugins and themes updated helps to solve compatibility issues so your website operates smoothly and doesn’t run into glitches.
That said, we don’t always jump in and update plugins as soon as the little red alert flag appears in the plugins menu. We take care to learn whether the update is for critical security purposes or something else. Sometimes ‘something else’ updates can come with all kinds of bugs so we will wait a few days or weeks before proceeding with the update to make sure someone else deals with the bugs first!
Ignoring updates will inevitably slow your website down over time, compromise the user experience, and leave your site vulnerable to security breaches. Most updates can be done in minutes with a few clicks. (But don’t forget to backup your site first!) If you work with a web developer, they will take care of this for you. Tall Poppies takes care of this for our TLC clients.
3. Check for Malware (Weekly)
Malware is the natural enemy of websites. If left unchecked, it can steal sensitive customer information, and site data, or take over your website as a whole. Additionally, search engines may blacklist your website if it gets infected with malware. The worst consequence of malware is a loss of trust with customers.
Think about it: if you gave your personal information to a website—which then got stolen—would you ever do business with that website again? Hopefully not.
Regular malware checks are crucial to pinpoint and remove these risk factors before they cause trouble.
Wordkeeper takes care of this for our Tall Poppies TLC Program clients so they don’t have to think, nor worry about it. Better yet, if Wordkeeper does discover any offensive code, they will remove and fix it as part of our TLC plan. You can sleep well at night. And so can we.
Frequent malware scans are important to maintain your site’s credibility, keep your customer information safe, and preserve your SEO ranking. If you’re not sure what to look for in a malware scan turn to a pro. It will incur a monthly website maintenance cost, but it’s peanuts compared to the potential consequences.
4. Testing Page Loading Speeds (Quarterly)
Is there anything more annoying than a slow-loading web page?
Even though this might be the biggest first-world problem in existence studies have consistently found that every extra second of loading time equates to lost revenue.
Regularly checking on your site’s page loading speeds is key for a good user experience and site performance.
Additionally, Google factors page loading speeds into their ranking algorithms, and slower pages can wreak havoc on your standings. The good news is checking your site’s loading speeds is super easy—and FREE.
PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom are two reliable tools for this. They will provide an analysis of your pages, as well as some recommendations to improve them. These are common tools companies use in web maintenance services.
That said, working out what to do with all that technical jargon about how to speed up your site may be more than your mental load can handle. That’s where we come in alongside Wordkeeper to implement their WP Boost Site Speed program.
No one likes slow-loading web pages—humans and robots. Many different factors can affect your page loading speeds. Identifying them is easy, fixing them may require some help from a website maintenance agency.
5. Conduct SEO Audits (Monthly)
Search engine algorithms are constantly being updated and Google is notoriously secretive about theirs. In addition to algorithms, search trends change by the day. SEO audits are important to keep your website in tune with these changes.
These audits involve analyzing various elements like keyword usage, content quality, backlinks, site architecture, page loading speeds, and more to understand your site’s strengths and weaknesses. With this information, you can make the necessary technical adjustments and focus on updating website content or outsource to an SEO expert who can.
Now here’s the thing about SEO audits: assuming all the proper SEO elements were set up when your website was first built, regular audits will normally call for small tweaks here and there. If you wait years to perform an SEO audit, you will likely have a larger project on your hands.
SEO is a never-ending task and is a cornerstone when talking about the importance of website maintenance. Some tasks are easier than others. If you don’t have a basic knowledge of SEO, we recommend turning this job over to a pro. Most digital agencies factor SEO into their monthly website maintenance packages. We have a plan for that too!
6. Fix Broken Links (Monthly)
Broken links refer to the links of your website that lead users to non-existent or irrelevant pages. This can easily frustrate your site visitors and spike your bounce rates.
From an SEO perspective, search engines view bad links as a sign of an outdated or poorly maintained site, which can hurt your organic rankings. Regularly checking and fixing broken links eliminates waste on your website and works to improve the user experience – in addition to supporting SEO.
The Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin is a good tool to use for this. Or you can use a tool like aHrefs Dead Link Checker.
Broken links are a sign that you’re not prioritizing your site’s usability which is a big turnoff to both users and search engine crawlers. This task is usually included in a regular website maintenance package.
7. Publish Fresh Content (Monthly, at least)
We don’t want to say this task is overlooked in the importance of website maintenance but it tends to get pushed to the back burner. Every company wants to produce more content, but it takes forever. We get it.
Search engines and users like to see that a website is consistently adding value to the industry online. Routinely publishing fresh content is important for many reasons. We’ll tell you the biggest ones.
First, it provides new value to your visitors, increases engagement, and improves the user experience.
Secondly, search engines (like Google) favor websites that regularly update and add new content, which can lead to higher rankings and more website traffic. New content provides more opportunities for keyword usage, backlinking, and more to improve your site’s SEO.
New content works to position your brand as a leader in your industry, building credibility and customer loyalty. And it is vital for your search engine rankings.
Need Help Staying on Top of Website Maintenance?
Managing website maintenance is something site owners need to carve out time for every week.
Now, as a business owner, there never seems to be enough hours in the day. Believe us, we get it!
Fortunately, outsourcing website maintenance is super easy and affordable depending on your needs. Tall Poppies Design is a full-service web agency specializing in web maintenance, design, development, SEO, marketing funnels, and more.
We work closely with life coaches, online educators, and small business owners to establish and continuously grow their web presence.
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