Most business owners understand the importance of having a website, but they often simply create a website, launch it and never look at it again, completely ignoring website maintenance. If your site is not properly maintained, you’re likely to lose valuable clients or customers-and that will have an impact on the bottom line of your business.
Websites require routine maintenance to ensure that all components (links, inquiry or contact forms, images, payment mechanisms, shopping carts …) are operating safely and efficiently. The creation of a visually appealing, user-friendly, platform-responsive website is a great first step to let the world know your business exists, but regular maintenance is essential if you want visibility of your business to grow and flourish.
Most modern websites contain thousands of lines of code and depend on your web hosting server running specific software. Hackers frequently discover vulnerabilities in code and will try to take advantage of this by trolling the Internet for sites that may be suitable candidates to be exploited. By keeping the software of your web hosting server and the software of your website updated with the latest patches and security releases, you can help prevent this.
Most websites today are complex software applications although they are easy to edit. Just like your computer’s operating system, they need to be kept up to date for reasons of security and performance. This means updating the core software as well as any plugins and themes on WordPress websites regularly (there is generally at least one official WordPress update every month). Always perform backup first when doing so. That way you can roll back to a working version of the website if there is a hiccup.
A well-maintained website attracts new customers and keeps existing customers interested. By regularly refreshing the content and ensuring that customer contact points are in good working order, your website should be customer-centered and kept relevant. Routinely check that contact forms work, address and telephone number listings are updated, and correct products, services, and price lists.
The search engines prefer fast, error-free, well maintained and most of all; they love indexing fresh content. So, each time you update the website, you give new material to rank your site with to the search engines. You must ensure that your website is updated regularly with material relating to the topics you want people to find your business with.
The website’s content should keep your readers coming back. No one wants to read week after week the same content or look at outdated information about an event that happened 3 months ago. If you’re not updating your website, you’re basically telling your prospective customers that you’re not paying attention to your business, or you might even give them the impression you’re going out of business.
At the very beginning of web design, chunky desktop computers were the only devices that users use to view your website. Then came the laptops. Mobile browsing changed everything and suddenly the usability became a high priority on different screen sizes. Many users visit sites with tablets as well. With every new technological advance, web designs face a new hurdle. Maintenance of the website gives visibility to your business online which will endure new changes on the web.
The more sleek your website is, the more potential customers will be convinced that you are their ultimate choice. If you stay on top of the maintenance of your website, you will also have the opportunity to become an early adopter of new website technology that will help the back-end to run smoother. If you are regularly installing software updates, you will be able to take advantage of new features that are installed along with the updates.
Website technology is rapidly evolving. In recent years, having features on your site that integrate with social media has become increasingly important because of how much traffic it can send your way. Another area that is moving fast is online security. You will need to invest in securing your site with an SSL certificate to encrypt communications to ensure that customers are secure about their personal details.
There’s a reason for new releases. Each release comes with various improvements to performance that make your website more efficient. When you visit a site, and it takes too long to load – do you get impatient and navigate off? The performance of the website goes hand in hand with the conversions and site results. Speed affects the SEO, too. Use tools such as YSlow or Google Pagespeed Insights to check your site speed and determine what causes the slower load.
Your website reflects your corporate image. A poorly maintained website with lots of errors, broken links, dead pages and outdated info projects a sloppy corporate image and can cause business to decline over time. Examine your website’s look and feel routinely, and update it to match your corporate image. Check and fix broken links, poor grammar and spelling errors as quickly as possible — preferably before they are brought to your attention by a customer!
When you have a website that is poorly functioning, visitors might leave and find one that performs better. Visitors leaving your website is not good for the “bounce rate” Google uses for ranking. Having a nice functional website and a good design will encourage visitors to stay longer and navigate through your pages, which are good points with the search engines.
Trying to handle maintenance on your own website is like trying to fix your own car. Certainly, some people are equipped to do that, but it is better for most people to leave it to the professionals. After all – your website’s success AND your business rides heavily on your website as a valuable source of information. Don’t let it slip along the way. We offer a full range of business website support services, including content updates, website maintenance, technical support and business website hosting. If you’re interested in a maintenance contract for your web site, CONTACT US to learn how you can have professionals keep your site in proper working order.