What exactly is website maintenance and why is it important? Here’s our list of the top 20 things you need to consider for keeping your website up to date, secure and running at its best.
1. Regular Website Updates:
Keep the website content management software and any plugins updated to avoid security vulnerabilities and bugs. This will keep your site safe, secure and will ensure a good experience for your visitors.
2. Regular Backups:
Regularly backup the website to protect your business against data loss in the event of an attack or server glitch. This will make it easy to recover the site quickly and cost-effectively in the event the files are lost, corrupted or held to ransom.
3. Mobile Optimisation:
Ensure the website is mobile-friendly and responsive to provide a good user experience for visitors on any device. Even B2B and industrial companies should take heed of Google’s ‘mobile first’ mantra.
4. Content Management:
Plan and execute a content management strategy to keep the website updated with fresh and relevant information. Use a content planning framework, answer frequently asked questions or draft in a marketing expert to help you come up with interesting and relevant content.
Use analytics tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to monitor website traffic and user behaviour, and use the insights gained to make data-driven decisions for content creation, blogs and search engine optimisation strategies.
6. Website Security:
Implement and regularly update website security measures such as SSL certificates, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems. Consider implementing a CDN (content delivery network) and upgrading your hosting to a virtual private server.
Regularly test the website for broken links, page load speed, and user experience to identify and fix any issues. Most good SEO agencies will have tools that can run this automatically for you.
8. Speed Optimisation:
Optimise your website’s load speed by using optimised images, caching, and other performance optimisation techniques such as pre-load content plugins.
9. Search engine optimisation (SEO):
Implement and maintain a search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy to improve the website’s visibility with the search engines. A strategy that includes technical SEO, content SEO and off-site (backlinking) will deliver the best results.
10. User Feedback:
Encourage and respond to user feedback to understand their needs and improve their experience. Consider hiring a digital marketing expert to conduct research and to monitor user behaviour on the site. They will typically look at heat maps and entry/exit points using analytics tools.
11. Uptime Monitoring:
Use website monitoring tools to ensure the website is up and running 24/7 and to quickly identify and resolve any issues. Your web designer should be doing this for you as part of your web hosting package.
12. Access Management:
Implement and maintain proper access control and authentication procedures to ensure the security and confidentiality of sensitive information. Make sure you have a secure password format and insist on your webmaster changing their passwords regularly.
Keep accurate and up-to-date documentation of website changes, hosting and domain name server settings, domain name renewal dates, SSL renewal dates, CMS updates, plugin updates, backup dates, backup testing dates and PHP version control.
14. Disaster Recovery:
Plan and prepare for disaster recovery in case of website failure or other unforeseen events by taking regular backups and testing the files to see if they load OK and having a plan B for SSL hosting in the event of a cyber-attack and a plan C in the event of a major national failure causing a full server network meltdown. To minimise disruption, your disaster recovery plan should have a documented process to retrieve and install the latest version of the backed-up files to enable this to be completed in hours rather than days or even weeks.
15. Regular Maintenance:
Schedule regular maintenance tasks such as database optimization, cleaning up stale data, and fixing broken links, checking page load speeds on a desktop and mobile, checking for coding errors.
16. Cross-Browser Compatibility:
Ensure the website is compatible with all major browsers to provide a consistent experience for all users. Check to see if the image file types are compatible with all browsers including older versions of Mac/Safari.
Encourage and facilitate collaboration between website administrators, designers, developers, and content creators but have a project management system and guidelines in place to ensure everyone knows the dos and don’ts.
18. User Experience (UX) Design:
Continuously improve the website’s user experience by conducting user research, testing, and making data-driven decisions. It’s a good practice to map out the user journey on a flow chart to get granular about visitor navigation, decision points and scenario planning. Then get people that aren’t familiar with the site to test it and give detailed feedback. Tools such as Google Analytics will also show you the most frequent entry and exit points and the site bounce/engagement rate.
As with anything in life, (broadband is a good example here), you get what you pay for with hosting. Page load speed is a Google ranking factor and your hosting plays a major part with this. Choose a reliable and secure hosting provider that has enough bandwidth to meet the website’s (and Google’s) performance, security, and scalability needs. Although low cost mass/shared hosting has its place, we always recommend virtual private servers for business websites. It’s like choosing a toll road with 9 other cars on the motorway, over the M25 at rush hour!
20. Technical Support:
Provide adequate technical support to website users, colleagues and stakeholders to ensure their needs are met and any issues are resolved in a timely manner.
By adopting these best practices, you can ensure that your website management is well-maintained, secure, and provides a great user experience for your potential customers.
Our digital marketing team here at Stratique provides an affordable and fully-managed service for its B2B, industrial and manufacturing clients, and we have a range of plans which typically include:
- Provision of virtual private servers
- SSL hosting
- Scheduled website backups
- Scheduled security patch updates
- Creation and uploading of new website content
- Technical SEO
- Uptime monitoring and management
- Options to add enterprise level firewalls/content delivery networks
- Plus, ongoing website design, and development.
Please click to find out more about Stratique’s digital marketing plans and pricing.
Please click to find out more about Stratique’s lead generation plans and pricing.