If you’re reading this blog, more than likely that means that you have your website up and running.
It reflects your brand using the key elements we discuss in our branding blog and you are ready to be/ have been seen by your audience.
However, are you doing the work to maintain your site?
Are you making sure that it is refreshed with new information while running smoothly?
Is your site updated and secure?
If these are things you haven’t considered or don’t know where to begin with web maintenance, you’re in the right place!
We’re going to discuss what web maintenance is and why everyone needs it.
Our blog will cover:
- Why web maintenance is important
- How to tell if your site needs better maintenance
- Different types of web maintenance
- How often you should perform web maintenance
- Should you hire a professional to maintain your site
Will we also include tips as well as care plan recommendations to help you stay prepared and knowledgeable!
Why is Web maintenance important?
Website maintenance is a pretty self-explanatory term.
It’s the process of ensuring your website is updated and functioning properly.
This process can include:
- Web audits
- Security scans
The maintenance of your site is often the determining factor to having a strong website.
Executing these processes guarantees that you will run into few problems with your website.
It also means that your audience will have a quality experience visiting and will likely return.
Does my site need better maintenance?
All sites need consistent maintenance.
Whether or not you believe you’re using the best resources to build your site, no one is exempt.
Think about it this way, how can you be sure you’re giving customers the best experience if you don’t upkeep your website?
Signs to look out for
Recognize the signs that you need to upgrade your maintenance efforts.
Some ways to tell if your site needs more care:
- The pages load slowly
- It does not function properly across different devices
- Your analytics: site visits, interactions, etc. have decreased
- Google has a hard time finding you
Different areas of site maintenance
Website audits involve inspecting a page to see how it currently performs in terms of traffic.
The purpose is to learn what is working and what could be improved.
Audits are typically done before you rework a single page on the site.
This is to avoid making unnecessary changes to the site that do more harm than good.
The last thing you want to do is change something that generated positive performance results.
Web analytics is a report and analysis of a site’s data.
It measures things like web traffic, average time spent on site, and purchases.
You should keep this data in mind when monitoring your site.
Not only will it show you where you are with your goals, but it will also help better cater to your audience experience.
It’s a great stepping stone to understanding how to improve your site.
Use web maintenance to score major points with Google!
As mentioned before, if you’re not ranking as well with Google search, this could be a sign that your site needs work.
Set some time to rephrase or add words to some of the items on your page.
Keep the customers in mind!
Customer engagement platform, Sailthru, found that 89% of companies see customer experience as a key factor in driving customer loyalty and retention.
Make your adjustments consumer-focused.
Be sure to add new blogs to your site that address the topics your audience is interested in.
It helps to check different social media spaces for trending subjects in your field.
They will see that your site is the place to have their needs met and thus, you create customer loyalty.
A relevant website is a must!
Your refreshers should include the alt text on your images.
Keep in mind that this may be how your audience finds your page.
Use as many fitting keywords here as possible.
Themes, widgets, and plugins, oh my!
Themes are pre-crafted web templates.
They allow you to plug in the information you want displayed, without typing a single line of code or designing it from scratch.
Widgets are the tools added to your site that make navigation easier.
This can look like a navigation menu, search bars, and/or social media icons that link to actual pages.
Plugins are meant to enhance your site without changing any other function.
For example, if you want to display a full slideshow without having to link to a different page for people to view, you may need to install a plugin for that.
Where does web maintenance come in?
While these features are meant to make site building easier, they can easily slow down progress.
You must manage these areas of the site to ensure that they are updated and functioning correctly.
This does not need to be a daily or weekly task, but maybe 1x-2x out the month.
Prolonging management could be detrimental to your goals.
Remember: high- functioning tools make a high-functioning site!
Why is this important?
The CDC reports that 1 in 4 adults in the US live with a disability.
Your audience may also be diverse in ability and it helps to accommodate that.
Along with thinking of the customers when it comes to SEO, you should also think in terms of accessibility.
Adding Alt text, as mentioned earlier, helps those who use Screen Readers.
When adding this element, make sure it’s descriptive to aid your viewers.
If possible, add a widget that allows users to enlarge the text.
Adding this function will enlarge the text without disrupting your page layout.
Improve keyboard navigation
Visually impaired users or those with motor disabilities may rely heavily on their keyboards.
Using HTML links not only helps you rank in Google, it’s also easy to access with a click of the “Tab” key.
The same goes for interactive buttons and text input fields.
Try creating text fields for forms as well as a downloadable form option.
You offer products and/or services that people of all abilities could use.
Include them in your plans for better user experiences!
Security scans search for vulnerabilities in the website.
If a hacker finds these weaknesses first, you could be a victim of a cyber attack or data theft.
NEVER think your site is too small to be hacked!
Web security company, Imperva, found that over half of website visits are bots.
They also found that, for websites that receive the least amount of visits, “bad bots accounted for 47.7 percent of visits while total bot traffic amounted to 93.3 percent.”
This means that smaller sites are more likely to experience security breaches.
Your site is under constant surveillance.
Do everything you can to protect it!
This all seems daunting. Trust us, we know
Knowing all of this can feel overwhelming and you may not know where to start.
Stress no more! We have the solutions.
At Flylight Creative, we offer website care plans that help monitor and upkeep the health of your site.
Our web maintenance plans will protect your site while giving it a competitive edge.
The speed of your website is EVERYTHING!
How fast do you click out of a site if it takes too long to load?
Exactly. You’re not alone either.
If a site is running slowly, people will click out before they can read the “Welcome” sign.
Google ranks sites that provide the best user experience higher.
If people leave your site in under a minute, your rank will significantly drop.
Use a performance monitoring tool to keep track of your site’s speed.
How often should I perform Web Maintenance?
Certain types of maintenance tasks require attention more often than others.
You may have to complete these weekly, monthly, or annually.
Your weekly maintenance may look like:
- Checking for broken links
- Making sure that any forms on the page still work
- Reading and responding to any comments or reviews
- Removing spam comments
- Ensuring that your pages still work
Maintenance to fulfill monthly may include:
- Running security scans
- Updating themes, widgets, or plugins
- Reviewing your site’s analytics
Annual maintenance could involve:
- Updating any reference of the previous year to the current one, e.g. “Best Web Maintenance Tactics of 2023”
- Renewing your website domain name
- Evaluating last year’s goals and creating new ones
- Of course, these are suggestions.
You may decide that some of these tasks could be performed more often.
Especially if you have a smaller site where security checks may be done frequently.
Or if you have a larger platform where you may need to respond to reviews sooner.
Do what works best for your site’s needs!
Light Tip: Test and Test, Again!
Each time you add something new to the site, test it. Immediately.
Test the speed of the page and how it runs across different devices.
Ensure that each image, video, and/or audio appears clear and glitch-free.
You DO NOT want your audience to find the problems first.
Backups are a must
Another potential major setback: losing all data from your site, requiring you to start over from scratch.
Terrifying, we know.
This is one of those “worst-case scenarios” where it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Back that data up!
Regularly backup the code and content on your site to avoid this massive loss.
Code backups include:
Content backups include:
- Video and image files
Backups can either be done manually or automatically through an online service.
Smaller sites may require less frequent backups than larger sites.
However, since losing data can be unpredictable, it’s best to perform backups as often as weekly or daily.
Save yourself from regret.
Should I hire professionals to do this for me?
By now, you may be asking, “should I hire a professional to maintain my website?”
Let’s talk about it!
You could perform these tasks yourself or give the role to a team member.
You might wish to see first-hand what adjustments need to be made and maybe save money.
However, the benefits of having a professional perform this outweigh these wants.
A licensed professional can:
- Save you time you would spend maintaining the site yourself
- Apply their knowledge to keeping your site up to date
- Fix a security issue right when it comes up
- Allow you to focus on other areas of your business
- SAVE YOU MONEY!
To the last point: any mistakes made can cost you more in the long run.
In fact it may cost more than hiring a professional.
IMB’s 2020 Cost of Data Breach Report found that “businesses experience losses at an average rate of $3.8M from cyber attacks.”
If you choose to maintain your site yourself, you could lose more money than you would spend hiring a professional.
Security checks are a delicate process that requires sharp attention to detail.
We recommend hiring experienced professionals to take on this task.
Pros like at Flightlight Creative!
You can choose the website care plan that best suits your business needs.
With each plan, we send you a monthly PDF report informing you what tasks were completed.
The reports also include security updates to assure you that your site is thriving.
It helps to stay informed
Commit to learning as much as you can about website maintenance.
Keep up with the latest news in software updates, security concerns, etc.
This way you won’t feel completely in the dark about all things web care.
Website maintenance makes a huge difference in creating a presentable, high quality website.
Your website can be as pretty and professional as you want it to be, but that effort is wasted if not properly maintained.
“No time” or “trying to save money” are poor excuses for not regularly performing web maintenance.
Web specialists such as us at Flylight Creative are here to make this easier for you.
Schedule a consultation with us and get help with all of your branding and web needs.
Check in with our site for more blogs and information!