Have you bought a car recently? Once purchased, it has to be maintained to ensure that it has a long life and serves its purpose. If it is not taken for regular service and oil change, its performance will continue to deteriorate over a period of time, till it stops running.
Just like your car, website is also a very important business investment and needs to be maintained and protected, if you want it to run smoothly for a long period of time. Now you might be thinking that I haven’t touched my website in a long time and it seems to be working fine. Well, websites don’t present immediate issues. However, just like your health can fall apart if you go too long without a regular checkup, so can the health of your website. Just like your body gets attacked by virus, bacteria, and other diseases, your website also gets attacked by Hackers, who look for vulnerabilities in unmaintained websites and attempt to take advantage of it. You can help prevent it by following a regular website maintenance schedule. That way, your website will always be safe and secure, and in the event that your website does get hacked (even with all the security measures in place), you can restore the website with backup and have it up and running in no time. If you are wondering what that regular website maintenance schedule should look like, then don’t worry.
I have listed below routine website maintenance activities, with the frequency (weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly) of when each activity needs to be performed:
Weekly Website Maintenance Tasks:
1. Check that all of your pages are loading without errors and have correct layout and design. An automatic plugin, theme, or wordpress update could have distorted any web pages, due to incompatibility issues.
2. Take a complete backup of your website and store it either on your local computer or in cloud storage.
Has it ever happened that you are working on an important document or assignment and then something goes wrong with your computer and you lose your entire work? If this has happened to you, you understand the value of taking backups. If you’re not careful though, the same thing could happen to your website. If a hacker is able to access your website, he/she can wipe out your website. As part of regular website maintenance, if you have taken a backup, you can easily restore it in a matter of minutes. Common WordPress plugin for taking backup is Updraft Plus.
Every website should be backed up atleast weekly, in case something happens and the site needs to be restored. There are two website elements that need backup:
- Content (Text, images, videos, audios, PDFs, docs, etc.).
If you host your website with us, it is automatically backed up every week.
3. Make updates to the website software. Just like you update the operating system and Microsoft Office on your laptop/computer, website software also needs to be kept up-to-date for security and performance reasons. For a wordpress website, this means updating the wordpress version, plugins, and theme. But as a safety precaution, take a backup first. That way, if there’s a hiccup, you can roll back to the previous working version.
4. Check that all of your forms are running properly. Just imagine finding out that your contact form stopped working after a website update and you lost business opportunities due to this flaw. If your website has any contact form plugins you want visitors to fill out, you want to be confident these all work properly as well. If any of your forms aren’t working right, you could be missing out on valuable leads, so make sure you catch the problem sooner rather than later.
5. Remove any spam comments from posts. Or you can configure blog, so that all comments are held in a queue for admin’s approval, before posted on website. If your website doesn’t have a blog, then you don’t have to worry about this task.
6. Check your pages to see if there are any broken links. When a visitor who could be a potential customer clicks on a link that leads to a 404 page, it’s embarrassing. When that dead link is on your website, it makes your business look unprofessional and leads people away from the page you want them to be on, which is why you need to perform preventative maintenance. Are you wondering why would you have broken links on your website in the first place? Well, you’ll end up with broken links on your website from time to time as other websites you link to move or shut down or change domains. Since you can’t avoid that, please make sure they don’t stay on your website long by either removing them or replacing them with updated links.
Finding broken links is not that difficult, since you don’t have to click on each and every link to see if it is still working. There are a lot of free tools available that automatically check websites for broken links, such as Google Search Console. Because these tools make the process so simple, you should easily be able to find and fix any broken links quickly.
7. Write one or more blog posts to keep your community engaged, which is one of the most effective ways to encourage SEO traffic.
Monthly Website Maintenance Tasks:
1. Check the load speed of your website and ensure that nothing is bogging it down. You don’t have to use a timer to measure your website’s speed. You can easily measure the speed of mobile-version and desktop-version through PageSpeed Insights tool, built by Google developers.
2. Review your security scans and make sure nothing is out of place. We hear about high-profile security breaches on the news, but there is a much higher no. of low-profile ones that we don’t hear about. Securing your website from hackers has to be a major priority for anyone that runs a website – and it’s even more important for eCommerce businesses who deal with customer’s private data.
One of the most important website maintenance practices to maintain security is checking that your wordpress platform, plug-ins, themes, and scripts are up to date. Usually when developers release updates for these, it’s to improve the security or patch up a vulnerability they’ve found.
Also make sure that your hosting provider updates the software and install upgrades, security patches, bug fixes or any other updates that may compromise the operating system or web server on which your website is hosted. Ideally, patches should be installed as soon as they are released. Failure to install a security patch may make your website vulnerable to an attack. Don’t procrastinate making those updates, or you could be putting your website and visitors needlessly at risk.
3. Analyze website statistics from the previous month to see if there is a significant variation in traffic. If you notice any abnormalities, it is quite possible that something is wrong with your website, due to which web traffic has suffered. Make sure to check the stats provided in Google Analytics monthly as a preventive website maintenance activity.
Google Analytics provides a lot of useful information about how people are finding and using your website, when are they using it and what device are being used to access it. Make sure that your website is accomplishing what you want it to and figure out what about it is working well and what still needs improvements by logging in to check your analytics at least once a month. Some businesses will benefit from checking it more often than that. New businesses, or businesses with new website can expect traffic to be slow to start, but it’s important to keep an eye on your website’s growth and success as you go. Google Analytics is the best place to do that and a crucial resource for finding ways to improve things like SEO and site engagement.
Quarterly Website Maintenance Tasks:
1. Review your website design and layout. Is there any room for improvement? Are you happy with the overall navigation and sitemap? Are visitors able to find the information quickly, or do they have to go through many hoops to find what they are looking for? Pay special attention to overall user experience, load time, missing or outdated content, inconsistent styles or formatting, typos or grammatical errors, features and business logic, and compliance with certain accessibility standards.
2. Check graphics and images. Are there any images that seem outdated or don’t reflect your business values or brand?
3. Review SEO and meta titles and descriptions to ensure they are as effective as possible. If you feel that there needs to be more focus on some new trendy keywords, then the meta data has to be updated accordingly.
4. Test pop-ups. Whether you are using pop-ups to collect email addresses, share any e-books or other content, or incentivizing a customer from abandoning shopping cart, it serves an important purpose and needs to work flawlessly at all times.
5. Test the mobile-responsiveness of your website. Whether the website is a 4-inch mobile screen or an 8-inch tablet screen, it should automatically adjust for every size, to look attractive and readable. Instead of buying a device of every screen size and testing your website on it, you can test it via mobiletest
6. Review Digital Marketing campaigns to see if anything needs to be changed or updated. Whether it is a social media post or google ads, all call-to-actions need to point to the right web page.
7. Restore a previous version of the website to check the health of your backup files. Making an assumption that the backup files will work once restored can prove to be a costly mistake, when your website is down or infected and your only source of website is your backup file. As it might have a missing file, or an error in one of the files.
Yearly Website Maintenance Tasks:
1. Update any reference to the current year. Please review all web content and if there is any reference to the current year, then update the year with the current year.
2. Review all content for relevancy. The content on your website should keep your readers coming back. No one wants to read the same content week after week or wants to look at outdated information about an event that happened long time ago. If you’re not updating your website, you are essentially telling your potential customers that you are not paying attention to your business or you may even be giving them an impression that you may be going out of business or have already gone out of business.
3. Renew your website domain name and hosting account every year. It would be catastrophic that you lose your website domain name and have to find a new one, which may not match your business name. Ideally, your web hosting provider should send a reminder to renew the hosting account and domain should get renewed automatically with it.
4. Consider whether a website design update is due. Website design trends as well as technology changes at a rapid pace and we need to keep up. Otherwise, our website will look outdated and visitors will simply move on to your competitors.
5. Test all Call-to-Actions (CTAs), such as click to call, check-out process, contact us form, etc and remove any errors immediately. This website maintenance activity will ensure that your website continues to bring new leads.
6. Review all of your top performing blog articles and see if they can be updated with new content. Updating the content will not only keep the content fresh and relevant, but will also improve Google search rankings and will help your overall SEO efforts. Let me explain how exactly it helps.
Google prefers websites that are fast, error free, well maintained and most important of all, have fresh content. So, every time you update the website, you are giving the search engines new content, which needs to be ranked in Google search results. That’s why you must ensure your website is regularly updated with material related to the topics, with which you want people to find your business.
7. Test browser compatibility. As time passes and updates are made, website layouts or technology may become incompatible with new browsers. Regularly review and test your website in various versions of the most popoular browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari.
8. Update dates and copyright notices. Review and update any copyright dates or any date-specific text or references throughout your website. Your homepage especially should not contain any stale or outdated information (e.g., a year-old press release).
Just like car or home maintenance, maintaining a website is crucial and can save you time, money, and unnecessary trouble in the long run.
Get all these website maintenance steps on your calendar and stick with them. Your website will thank you!
If you don’t have the time or energy to perform these website maintenance activities, we can take care of it for you, whether it is built on wordpress or any other platform. Feel free to visit our website maintenance services page for pricing and other details. You can also reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org OR (437)223-1771 to discuss further.