The Complete Guide To Website Maintenance Plans
So, your new (or old) business website is up and running. That means you can sit back and relax, right? Think again! Your website is what the front of your brick and mortar store used to be – the first impression of your business. The visitors to your business’ website will make all kinds of judgments based on it, such as how up-to-date, professional and reliable you are. So, how will it look if it has broken links leading nowhere or the page doesn’t even load? The solution is a website maintenance plan.
What is website maintenance?
With so many moving parts to a website, it’s crucial to have a maintenance process in place. Website platforms such as WordPress are always getting new updates, as are the several Plugins your site uses. Besides, major components such as a webcart often have a far more complex structure that requires close attention. Failure to maintain and keep the parts in order will result in website outages or even annoying glitches such as completed contact forms not being delivered. Yet, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Other downsides of website issues include:
- Cyberattacks: out of date security plugins make websites vulnerable to attack
- Brand damage: your website reflects your company and brand, so it needs to function professionally.
- Slowing down: simple updates make your website load faster for end-users.
- Expensive repairs: if your website goes offline, it can be expensive to repair, not to mention the cost of being offline.
- SEO: keeping your website in order will improve the site’s search listing. Vice versa, not updating it will tank your rankings.
Without maintenance, any combination of these problems could occur, resulting in lost revenue. That’s why it’s crucial to keep your website functioning at its optimal level. So, what does website maintenance include?
How to create a website maintenance plan
Now that we’ve established why website maintenance is important, let’s talk about website maintenance best practices. There are a few things that should be a part of every website maintenance plan.
Below is a simple checklist for a simple website maintenance plan
- Usability testing: Website usability is crucial to any business these days. With so many competitors to choose from, people will quickly jump on to the competition if your site is hard to use. So, how do you test your website for usability? Think about the journey of a potential customer on your site. What do they need to find? Ideally, you should get a person who’s never visited your site before to perform a task on it. If it’s hard for them to navigate your site and complete the task, there are issues with usability.
- Cross-browser testing: Cross-browser testing stands for testing the functionality of your website on the most common browsers. In Australia, Chrome currently has 51% of the market share, with Safari coming second at 33%. Other browsers we recommend testing for include Firefox, Edge and Internet Explorer.
- Mobile test: Did you know 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide was on mobile in 2018? That’s why your website must work as smooth on mobile as it does on desktop. If your site’s difficult to use on mobile, users will simply bounce off to the next one.
- Page speed: Here’s the deal – patience is not abundant in the digital sphere. Most users won’t put up with sites that are slow to load, so you should check your site speed regularly. You can start with Google’s page speed checker.
- Contact forms: Dysfunctional contact forms could be causing you to lose out on new customers. If the contact process is not smooth and they never hear back from you, people will take their money elsewhere. The answer is to check the functionality of your contact forms by submitting a test inquiry as part of your website maintenance plan.
- WordPress versions and plugins: Are you wondering whether you should update to the newest WordPress version? The fact of the matter is, the version and plugins you have installed on your site play an important role in functionality and speed. The newer versions also come with new features and improvements. So, our take is, make any updates as you undertake website maintenance.
- Security updates: Security updates ensure your site is safe from threats and attacks. That’s why security is the number one priority for any website. Yet, security updates are interconnected with other WordPress updates. You can see all three types of updates (security, WordPress version and plugin) on your WordPress dashboard. To ensure compatibility, update all regularly.
- Broken Links: Broken links make your website look old and abandoned. What’s more, they damage your SEO. There are many free tools you can use to find broken links, including Google Analytics.
- On-site or off-site backups: The importance of backing up your company data is obvious. There’s always the chance that something goes wrong, so every small business should prepare by doing regular website backups. The backup can be either on-site or off-site. Both come with their own advantages.
- Spam comments: Unfortunately, spam is one of those things that comes with being online. Spam comments on your blog are typically unrelated comments and sales messages left by bots. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your comments ongoing, but if not, do a comment clean-up as part of your website maintenance.
How often should you go through the website maintenance checklist?
At RoshTech, we recommend you perform this maintenance routine quarterly. All it takes is approximately 2 hours! We understand many small business owners are time-poor, but your website is an important asset. Looking after it will reflect well on your business!
Do you feel overwhelmed by the list above, or are you just not sure you have the time to do it all? Contact us about our IT support services. Our website support service fixes any issues promptly as they occur.
Talk to our team about how we can help you put a simple and effective website maintenance plan in place.