The process of building a website never really stops. There are always improvements to be made, particularly if you want your website to appear relatively modern. Imagine your website like a physical storefront. Setting up the window display and then leaving it for three or four years untouched is not the best way to attract new customers.
Many of the ongoing changes you will make fall under the broad category of website maintenance. If you’ve been meeting with web development services teams and discussing the possibility of building a new site, they may have mentioned that they provide maintenance as part of, or as an add on to, their overall package.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you don’t need maintenance. Even if you don’t plan on making significant content or cosmetic changes to your site, there are still likely to be bugs that need to be attended to at some point down the line. The security and functionality of your website may depend on it.
Website maintenance explained
The term ‘website maintenance’ refers to any number of tasks that keep your website running smoothly. These can be routine or conducted in response to a specific error.
Some types of maintenance are dealt with on an annual basis and are relatively easy to handle. For example, you’ll likely need to pay a subscription on a monthly or annual basis for your domain name, or URL. The same goes for your website hosting provider, who will request a fee to keep your files organized and accessible. If you’ve installed an SSL certificate on your site (and you definitely should have,) this will also need to be renewed to ensure your website stays secure.
These types of tasks may not seem that difficult. Perhaps you think you could do them yourself. Well, how would you feel about analyzing and solving security issues? Do you have the skills to fix 404 errors? Do you know what a plugin is and how to update it?
These types of maintenance issues tend to be more technical in nature and are best dealt with by a professional web development services team — ideally the team that helped build your website. These tasks can be divided into categories based upon how frequently they should be attended to; weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly:
● Backup your website so you have an up-to-date copy should anything goes wrong
● Check your website for 404 errors and resolve them
● Update core plugins and software
● Check that all the forms on your website are running smoothly
● Check for and redirect broken links
● Delete any spam comments on blogs.
● Test the loading speed on your website. If it’s running slower than usual, find the root cause of the issue.
● Run a security scan to identify any vulnerabilities
● Analyse website statistics to identify areas for improvement
● Review the structure and design of your site to see if improvements can be made
● Test all forms, CTA (calls to action), and pop ups to ensure they’re responsive
● Test the website on all device types — desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones
● Renew your domain name, web server hosting, and SSL certificate
● Consider updating content, photos, and graphics, and even the overall design.
As you can see, website maintenance is a comprehensive and ever-growing process. The amount of time and resources that will be required depends on the size and complexity of your site. If you run a simple blog without plugins or forms, you can cross a lot of items off the maintenance to-do list. On the other hand, if your website is a complex e-commerce store, there are probably even more factors to consider.
All of this is to say: it’s well worth investing in professional assistance for website maintenance.
Setting up maintenance for your website
Without website maintenance, you are putting a lot more than your conversion rate at risk. One of the main tasks of a web development services and maintenance team is to protect your customer data from potential security breaches. This is difficult to do unless they are given the opportunity to routinely check the site for bugs, flaws, and vulnerabilities.
When meeting with Web Development Company, ask about their maintenance packages. Check what kind of maintenance tasks they perform and what the expected ongoing cost will be. Many business owners fail to factor this into their budget, meaning their website ends up costing a lot more than expected or runs the risk of exposing personal customer data.
The fact of the matter is, there’s no use investing what money you have into a website if you can’t afford to keep it functional and secure. By understanding the importance of maintenance and factoring in the cost and resources from the start, you will be setting your site up for long-term success.