website maintenance

The Importance of Website Maintenance

Judy VedderWordPress

Are you one of those businesses that builds a website but never updates it? If so, you need to know that letting your website go could actually be harming your business. Here are some reasons why:

Businesses change and evolve, often driven by market demands. Does your website content still accurately reflect all of your products and services? Is your contact information still the same? Have you added recent testimonials? Have you taken down old promotions and added new ones?

Search Engine Visibility
 Search engines like relevant and up-to-date content. If you never (or rarely) update your content, your search engine rank will suffer. Whether you understand the rules of Google’s current ranking algorithms or not, they are in operation. If your website has outdated information or hasn’t been updated recently, it actually hurts your credibility in Google’s eyes. If your competitors have been updating consistently, their websites will begin to appear above yours in search results.

One of the easiest ways to update your website content is by posting regularly on your blog. WordPress have blog capabilities that make it easy to setup and maintain a blog. If you’re not already using your blog, ask your web developer to show you how to activate it. Then begin blogging on a regular basis – at least once a month, though once or even twice a week is ideal. Make sure you are using categories to help with optimization of your content and make it easy for visitors to find the content they are interested in reading.

Broken links
Links that go off to another website are vulnerable to breaking because those links are out of your control. Broken links are not only frustrating to the visitor, but also unpopular with Google, so this will hurt your rank. Test any links on your site regularly. Only link to reputable sites, and make sure you set external links to open in a new window so you don’t drive traffic away from your site.

Branding Consistency
If you’ve made changes in the look and feel of other marketing collateral, such as your logo, company colors, tagline, brochures, or business cards, make sure you adjust the same items on your website. It’s important to keep your company brand consistent across all marketing mediums. You’re trying to create an identifiable brand.

Content Management
If you have a CMS and update your website content regularly – good for you! But when was the last time you updated your CMS software itself, including all of your plug-in modules? This is particularly important if there has been a security release of the software, since not updating it could make your website vulnerable to hacking. Also, check from time to time to see if there are any new plug-ins you might want to consider that could benefit your site’s functionality or appeal.

Regular Backups
When was the last time you backed up the content on your website? Always make sure to back up your website content and database before updating the software version. Frequent backups should also be done as part of your regular maintenance plan so you can capture recent content updates. You don’t want to rely on the hosting company alone to have a recent backup of your website should anything go wrong. It is critical that you have off-site backups for disaster recovery.

Search Engine Optimization
SEO is an ongoing and complicated process. As the internet continues to evolve, so do the algorithms and rules used to determine how your website ranks in search results. As Google updates their algorithms, websites can actually be penalized for some practices that use to help their website rank higher. Therefore, it is important to review your website’s SEO practices on a regular basis to make sure you are not being penalized and that you are maintaining your search rank for terms that are important to your business.

While you can’t become an SEO expert overnight, you can view Google Analytics to understand the activity on your website and Google Search Console to look for any issues on your website and ways to improve your SEO so that you not only rank better for your keywords, but you also keep customers on your site longer to generate higher sales. If you don’t have Google Analytics and Google Search Console installed on your site yet, you should do so right away. If you are not reviewing the performance of your website, at least monthly, then you are likely falling behind your competition.

Social Media Links
Social Media is still an excellent way to drive people to your website and to promote your business. If you have blog articles or web pages promoting a new product or service, you should be posting the url on your social media sites to drive people back to your website. Make sure you add your social media icons to your website so visitors know how to connect with you there. Also make it easy for people to share your compelling content with others on their social media accounts.

Competitor Research
Are you checking out what your competitors’ sites look like on a regular basis? What are they blogging about? How are they using social media, and in what ways? What products, services, or specials are they offering? Is there anything their sites offer that yours doesn’t? Use them as a benchmark to determine how you can improve your own site.

If you use a copyright date in your footer (or a similar date, such as “Last updated”), make sure you update the date each year.

Taking the time to give these matters some attention can go a long way in helping your website’s ranking in search engines, keeping your website secure, and maintaining a professional appearance. However, business owners often find that they do not have the time to keep up with these important tasks and that is why finding the right website partner is critical. We offer website security and maintenance packages that will keep your website up-to-date and secure. Taking this burden off your plate, and putting it in the hands of a professional, will free up time to focus on growing your business.