How to Maintain a Website

Owning a website or blog has it’s responsibilities. You can’t just upload it and forget it. Regular website maintenance is a must if you want your site to be successful.

Why is Website Maintenance Important?

With regular website maintenance your site will run smoothly. No disgruntled visitors because something on the site didn’t work or a link you provided is broken.

Regular visitors are looking for what is new, so provide them with new and exciting information, products or features.

Website are subject to being hacked. Using a proper website maintenance program you can try and avoid being hacked by keeping everything up to date.

There are all kinds of things that need to be done when maintaining a website. Whether you decide to do these yourself or hire out the work, it still needs to be done.

Website Updates

Think about it, if you visit a website that is not updated regularly will you continue to visit it? Why should your own website or blog be like that then?

Website Content

Website content can include written text, images, free downloads, anything that is going to draw new visitors in and keep your existing visitors coming back. Here are some ideas:

  • Product Updates

    Product updates are really important if your site has an ecommerce element to it.

    1. New products added announced.

      Don’t forget to update your navigation, to add a page for the new product and add it to your site map.

      If you have a design that has a side navigation (called a sidebar in a blog) the updates can be added to it so no matter what page a visitor arrives on, they see the new product announcement.

    2. Discontinuation of a product. Like the announcement of new products, if you are discontinuing a product, including an announcement in the side navigation will make the information available on all your pages.
    3. Upcoming price changes would be another thing to announce. It might even spur some rush purchases too.
  • Company News

    Did you get a mention in the newpaper? Someone did a review of your site or product? This is all what is called social proof and you need to show visitors what others are saying about you.

    Growing so much you need new staff? Announce and introduce your new staff members.

  • Giveaways

    Having a giveaway or a contest periodically is a good way to create some buzz about your site.

Updating old content should be on your website maintenance list also. Information becomes out dated so keep your content up to date to show your visitors you are on top of the subject.

Feature Addition

If at the time you created the website there was something that got left out because of budget constraints, maybe the budget can afford it now?

Take a look at your website/blog every once in a while and see if there is some kind of improvement that can be made. Something that you didn’t think of previously.

Maybe you have some feed back from visitors that needs to be implemented?

  • Fix a usability issue that has been mentioned.
  • Time to add a blog if you have a regular website and do not have one already?
  • Did you join a social networking site or two? Add the appropriate button(s) and links to your social profiles.
  • Add a frequently asked question section to cut down on emails and phone calls aske these regular questions.

Regular Website Maintenance Tasks

There are some regular website maintenance tasks you should perform on a scheduled basis. Scheduling at least monthly would be the timeline to start with.

Backing Up Your Website

Backing up your website is something you should do all the time, especially if you are the type that uses the online interface of your store or blog to make changes. Things happen. Even though the web hosting company says they backup the sites on their servers, their last backup could have been before your last edit. If the server crashes for some reason or your site gets hacked, your edits will be gone if the web hosting company restores what they had backed up. Image loosing a whole day’s work, just because you didn’t take a few minutes to backup the site.

Monitor Website Outages

If your site goes down, you want to be the first to know and not receive an email from someone else they can not access your site.

SiteUp is a small program that runs on your computer in the background checking your site on a regular basis. It will notify you when the site is down with a popup. Obviously though, your computer has to be on for it work.

Check Domain Registration Information

Look up in the WHOIS records what information is recorded for your domain name. Make sure it is correct. Sometimes when you initially sign up for your domain you would have used an email address that is no longer vaild. This needs to be updated as when there is a problem with your domain or an expiry notice is sent out you won’t get the emails. They are sent to the email address on record.

Test Website Speed

Testing the download speed of your site regularly is important. Especially if you have added a new feature. Web surfer have a very short attention span. If your site is slow to load, they are not going to wait. You need to do everything you can to improve the download speed of your site or blog so visitors stay to read your content and hopefully provide you with organic incoming links by spreading the word for you what a wonderful site you have.

Link Check

Links become broken over time. With changes within the site and if you referenced someone in one of your articles or somewhere else within the site links could have changed or are broken.

The task to find broken links isn’t too hard. Just use a link checker to test your external links and internal links at least once a month.

Software Updates

Third party software, like your ecommerce software, WordPress and Joomla for example, are always updating their software. You need to keep on top these updates and install them as soon as they come out. The updates won’t just be new features, they will include security updates too.

Analyze Your Stats

Analyze not just your sales stats but your website stats too.

Traffic Stats

Look at your web server stats to determine your website traffic. If your web hosting account doesn’t have website stats then get one installed. Something like Awstats that provides:

  • Pages entered on and left on
  • Time spent on the site
  • Bounce rate
  • Referring sites
  • Countries your visitors are from
  • Keywords/phrase that were used to find you

Google Analytics will provide some of this information. It may not be as complete as a website stats program that is run from your actual server.

One thing a website stats program installed on your server will do that Google Analytics doesn’t is show you who is hotlinking (linking directly to your images on your site) . e.g. your images, PDFs, reports, etc.. These people are stealing your content and your bandwidth if they do not have your permission to do so. With this information your can stop the hotlink.

Search Engine Results

Are you showing up on the first page for the keywords/phrase you want to? If you have given it some time, e.g. a few months, to get onto the first page of the search results naturally then maybe it is time to look at your content and revise it.

Reputation Management

Using Google Alerts, you can monitor your website name, your name, your brand and your content on the web.

You will know who is talking about you. This gives you an opportunity to jump into the conversation. Thank those who are praising you. Fix a problem that is being discussed related to your business.

Tracking your website address with Google Alerts is 2 fold.

  1. You see who is linking to you and can pop over there and say thanks.
  2. You can catch the use of your content without your permission.

You can learn a lot from your website maintenance program. Take the time to set one up.

This article was created as part of the V7N 30 Day Blogging Challenge. Click the image below to see who else is participating.

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3 Responses to How to Maintain a Website

  1. Santa Clarita Web Design Says:

    Adobe Dreamweaver has a built in file management system where you can download all your remote files and upload them in a synced way. This saves you tons of time from using a FTP client like FileZilla. It’s a wonderful little feature of the new Adobe Creative Suite. I think managing a website is hard that is why I always chose to use WordPress platform. Updating pages, managing my SEO and other tasks like built in contact forms make life a whole lot easier for me.

  2. Web Page Mistakes Says:

    Yes Dreamweaver and other WYSWYG editors include a built-in upload system but in our experience they create a lot of unnecessary additional files which, when you use the built-in upload, are uploaded to the web space/hosting account. This can be a problem once the site starts using up it’s allocated disk space on the web server.

    Also, we have seen a lot of novices pulling their hair out because the program is not updating the files correctly. Hence why we recommend people learn how to use an FTP program to upload plus you can compare your computer version and web server versions of the site on the screen file by file if necessary.

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