Creating a website maintenance plan for your business

Key learnings:

  • The eight elements you should build into your website maintenance plan
  • The risks involved with ignoring your website maintenance
  • Timeframes for completing each of the maintenance tasks

 

Your website is an incredibly valuable asset. A good website will become your hardest-working employee, bringing in leads while you sleep and giving you an excellent return on your investment. It won’t take holidays or call in sick.

But in order to keep that website performing optimally, you need to have a solid website maintenance plan. Without it, you could be opening your business to risks from hackers and missed opportunities.

Hack prevention

Hack prevention

It is every website owners’ worst nightmare to have their website hacked. And the reality is that there are hackers out there trying to break into websites every day. Sometimes they have malicious intent… other times it is about the thrill of the chase.

Hack prevention starts with choosing a good hosting company who offer 24/7 hack prevention and fix. Ultimately you can go with cheap hosting… which is fine, until something goes wrong and you are up the creek without a paddle.

Website monitoring is a constant task that should be completed 24/7 by your hosting company so they can respond immediately when they detect a threat.

Backups

Backups

Without a backup of your website, if something was to go wrong you have no way to restore all of your hard work. And things can go wrong with websites… an update to the code can wreak havoc or if a hacker does break through you can lose everything.

For our clients, we keep multiple backups:

  • On our dedicated servers with our hosting company, we backup each website every few hours and store backups so that we can go back 24-48 hours, one week or up to 30 days
  • Our hosting company also holds these backups in a separate location away from our main servers
  • As a final backstop, we also host backups in the cloud separate to our hosting company

Often, you might not realise there is a problem until a week after it hits, so having multiple backups gives you the best opportunity to fix the problem in the least possible time.

Backups should be an automated part of your website maintenance and you should always have 24 and 48 hour backups as well as weekly backups going back 30 days.

WordPress and theme updates

WordPress and theme updates

When you don’t update your WordPress themes and plugins you are leaving your website vulnerable to attack. The digital world moves really quickly and when it comes to code, a small change in one section can impact your whole website.

Depending on your website, you may need a developer involved with these updates. They can tweak the code as required to ensure that no updates affect the appearance and functionality of your website.

This is a constant task that you need to schedule into your maintenance plan to update themes and plugins whenever they become available. If you are running old versions when a new one is available, hackers can easily find vulnerabilities in the code and have an easy way into your website.

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Proactive maintenance and data analysis

Proactive maintenance and data analysis

Moving away from the technical side of website maintenance, a huge part of what you should be doing is looking at the data to see where you can make tweaks and improvements in your content and website structure.

There are two tools you can use to do this – Google Analytics and Google Search Console (also known as Google Webmasters). Whoever is managing your website should be regularly diving into these tools to come up with proactive recommendations for changes you can make. They should be looking at things like:

  • Page load times
  • Which pages are people visiting most often
  • The bounce rate and which pages this is highest on
  • For an eCommerce website, where are customers abandoning their cart
  • What keywords are you showing up for in Google search

 

We provide monthly reports to our clients that dive deep into this data… and we are constantly reviewing the data each week to find opportunities and track progress. Schedule this as a fortnightly task and you will find yourself in a rhythm.

SEO audit

SEO audit

The technical side of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is just as important as the content that Google is crawling on your site. And through a regular SEO audit, you can identify gaps and issues… and fix them.

Using software like Sitebulb, you can crawl your website to:

  • Find broken links
  • Review page load times
  • Ensure content has been loaded with the correct tags
  • Check your XML sitemap

Once you have the information, you can action the changes to fix those technical errors and keep your Google rankings up. A monthly SEO audit will be sufficient for managing this element of website maintenance.

Website design

Website design

A good website design is well thought out and flexible. It reflects your brand and is part of an overall strategy that drives every page and piece of content you write. If you have done this with your website, it will be performing well so you don’t need to overhaul the design every five minutes.

However, there are always opportunities – especially with the pace the digital world moves in – so if you see new design ideas out there you can always integrate those elements into your design as part of your website maintenance.

For a full website redesign, we recommend you look at this every 2-3 years to stay fresh for your market.

Imagery and photography

Imagery and photography

Often we see businesses invest in photography when they launch their website… and then they use those same images throughout every page of their website for the next five years. In that time the team changes, technology changes and the photos – and website – start to look stale.

If you invest in new photography every 6-12 months, you will always have fresh images to pull from to support your content. You won’t need to rely on stock imagery, which while it has its place, shouldn’t be the only representation of your business on your website.

Content

Content

You will spend the majority of your website maintenance time working on your content. There are two elements to this:

Refreshing or tweaking your existing content based on the results from your data analysis
Creating new content to educate your market and keep your website fresh

You don’t need to publish new content every day… but whatever you do, ensure that it is consistent.

Between 1-4 new pieces of content each month, depending on the size of your business, is generally enough to keep Google happy and give you content to share in your email marketing and social media.

Website maintenance is all part of our package

When we handle your website design and ongoing digital marketing, we take care of your website maintenance from hack prevention through to brilliant new content landing on your website every month.

Contact us to discuss your website requirements and how we can help you grow your digital footprint.

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