What is website maintenance and why is it so important?

What is website maintenance and why is it so important?

So, your brand new website is finished and online. That’s it right? Your business is now set for online success!

Unfortunately that’s not quite the case. You’ve already invested in your new online presence, and like any machine with moving parts, your website requires ongoing care, attention, and upkeep to make the most out of that investment.

Some maintenance is a necessity of regular upkeep. Maintaining page speed, website security, backups, etc.

Other factors are more business and marketing oriented – New content, on-page search engine optimization, updated design, etc.

Many website owners believe that just having an online presence is enough, what they don’t realize is that unlike that saying “If you build it they will come” – they actually won’t. It requires time, dedication, and regular upkeep, to attract and keep new customers.

Our top 10 reasons why website maintenance is important

1. Regular and fresh content updates

Top of our list is definitely regular and fresh content updates. This is really important as visitors want to feel like you’re active and open for business. A static website could give the impression that your business is stagnant.

If done properly, this fresh new content will make your website more interesting, keep visitors engaged for longer, and improve their relationship with – and perception of – your brand.

Regular content updates can typically be done via blog posts or a company news section – Potential customers want to know what your business is up to, so dedicate some space on your website to keep them informed.

Not only is it great for visitors, but it’s brilliant for search engines too. Search engines like Google recognize when your content is written and tailored for your target audience, generally improving your search ranking. Search Engine Optimization is a large topic, but just know – fresh, tailored content, plays a big role in ranking your website on search engines like Google.

2. Improved website security

Website security should be top of mind. For the safety of your business and your customer’s privacy you want to make sure your website is as secure as possible.

Malicious actors can exploit vulnerabilities in your website, especially if it’s running older versions of software – code packages or content management systems often have vulnerabilities that are discovered over time, and it’s important to patch these vulnerabilities as they’re exposed.

A website is often built using various pre-built code packages or frameworks. These are inherently insecure, since they’re typically built by a third-party and it’s not always easy to verify quality or security.

This is the same with content management systems like WordPress. Often website designers will pack a website with all-sorts of plugins and additional functionality. Like any third-party package, plugins suffer from the same issues of quality.

3. Always have backups

Over the years of building websites and software, I’ve learned to never take the integrity of code for granted! Always, always make backups!

You never know what will happen, whether it’s physical data loss – maybe via some sort of hardware failure, or loss via some other malicious action like hacking, it’s always best to have a recent backup to restore – The other option – rebuilding, is expensive and tedious.

A good website developer will have several means of backup. First, they should be storing your website code in a source controlled data repository – a secure file storage, typically off-site and backed-up in multiple locations. Secondly, a developer can make regular backups of your website’s database and content. Utilizing both these techniques, restoration of your website should be a breeze.

4. Continuously improve user experience

I like to keep this one higher up on the list since beyond the necessities of regular mechanical upkeep, but actual user experience of your website is one of the most important factors to consider.

Ensuring your customers have a seamless experience when visiting your website is of course important. You want to make sure visitors find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible, while keeping them engaged.

Poor user experience is detrimental to your bottom line, so taking the time to evaluate your website’s performance is well worth it.

To start, I would make sure there are no errors or dead links that would prevent visitors from using your website.

Dead links are killer! Dead links are links that lead to missing or broken pages. They abruptly end a user’s flow, not only do they immediately remove customers from your sales funnel, but they immediately reduce trust, negatively affecting the perception of your business and brand.

But dead-links aren’t the only technical issue that affects user experience. Broken layouts or other errors can lead to frustrating and confusing experiences. Not only does it look unprofessional, but it’ll actively discourage visitors from using your website. Remember, people online have really short attention spans, their subconscious is inherently suspicious and actively looking for any excuse to bail. So making sure your website is working correctly and providing an expected experience is the least we can do to help retain visitors.

5. Uptime and monitoring

Your website is online 24/7. It doesn’t need staff to open the doors and greet customers, it’s always working for you. Which is awesome! …Until it’s not…

There are various reasons your website can go offline, whether via some malicious action (like hacking), mechanical issue (like hardware failure) or some other source, an offline website is useless. You (or your maintenance team) want to be aware of these outages ASAP, so that any corrective actions can be taken to get you back up and running ASAP.

Active monitoring can watch your website’s availability 24/7 and send alerts or notifications the minute your website goes offline. An experienced maintenance team will be able to set up monitoring quickly and keep you informed of any serious issues.

6. Analytics

Analytics and metrics give you insight in how well your marketing efforts are performing and allow you to adjust your strategies online if needed. If your sales goals are lower than you expect, it might indicate that you need to switch things up – Whether that’s via a fresh user experience, new offers, services or products, etc.

Analytics can also point to unseen technical issues, sometimes things look just fine for you, but for other users, something might be broken – In the past we’ve used analytics to identify and correct user experience problems at scale before they become a wider issue.

7. Fresh and consistent branding

You know your brand is important – Professional branding will improve trust and confidence in your business for new visitors to your website.

Regular review and adjustments to make sure content on your website adheres to your brand standard will ensure your branding remains consistent across all channels.

This isn’t a case of regularly changing your brand – you want to keep it consistent – but you do want to perform an audit to make sure it’s consistent across your website, and that your brand and tone of voice is accurately represented across all channels and content.

This gives your customers a reliable, familiar, and consistent experience that they associate with you and your brand.

8. Updating software – Making sure you have the newest features!

We spoke about keeping software (content management, code packages) up to date due to security concerns, but in addition to security, you also want to make sure you have the latest and greatest features.

Updating your website’s software will make adding new features in the future much easier. For example, perhaps your business grows and you now want to offer an online store. Having updated software will make adding this new feature faster, easier, and cheaper in the long-run.

9. Talking about saving money…

All the factors above, when done regularly are simple, quick, and easy. However, when they’re not done regularly, and you suddenly have to deal with an issue, it can be expensive and tedious to fix.

Maybe your website gets hacked, you have no backups, and you have to fix or replace it – All those initial investment dollars are now down the drain and you’ll need to hire a professional developer to rebuild your website. What an unexpected and expensive hit to your budget!

10. Finally, and most importantly, a piece of mind

I’ve saved the most important last, right? All the factors above contribute to this one – Piece of mind.

Having a regular maintenance schedule gives you – as a small business owner – a piece of mind that your website is secure, optimized, and working as expected. You can rest assured that your customers are getting a pleasant and seamless experience when visiting your website.

How much should website maintenance cost?

This is a great question and not always straightforward to answer, since it really depends on the level of maintenance and features that you receive.

What I can say is how much we charge for website maintenance. Each of our websites comes with a monthly maintenance fee of $250. This’ll typically cover:

We’re strong proponents of keeping a website up to date. We want to make sure we’re taking care of our clients, so our maintenance plans are mandatory. We believe regular maintenance is more important and of better value to our customers than charging clients for disaster recovery.

Why should you have a professional maintain your website?

So, you know it’s important to have regular maintenance and upkeep for your website, and you can certainly choose to do many of these tasks yourself. Having said that, there are some clear advantages to having a professional take on this responsibility for you.

  1. Expertise – Professionals who offer website maintenance are often experts in the website design and development field. They’ll be able to recognize issues and preemptively provide solutions.
  2. Time – Your time is precious, especially as a small business owner. Having a professional focused on the daily operations of your website frees up your time for more important tasks, like actually running your business!
  3. Piece of mind – This again, but it’s important. By hiring a pro, you can prevent the extra mental load and stress of maintaining your website yourself.

Wrap It up

So there you have it, all the reasons why you should have regular website maintenance. I know it’s often overlooked, so I thought this was an important post to write. Hopefully I’ve helped you see why it’s important for your business. Having a website is an investment and like any investment you need to spend the time to take care of it, and like any machine with moving parts, it needs regular upkeep, to make sure it’s running smoothly.

Of course, we offer website maintenance with each of our sites, our goal is to provide top-notch support, leverage the latest and greatest tech, and elevate your website and your business. So if you fancy a chat, we’d love to see how we can help you maximize your online presence, give us a shout.