Having a website is like having a car. We all would love to just pour gasoline in it (at a reasonable price) and travel the world.
But, car breaks. Or not. Depending on how regularly you take it to a mechanic, check the oil and replace tires.
Just like that, every website needs to be maintained or it will break. Your life doesn’t depend on it like with a car, but the success of your business does. No customer will spend its time on a website that is slow, outdated and dangerous.
How to maintain a website
Website is never a completely finished job. The biggest mistake you can make is to pay someone to build you a website (or do it yourself via website builders) and forget about it later.
This might be interesting: How to build a business site with a website builder
If your goal is to attract customers, keep their attention and make them come and buy again, your website needs to be in a tip-top condition. There are five things you should particularly be careful about.
- Security of a website
Car oil prevents normal operating flow in a vehicle. Without it – motor blocks and, at some point in the time, breaks.
Without website security, your website can break in many ways: Google can de-index it from search engines, your data and visitors become vulnerable to hackers, it crashes…
Two most common ways to secure your website and business is by
- installing an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate or
- anti-malware software
SSL basically encrypts information passing between your website and your visitors so no one else can read it.
Installing a malware software is available through website builder plugins like Malcare or Wordfence. We've written about how to install plugins in one of our previous articles.
Violated security occurs when you are not even aware of it. So make sure you dedicate good amount of time in making sure your website is completely secure at all times. Just like you always know your car has enough oil.
2. Regularly backup your data
Let’s say you took no security measures, and malware software attacked your website.
Or your server crashes.
Just like that, your data vanishes.
That wouldn’t happen if you backed up your website.
Just like you wouldn’t stay stucked in the middle of the road if you had that spare tire in the trunk.
Checking backups isn’t a demanding job.
a) You can do it manually by accessing your website control panel and going to the backup wizard. Select what and where you want to back it up to (for example on your PC, cloud, etc).
There are awesome free plugins for backup, especially for Wordpress based websites.
The most important thing here to remember is - you have to do it every time you have some new data on a website.
b) The other way to backup your website is automatically. We suggest you consult your web hosting provider as they usually offer daily backups in your basic package.
You might be interested: Choosing a right hosting partner
Content is a fuel of your website.
It attracts new visitors, it helps put your website high on the ladder of website engines, and it boosts SEO.
Do not let your readers leave your site because they found your latest articles dated almost six months ago.
Keep them informed and updated with the latest information about your business. Educate them, give value. It will also enhance your marketing efforts and keep customers satisfied.
Check out our previous article on 10 biggest website mistakes and how to fix them
I remember myself as a newbie driver, I was always looking at the car’s dashboard. The fuel, unknown blinking lights, how fast I’m driving…based on that I reacted in a timely manner.
It’s exactly like website analytics.
You can check on how many users visit your website, how long they stay, what they search for, what they do.
By understanding the behavior across web pages, you can improve the effectiveness of your website and customer experience.
Google Analytics is the most famous tool you need for this step. After filling all the information and signing up, they provide you with a code you need to install in either the header or footer on every page of your website.
There are also some Google Analytics alternatives like FoxMetrics, Woopra, Matomo and others.
Choose accordingly to your preferences but take their support ranking and knowledge base into consideration.
GA offers totally free courses on how to install and use their software.
You could even get certified in this field if you're up to improving your tool set. Check Google Analytics Academy.
Every once in a while you treat your car with something new. New windshield wipers, air freshener, radio or wheel rims. Or maybe you are a car enthusiast who throws a fortune on it.
We live in a digital world that is constantly changing and developing. It also applies to your website.
Your website hosting providers or builders may have had some changes lately. Make sure your website is not outdated.
Also, manually test your website. No worries, nothing techie. It just requires *clicking*.
Is everything working properly? Are plugins updated? Does your blog posts, fonts and images shine as you left them?
Take time and check if everything is as it should be. Check if something’s missing, add new stuff for better appearance and performance. Your website deserves it.
Don’t forget to create a backup before making any changes! ;)
Few more tips for website maintenance
#1 Captivating appearance
An interesting and recognizable look will separate you from competitors and attract visitors.
That’s always on my list of important website things. Reflect about renewing your design or a website theme. If we’re still talking about that car-website analogy, every car needs polishing and maybe a new colour.
This might be interesting: Best free and paid website builders
#2 Basic Search Engine Optimization for your website
How many times have you stumbled upon useful websites or products you need just by typing it in the browser?
You'd want people to find you like that too.
Optimize your website for search engines. Use keywords relevant to your business, publish relevant content, check on-page links and links that lead to your website on other platforms.
See how we linked a couple of our previous articles? Besides helping you out, we're helping Google to navigate through our website, and because he's such a nice robot, he appreciates that by moving our rankings up.
#3 CTA buttons
Also called Call to Action Buttons – are all those places on which your visitor clicks.
Call us, for example. Or, read more. Whatever you have on your website. It’s frustrating when someone wants to take an action but can’t do it because of the broken button.
Don’t lose business opportunities due to this flaw. Check them all.
#4 Website Speed is essential
How fast can it go from 0 to 100? Visitors' attention is fragile.
Don’t lose them because it takes forever for your website to load. You can check your site speed for free on web pages like GTMetrix.
If you feel your website loads slowly, call a mechan…, I mean, a developer. A fast site is a good site.
#5 Contact info
We don’t have to mention you lose money the moment someone can’t call you. With every change in contact data, your website must be updated and accurate.
#6 GDPR Compliance
If you’re still not familiar with this term, check those regulatives ASAP.
Make sure your website is compliant with policies and laws.
We've saved the best for last - don’t forget that your website needs to be mobile-friendly. No, it doesn't involve spending more time with your smartphone or taking it to popcorn and cinema.
More than 80% of internet users use mobile devices to go online.
Not having a website optimized for mobile phones is like neglecting all those people.
Go to your website via a mobile device, check if everything is in order. If you feel your website needs a change, check again our appearance advice above.
Most new website builders have themes optimized both for mobile phones and computers.
Maintaining your website is investing in your business
In order to have a functional website that brings more customers, it has to be nurtured.
If you don’t do it, it’s like driving a car without insurance. Make the suggested checks, some weekly, some monthly or annually and you’ll see that your website thrives and continues growing.
At the end of the day, a well maintained website greatly encourages business growth. Don't miss that opportunity.
Now that you're here, find out just how much does it cost to maintain a website.