Posted on Feb 8, 2018

Essential Things You Need to Know About Maintaining Your Business Website

According to Analytics Week, 571 new websites are created every minute of the day. That adds up to a lot of websites that the website you’re building has to compete with online. If you want your business website to be successful and competitive, you’ll need to know the essentials about maintaining it. A well-maintained business website:

  • Increases customer interest and has a steady stream of traffic
  • Builds trust with visitors because it’s reliable and secure
  • Lands more conversions and sales
  • Ranks higher in search engines

Below are the essential things you need to know about maintaining your business website.

Installing Updates Regularly is Critical

A well-maintained website will always have up-to-date themes, plugins, extensions, and software. If all the components on your website aren’t up-to-date, your users could experience bugs that make it impossible for them to access content on your site. Or, your site could be at risk of being hacked, and your business’s reputation will be placed on the line. Be sure to always install updates for anything on or connected to your website as soon as they’re released so that there will be no interruptions or breaches. If necessary, go through each plugin or extension and manually install updates on an ongoing basis.

Security Vulnerabilities Change

Website security is becoming more important than ever before, as more online users are sharing and accessing confidential and personal information online when they fill out forms, make purchases, etc. Remember that hackers are always perfecting their skills and changing the way they try to infiltrate websites, databases, applications, and systems. Always stay informed of the latest security threats and concerns, and install plugins and applications that consistently and automatically scan your website for threats. It’s important to undestand the threats and learn more about things you can do right now and on an ongoing basis to keep your website as safe and secure as possible.    

Code Becomes Outdated

Installing updates for your website is critical because most of the code on your website will become outdated or will need to change eventually. Every year, code for applications, systems, web browsers, etc. changes as advances in technology and computing are discovered and utilized. Be sure to constantly monitor the source code of your website, to ensure your website is readable and viewable to others.  Source code for websites typically includes HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) code and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) code. HTML ensures your website is viewable on the web, and CSS defines how your website content will look. To make sure your website is consistently appearing appropriately in search engine results and across devices and the web correctly, you’ll want to verify your source code whenever larger web standards or application updates are released. For more information on how to verify your source code and why it’s important, read this blog post by Kissmetrics. 

Backups are Necessary

To prevent losing all the content files on your website to hackers, system errors, or glitches, you’ll want to back up your website content files multiple times every day. Be sure to back up your website content in various locations such as cloud servers, hosting servers, and external hard drives. Most website hosting services will offer options for backing up your website and will remind you to schedule automatic updates so that you never forget. If you already have a website, you can typically learn more about back up options in your control panel. But here are some popular plugins you can install too, to help you get started:

Only Keep What You Need

If you stop using certain plugins or applications that are attached to your website, delete them from your control panel as soon as possible. If you stop using a certain marketing or analytics software that was integrated with your website, delete this too. Erase admin accounts and user accounts that are old and no longer being used (you can always keep this information in your archives someplace else). Be sure that you are always only keeping what you need on your website. Otherwise, hackers can still use unused and outdated plugins and accounts to penetrate your website and access its content files. You also run the risk of bogging down your website with outdated and unused files, applications, content, etc.

Databases Need to be Monitored and Managed

After your website has been active for a while, its databases will inevitably accumulate and store a lot of unneeded information that can slow down your entire website. This makes its loading time slower, which will irritate site visitors, who may leave your site before engaging with your content or converting into paying customers. Be sure to monitor and manage your databases so that you’re removing unnecessary content files to make room for new files, optimizing data sets and reporting (especially for customer transactions and information), and keeping everything well-organized and easy to find. Here are some popular plugins for WordPress that will help you keep your databases well-managed:

Things to Keep an Eye on to Maintain Your Website’s Health

Here are some things you’ll want to keep an eye on if you want to have a truly healthy website. 

Comments and Spam

If you want the content on your website to rank well in search engines and to gain your visitors’ trust, then delete comments that are spam-like and have nothing to do with your business or website. Sometimes you may receive links in comments sections that take visitors to unsecure or spammy websites, or that are simply inappropriate. You can either disable visitors from commenting or implement security features that force commenters to verify their identity first.

Loading Time

A well-maintained website is one that will load in less than three seconds. It won’t be bogged down with unneeded files, plugins, etc. and it will be optimized for speed. You can use a tool like GTmetrix to test your site’s speed.

Broken Links

To keep your website healthy and ranking high in search engines, fix or delete all broken URL links that don’t redirect visitors to live web pages. You can use a tool like SEMRush to audit all the links on your website on a rolling basis, so you can easily locate and update or delete links that don’t redirect vistors to valid web pages.

Browser and Device Compatibility

All pages on your website should be maintained to be accessible and readable on all mobile devices and in any web browser. Be sure all your forms are easy to fill out on mobile and that your website is easy to navigate on any mobile device. You should use tools like those provided by Google Webmaster Tools to continually troubleshoot easy-to-spot issues with your site that you can easily fix, and to stay up-to-date with web maintenance concerns and technology. Once you work hard to build the perfect website for your business, don’t forget to maintain it or you could be losing out on real opportunities to outshine your competition and gain more customers.

Feature image: Pexels