You created a good-looking, highly responsive website and launched it successfully.
It served you well up to a certain point – and starts slowing down. As a result, you’re no longer ranking as well as you once were on search engines, and some of your clients are leaving.
What could you possibly be doing wrong? Simply put, you’ve neglected website maintenance.
While investing in web design creates a firm foundation, overlooking regular web maintenance robs you of a chance to make the most out of your website. It can also expose your site to security breaches and other small-scale problems that add up over time to slow down your site.
But this is just a glimpse of the importance of routine updates and site maintenance. Read on to find out exactly why you shouldn’t overlook website maintenance.
1. First impressions
Your website is the first point of contact between your brand and prospective clients. Even if you promote your business offline, the first thing potential customers and business partners will do after you give them your business card is to check your website.
What’s the first impression they’ll get?
Will they find outdated “Our News” or “Upcoming Events” pages?
And what about the Copyright footer? Is its date current?
These might seem like minor things, but they speak volumes about the professionalism of your brand. And since first impressions are everything in business, you could be missing out on new opportunities because of a poorly maintained site.
With regular website maintenance, you’ll be able to stay on top of everything. All your website sections will be up to date and your content will be fresh. This will add a sense of professionalism to your site, which will make potential partners and clients trust and engage with your brand.
2. Site traffic
Among Google’s most important website ranking factors is lengthy, authoritative content. Things like backlinks, page loading speed, and other page-level factors also contribute to your website's ranking.
Through regular maintenance, you’ll be able to update your site with valuable information, optimize your content with relevant keywords, remove duplicate pages, fix broken links, and improve your site’s overall responsiveness.
This will improve your site’s ranking in search results, thus increasing its visibility. With increased site visibility comes more traffic, which increases your chances of converting visitors into paying customers.
Hacking and other forms of cybercrime remain the most rampant challenges facing businesses with an online presence. Through regular website maintenance, you'll minimize the chances of unauthorized access to your website.
You’ll scan the whole site—including database and code—for any security threats that might have developed over time, as well as loopholes that you might have missed during the initial development.
And if you’re using a Content Management System (CMS) such as Wordpress, regular maintenance will allow you to safeguard it through security updates and latest software patches.
4. User experience
If your site's template files and theme haven't been updated for a while, they might fail to display properly on new versions of mobile devices and web browsers. With regular maintenance, you can ensure proper functionality by installing the most recent versions of the required software.
Besides ensuring proper display, regular website maintenance allows you to keep your users engaged with fresh, exciting content. The last thing a prospective customer or business partner wants to come across on your site are updates, photos, and special offers that haven’t been updated in months.
Additionally, regular updates and maintenance ensure that your link and contact forms function properly. The same goes for staff contact info, pricing lists, and social media icons. Collectively, these make it easier for your prospects to engage with your brand and improve user experience.
Among the most critical tasks in website maintenance is creating a back HYPERLINK up for all your site's files. You can do it manually or use automated services—which most web hosting providers offer.
Creating a backup for all your files is critical because it protects you from data loss in case of security breaches, natural disasters, or software malfunctions. It also saves you the time and monetary costs of creating a new website from scratch when things go south.
There are two critical elements of your website that need regular backups. These include:
• Content: This includes things like text, images, audios, and videos. At the very least, run content backups every three months.
If you have a simple, informational website, monthly backups might be sufficient. But if you're using a more complex site with dynamic components such as an online store, creating more frequent backups might be necessary.
6. Website growth
The web environment is ever-changing and new technologies for accessing content are always coming up. As such, your website needs to keep up with these changes so it can grow with the world around it. Regular updates allow you to do just that.
When incorporating new technology into your website, you can use one of the two common approaches – you can either make small, but frequent incremental technology additions or do a complete refresh every few years.
While a complete refresh can be convenient and sometimes necessary, making small incremental changes over time is a cheaper approach.
Website maintenance is more critical than ever
Looking at the above reasons, it’s clear that good website management is a critical component of any web marketing strategy. And with more businesses shifting from outbound to inbound marketing, maintaining a functional, updated website is more critical than ever.
It doesn't matter the size of your business. You need an active online presence to communicate and engage with your customers – and a well-maintained website is a gateway to achieving that.