If you ask any responsible webmaster, they will tell you that once a website has been created, it needs to be looked after and maintained.
A business’ website is a very valuable asset, so it is essential that it is well looked after and improvements are made where necessary. This could be for security or even aesthetic purposes.
Here are the top 10 must know website maintenance tasks you should be considering:
1. Update the core themes and plugins
Besides using a good security plugin, keeping your site updated is one of the most important tasks you can do to keep it safe.
WordPress in particular has become a very popular website hosting provider, meaning it is a common target for hackers. WordPress is very secure, but its developers wage an ongoing battle against hackers with every update.
If you don’t keep your installation updated to the latest version, you’re leaving old, publicly known security vulnerabilities on your site.
Hackers have ways to search for websites that are using older versions of websites, in particular those that use WordPress as the main engine, and they know how to take advantage of those known vulnerabilities to hack your site.
Same thing goes for themes and plugins: These can also create security vulnerabilities, so you should always keep them updated to the latest version.
Make sure you are updating these as soon as the new updates become available.
2. Make regular backups
Unfortunately, the majority of website hosting service don’t enable automatic data backups. With this mind, what do you think happens if the system fails or there is crash?
Yes, the data is lost without any way to bring it back. You’ll have to re-upload everything piecemeal by manual methods, wasting lots of time.
Instead, you should look to find a plugin or programme that can do automated backups for you, based on what you need saved and how often the data should be backed up.
3. Remove broken/dead links
Broken links are highly annoying for both the visitor and the host webpage; visitors cannot access the content they want and the host webpage gets punished in terms of rankings on search engines.
Search engines are not able to index the website, leading to the hosting webpage dropping in the rankings, in turn boosting the pages of a competitor’s.
Links can become broken for several reasons, including a change in URL, anchor text diversity and forgetting to edit the links or replacing a file with a different name.
You should look at investing in a tool that can highlight any broken links in your webpages to prevent dissatisfied visitors and stop search engine rankings falling.
4. Audit older content
Removing dead links from older content forms part of the audit but there are more tasks you need to on top of that.Older content needs to optimised to present day standards so it can keep attracting visitors and turn them into paying customers.
Firstly, older content will be lacking in internal links to newer content posts so go through the piece and add some in. Also perform the vice versa – internally link this older page from newer content.
Next, update the content itself for more up-to-date sources and the analysis to reflect the new information.
Additionally, perform some SEO maintenance on older content to check that it is ranking on the search engines for the keywords you actually want it to rank for. If it isn’t, perform tasks to ensure it does.
Old content is just as important as new so there should be no difference between inbound vs outbound sales improvements.
5. Review the analytics
Analytics are important to businesses because they help solve problems and discover potential opportunities; for example, improved traffic trends indicate that the online marketing is effective, while decreasing traffic may indicate SEO problems.
Following the path a visitor takes to a page with unusually high bounce rates may give insight about what information is need. Pages that get engage with their intended audience well provide information on what type of content, products, or services customers are most interested in.
There is no one size fits all approach though because similar data may mean something very different from one business to another. If you’re looking for a free tool, Google Analytics would be the programme of choice.
6. Remove unnecessary media from the library
Websites that have been around for a while will have built up a catalogue of images, some of which are no longer being used in a blog post or other form of content.
If they’re not being used, they should be removed; the only thing they’re doing is using space.
A word of caution: if the media is to be deleted, be 100% positive it is not being used anywhere in the website. Deleted media that is in use causes broken images which will reduce conversion rates.
When it comes to media being used, there is also scope for reducing/smushing their size to improve the page’s speed and performance.
7. Moderate the comment section
Not only is responding to comments simply common courtesy, but it can also be a great way to increase engagement. Answering a comment prompts the commenter to return to your site to see your reply.
And, if you can expand upon your comment or answer a question with a link to another blog post on your site, that’s a great way to increase engagement and time on site.
Leaving questions unanswered, ignoring comments, and leaving spam comments on your posts gives a bad impression. It looks like you’re not listening to your audience and can even give the impression that you’ve abandoned your blog altogether.
It’s better to disable comments altogether than to ignore them.
8. Test the search functionality
Search capability has been shown to increase visitor time on site but only if it provides helpful results. The best way to accurately test this is to ask someone who fits the target demographic to conduct a few searches.
Make notes of what they find from their searches; this can become valuable intelligence so that when a real visitor conducts a search, they have no problem finding what they are looking for.
9. Update contact information
If a customer can’t contact the business, it’ll lose respect and ultimately lose customers. Ensure that the most up-to-date phone numbers, email and postal addresses, links to social media profiles, etc are correct.