What to Make Sure is Maintained on Your Website
When you own a website - be it personal website or business website, there are a number of things you must do in order to maintain it. Here is a list of 10 of those items with an explanation of what needs to be done to check each item off of your list:
- Domain Name - Make sure the domain name is registered. Some people don't even know when their domain name is going to expire and then their website goes down without them even knowing. Also, check to make sure that the contact information is correct - especially for the Administrative Contact. This is who will receive emails regarding the domain name expiring. What's best is to have this set up as the "info@" (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org) email account. This email account should be a group account so that more than one person receives email from it.
- Website Software - If your website is using a Content Management System (CMS for short) or any kind of scripts (PHP, Perl, DotNet/ASP, etc.), then you need to make sure that software stays up to date. Check for updates from the software publisher. Also, your website host should be updating the core server software. For example, they should be applying patches and upgrades for things like the web service, FTP service and database running on the server. If you run your own web server, then you should be applying and testing these updates yourself.
- Web Statistics - Commonly known as "web stats," this is the program or service responsible for reporting who is visiting your website, how they got there and where they come from. You want to keep up to date on your website traffic so that you can improve your website and have it rank better.
- Content - Of course, your website's content needs to be up to date. This includes copy/text and pictures.
- Testing - If you website has any kind of form, newsletter sign-up or other kinds of functions, then those should be tested regularly to make sure they're working fine and going to whomever they should be going to (the emails from your Contact Us form, for example).
- Link Checking - If your website has links going to other websites, you should make sure those links work fine so that your website continues to be a solid resource that search engines like Google will rate as a result they want to provide.
- Backups - Check to see if backups of your website and database are being done. Also check that the backups work and can be restored without problems.
- Design - Make sure that your website still looks fine in all of the latest versions of major website browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. These browsers are updated often and if you website doesn't adapt, then it might not show up looking nice (or show up at all) on certain browsers and you could be losing business and destroying your branding. Also make sure your website looks good on mobile devices!
- Website Errors - Check all error log files and messages at Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools to make sure there are not major errors.
- Check Load Time - Do some testing to make sure your website loads quickly. Google and other search engines tend to favor websites that load quickly.
Of course, there's more that can be done but these 10 items are the basics.
Why Do Website Maintenance?
If what I've listed above sounds boring and like something you think can just be skipped, you should think again!
There is a lot of competition out there now. More and more businesses are online and are thus trying to get their website to rank high. The World Wide Web is the new Yellow Pages. The difference is that with the Yellow Pages, there was no maintenance needed... your ad was printed on paper and put into a book and that was it. With websites, the paper changes... web browsers update, server software updates and so forth. If you're not watching to make sure your website still looks good, then it might not be. You could then be ranked lower and not receive much traffic at all. Then, the people coming to see your website might not see it correctly.
Who Should Do Website Maintenance?
It should be done by someone who really knows what they're doing. They should be up to date on the latest tools and techniques. They should know how to fix things quickly and be careful with what they do.
If you're the business owner, this person probably isn't you.
You probably don't have time to learn website design or keep up on the latest browsers and coding (HTML, CSS, PHP, etc.).
This person might not even be on your staff.
Your staff might already be over burdened and they might never make it a point to consistently check these 10 things and do it right.
For the same price as paying one person on your staff to do this work (remember, it might take them longer than if an expert did it), you could pay a team of experts to handle all of your website maintenance needs. It's really a no brainer and a smart move.
Find out more about Webstix Website Maintenance and the team of experts we have standing by - right now!