What is Website Maintenance and Why You Need It
If you have a brick and mortar business, you know all about the amount of work it takes to maintain your place. You know that the floors need to be cleaned, your windows washed, light bulb replaced, leaks patched, desks and chairs fixed or replaced, etc … the list goes on and on. What happens if you don’t take care of the issues right away? The problems get bigger, your employees become unhappy, and the customer… well… they just don’t return. So you know that maintaining your place of business, whether it’s a restaurant or an office, needs to be kept clean, organized, updated and free of issues.
Although your virtual presence does not necessarily have physical parts, it too needs just as much attention and maintenance as your brick and mortar counterpart.
Here are 5 reasons for creating a maintenance program for your business website:
1. Fresh Content
Why do great restaurants have different specials each week? They want to keep people interested and coming back week after week. So unless your restaurant is located in a Senior’s Home (no offense), your customers want new and exciting things to try and taste. And even cafeterias in Senior Homes change their menu from time to time to keep things exciting,
For your online business presence, make sure you’re giving your readers a reason to come back. No one wants to read the same content week after week or be looking at outdated information about an event that happened 3 months ago. If you’re not updating, your essentially telling your potential customers that you are not paying attention to your business or you may even be giving them an impression that you may be going out of business.
2. Website Speed
Have you ever found yourself in a situation when you just want to look something up “fast”? Your friend, your wife, your boss or whomever is standing next to you, and you just want to find a quick answer to a question or look up the location of the place, or quickly find that reference number. And because you’re a resourceful modern age individual, you look it up on the internet. You get your result, but alas, the page you clicked on is not loading in, it taking really long, the darn circle keeps swirling and nothing. In the end you go to a different site that does load-in fast and without issues.
What if its your business website that is not loading in. Your business website is usually the first point of customer interaction, so you need to leave the visitors with a positive lasting impression. How many customer’s are you potentially loosing as a result of your snail-crawl load time?
There may be a whole host of reasons why your pages may not be loading fast. Slow server, improperly optimized pages or images, broken links, etc. Slow pages can happen at any time and the only way you’d know there is an issue is if you’ve got a regularly planned maintenance on your site.
3. Website Backup
Anyone who has ever had their work or sensitive data crash on them should appreciate this. Technology sometimes fails us, so having your website and all of the files, photos, updates, posts, pages, etc, backed-up on regular basis can prove to be ‘business-saving’.
You have to remember that your website resides on a server. Hopefully you are with a reputable company that has many fail-proof systems and backup options. However, even if you are with the best hosting service out there, sometimes their systems can fail. When your data is gone you have no recourse, unless of course you have done the responsible thing and have been backing everything up on regular basis yourself. No? Then you must be one of those few people that doesn’t have car insurance either. And I hope you have several thousands of dollars stashed away to pay someone to recreate your site, your photos, your content, your forms and so on.
Backing up your website is just smart and easy way to protect yourself and your business. It doesn’t take too much time, it doesn’t cost much and it’s easy to do.
4. System and Plug-in Updates
Have you ever known technology to stand still? Did you ever buy a piece of hardware only to find out that a week later a new better device is available? So why would you assume that your website code or the platform (such as WordPress) would be always the same. The software, just like the hardware is constantly being updated and improved, and if your website is not keeping up with the updates you’re falling behind.
The reason for the constant updates is to not only keep up with the latest hardware requirements, but also to keep up with the new coding requirements. Also the plugin you downloaded last week may have had a bug and if you don’t install the new update, it may mess with your entire site. In some cases your entire site may cease to work properly unless you update the platform. In addition, search giants, such as Google, may not allow your site to be listed unless it conforms to the latest programming requirements.
When was the last time you’ve run a system check or an update? You may be doing yourself and your business an injustice if you’re not checking it on regular basis.
5. Measure and Improve
Measuring and improving the success of your business website is very often overlooked by business owners. But how else do you know if your efforts are having an impact?
Remember back to when you were at school? What if the teachers never gave you a report card? Would you have an idea of how well or poorly you’re doing? Would you know what your weaknesses are? Of course not. You need those measurements to know if you need to study for that math test or not. It was also good to know how you measure up against others. Are you at the front of the class or at the back? Perhaps doing that extra credit will get you to the top of the pack.
Well, getting top ranking on Google is very similar. Search engines give your websites and your web pages scores (marks), which determine your search position. And as we all know from our years at school, good ranking is rewarded to those who not only work at it consistently but also to those who do the right things. And to make things a little more complicated, search engines like Google, are constantly changing their requirements of what it takes to be at the top. Believe me, the websites that show up at the top of the organic searches didn’t get there by accident. It takes work and dedication.
However, the first step is knowing where you stand and try to improve each area little by little. Once you’re at the top, the work doesn’t stop. If anything it gets harder to stay there, sincere there are millions of similar websites clambering and trying everything in their power to be #1.
Some of you business owners out there may be getting a bit overwhelmed with all of the things you need to do, on top of running your business. However, if you truly and honestly look at the list, it’s actually not that hard to do. Consider getting a technical consultant (such as yours truly), to get you started and explain what needs to be done. Alternatively you could always outsource that part of your responsibilities, but believe me that once you do, you’d be happy you did. Imagine not worrying about your data or your articles, or whether your customers can reach you, and imagine always having someone to reach out to in case of an issue.
Bottom line is that Website Maintenance is very often overlooked, but it’s a simple and inexpensive insurance policy for your online business. Contact us today to discuss a maintenance plan for your business website.