You’ve set up your business or company website, checked all the links to contact forms and social media profiles, and now you’re ready and raring to go! Because once your website is up and running, that’s it, right?
Far too often we are coming across clients and business owners who think that once their website is live, it simply needs a few new blogs and articles on occasion to keep the content fresh and relevant. And while these are super important updates to make in order to keep consumers engaged and coming back to your website for more, content is not the only area that needs regular attention.
What is website maintenance?
Website maintenance is the act of going through your website on a regular basis to make sure that there are no user issues or errors being experienced along the customer or visitor journey. While some companies perform their own website maintenance checks, others bring in agencies like our team here at Slate, to perform full website checks and ensure that everything is operating correctly and seamlessly.
So, what does website maintenance actually look like?
A full website check will take into account everything from your backend hosting through to the content, visuals and buttons seen by the end-user. It is designed around keeping your website operation healthy; testing and strengthening your Google and SEO ranking, and making the necessary changes that keep your website in the minds of both new and existing customers.
Now, you may be wondering why it’s necessary to keep on top of this so often. After all, as long as you ensure your website is fully functional when it goes live, shouldn’t it remain just as consistent for as long as it exists in the online world?
Unfortunately, the answer to that is no, with regular upgrades made by website hosting organisations and website plugins which can instantly change the way they work on your website. A full website maintenance check will also go through all of your online forms and click-throughs to ensure that they are all presenting the same information and the same messaging – including every page on the site and every external link you include on your site. Because that’s another area over which you have no control – the operational experience of an external site. And this can prove fatal to your own SEO ranking if you don’t keep on top of it as a matter of priority!
How often should you perform a website maintenance test? All of the above should be checked at least once a week.
Other areas of maintenance that can be checked less regularly, ideally every month or every quarter, include:
– Website load speeds
– Website statistics and performance in comparison with previous months and weeks
– Website design and structure – is it still relevant and displaying correctly?
– Any graphics, images or videos used – do they need updating?
– SEO and meta titles and descriptions – are they performing?
– Calls to action, including seasonal messaging and specific marketing campaigns
All of these areas focus on a mix of user-facing content maintenance and backend maintenance, with every area working together to provide the kind of user experience that your consumers and customers will expect.
Why is website maintenance so important?
It all comes down to those two words that we talk about so often and which we have already mentioned a number of times in this very article – user experience. For more information on user experience, and crucially on the difference between user experience and user interface, you can check out our blog on UX vs. UI – however for the purpose of this particular piece, we want to look more closely at user experience and how this is affected by regular website maintenance.
Imagine for a moment that you are on a website and come across a 404 error page – or you try to complete an enquiry form but find that the submit button is stuck and not working. It doesn’t seem to fix itself instantly, so you decide to walk away and try again in a few hours.
If a company is on top of their website maintenance, this is something that will be flagged and fixed quickly – or at least will allow the company to circulate a pop up message which warns users about the issue and shows that they are on top of fixing the problem. However, if a company does not engage in regular website maintenance, and this problem goes unflagged and unfixed, your once-patient consumers will very quickly tire of waiting and will go to another company.
The long and short of it is this: you lose your customer.
Is that really something you can afford to do, all for the sake of some regular maintenance checks?
Because it’s easy to manage!
Whether you decide to bring your website maintenance in house or bring it to an organisation that can provide you with a maintenance and testing service, website maintenance is much more straightforward and effective for those who keep on top of it – primarily because it’s much easier to make small fixes on a regular basis, than it is to fix a whole load of issues in one big hit. Not only that, but the latter option is also a great deal more expensive to manage!
So, the next time you’re wondering which services to invest in, and how to keep your website and business running smoothly, make sure you’re putting enough time and energy into ensuring your website is fully operational and updated – all year round.
To discuss your company website or website maintenance checks, get in touch with us: