The Hidden Costs Of Not Having A Website Maintenance Plan - SmartSites
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The Hidden Costs Of Not Having A Website Maintenance Plan

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The Hidden Costs Of Not Having A Website Maintenance Plan

To keep a business running smoothly, it is not just about succeeding in the physical realm. In today’s digital-driven world, it is also imperative to keep one’s website attractive and well-maintained. Proper website maintenance is important for both small and big companies if they want to engage and retain customers. Routine website maintenance is an area where corners cannot be cut. Think of it as allowing one’s health to fall apart when a person goes too long without a health screening procedure – you wouldn’t want that, do you?

What is Website Maintenance?

Website maintenance is the process of performing regular checks on a website. The goal is to keep it updated, relevant and error-free. Website maintenance is not a one-time affair as it needs to be maintained consistently. By maintaining a healthy website, the owner can boost traffic growth and improve Google rankings, as well as overall SEO rankings.

Why is Website Maintenance Important?

Why you need website maintenance

A poorly-maintained website can go down at any minute. When a site is down, one may risk losing potential business and profits. That’s not all. It can give you a negative reputation as potential customers may think that’s how your brand performs in real life.

When one maintains his or her website, the benefits also pour over toward maintaining a professional corporate image. What will visitors feel when he or she sees a couple of “X”s, blank areas, broken images, accidental Lorem Ipsum text, etc.? They may start questioning if they have landed on the correct website!

If one’s website fails to deliver on the promise of professionalism and modernism, potential customers may be inclined to go elsewhere. If you do not want to go through the hassle of apologizing for unexpected downtime or trying to make up for the inconvenience that you have caused, never skimp on scheduled website maintenance.

Your website needs to make sure it’s up to date on all security and software updates because it might store customer information, e.g. names, contact details, residential addresses, likes/dislikes, and more. Without adequate protection, your site may become a target for hackers.

Popular CMS & Their Website Maintenance Needs

  • WordPress Maintenance: WordPress is the most widely used CMS in the world and that’s why it is the biggest target for hackers. It’s important to secure WordPress updates; preserve and obtain backups; ensure that the site is monitored 24/7/365; facilitate bug fixes and more.
  • Magento Maintenance: Magento is an e-commerce based CMS and it often stores lots of personal information which is very sensitive. It’s extra important to  constantly optimize overall website performance, implement the latest security patches, perform backups, ensure accurate data entries, and more.
  • Drupal Maintenance: Businesses and enterprises can benefit from having a full suite of maintenance services that handle the integrated, complex, and ongoing needs of their Drupal 6/7/8 based web properties.
  • Bigcommerce Maintenance: As Bigcommerce is not a self-hosted CMS, you do not need to perform your own updates. Although it offers some level of convenience, you must be proactive at ensuring those updates do not cause technical glitches that mess up your site’s UX.
  • Shopify Maintenance: Shopify is another non self-hosted CMS. They are constantly updating their codes and it’s important for you to perform periodic checks on your own site to ensure every app and design elements are working perfectly.

What is Involved in Website Maintenance?

  • Fix Broken or Bad Links: A resource that your site has linked to earlier might disappear. Never neglect broken links because they can give visitors the impression that your site is not credible, it is not regularly updated, and it is not user-friendly.
  • Ensure Page Designs are Consistent: When major website browsers like Firefox, Safari, or Chrome update their platforms, some of your web pages may not show up the way you want them to. This can negatively impact your business and branding. Web maintenance is needed to achieve a uniform website design throughout all pages and on mobile view.
  • Perform Routine Backups: Afraid of losing important website files, e.g. plugins, blog posts, pages, or images? It is imperative that business owners perform routine file and database backups, e.g. on a weekly basis.
  • Fix HTML Errors: Minor errors in a site’s HTML code can cause multimedia to go missing, create funky looking pages, and more. Web maintenance procedures involve the inspection, discovery, and repair of broken links and page designs.
  • Ensure Website Software is Up-to-Date: Another task that web maintenance providers undertake is updating the core server software of their clients’ websites. Additionally, they also check that the FTP service is running flawlessly on the server.
  • Downtime and Uptime Monitoring: You can get instant downtime alerts delivered to your developer team and details of the main causes of the failure. These allow your team to rectify the issue without delay, avoiding potentially costly downtime.
  • Hacking Response: Websites of big corporations are prone to denial-of-service attacks. A downed website can cause both frustration and inconvenience to one’s customers and visitors. A website maintenance team can intercept and prevent hackers from causing further damage.
  • Implement the Latest Security Measures: Security updates address site vulnerabilities, protecting both your website and data. Additional penetration tests may need to be performed to ensure that your security features are effective.
  • Updating Plugins: It is common for hackers to infiltrate websites by exploiting outdated plugins. Most plugins have an auto-update feature, but it’s recommended that website owners update them manually and perform compatibility tests to ensure that everything is in a proper working order.
  • Coding Language Updates: Adjustments may need to be made whenever PHP is upgraded at the back end.
  • Form Checking: After scheduled updates, online forms on your site should be checked to ensure that they are working properly, e.g. ensuring that submitted forms are in their correct formats.

The Biggest Website Maintenance Challenge

biggest challenge of website maintenance

When businesses plan to grow their websites, there is a requirement to create more content when site traffic increases. One of the biggest challenges of website maintenance is managing this process in the most efficient manner.

Before reaching that spike in visitor numbers, one has to visualize how increased traffic will affect site performance and stability. Does it mean that purchasing faster and bigger servers to handle the volumes is necessary? Do keep in mind that there are no cookie-cutter solutions. Every site requires a different website maintenance plan to ensure data accuracy and relevancy and maintain fast access speeds for their visitors.

Website Maintenance is Not Difficult

Yes, doing website maintenance is not that difficult. However, it takes time and you need to be consistent but luckily there are website maintenance services that make this a hands-off process. Broken links will be fixed, outdated content will be removed, web hosting space will be optimized, and more! All these can happen without affecting core business processes.

If you are considering attempting website maintenance on your own, we have compiled a comprehensive checklist that should work for most websites.

Website Maintenance Checklist: 26 Tips for a Better Website

Website Maintenance Checklist

To keep things simple, do review your website traffic logs regularly, perform maintenance procedures when you have the least amount of visitors, and always warn them in advance. Consider injecting some humor into the maintenance notification page. Inform your visitors that your site is currently getting a massage, taking a nap, or something more straightforward, “Scheduled Maintenance in Progress. Be Back Soon!” Alternatively, you can update your visitors via your social media accounts, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

It is also a good idea to keep a few articles on a static page and offer visitors something useful to look at while you are performing scheduled maintenance. If you think that content from other websites might be of interest to potential visitors, don’t hesitate to feature them! By doing these, you are showing that you are apologetic for the minor inconvenience caused.

Website Maintenance Tools

If you run a poorly maintained website, several issues can arise; you may lose your visitors’ trust or your business may lose the opportunity to make a direct sale. Business owners shouldn’t wait until those problems happen to start keeping their websites in a good running condition. Below is a quick look at some of the leading website maintenance tools that one can use:

WordPress CMS Maintenance Tools

Sublime Text

Sublime Text

Sublime Text is a popular and fully-customizable WordPress maintenance tool for code editing. It is powerful, compact, and lightweight. If you need to maintain your site by editing HTML or PHP codes, this is a useful tool for those tasks. What’s more, it offers cross-platform assistance and supports a black background that makes it comfortable to view.

MAMP & MAMP Pro

MAMP & MAMP Pro

Before you roll out new changes to your site, you have to test them to see if everything works perfectly without affecting site functionality. With MAMP, one can test, develop, and maintain WordPress sites on their desktop PC with greater ease. The tool is compatible with both Windows and macOS. The cloud version of MAMP allows users to back up their host and database data via Dropbox. Hence, projects can be easily backed up with one click.

DesktopServer

DesktopServer

If you need to maintain multiple websites, DesktopServer will make your life easier (thanks to its Multisite Support). The tool features an optimized local AMP stack and supports Panic Coda and Dreamweaver Live view. When the necessary changes have been made for your website, you can utilize its Easy Live Site Deployment feature.

Jetpack

Jetpack

Hackers are getting smarter everyday and that’s why having the best WordPress malware removal tools by your side is becoming increasingly important. The Jetpack malware removal tool, for example, is optimized for WordPress and can keep your personal or small business site spam-free.

Magento CMS Maintenance Tools

Plumrocket

Plumrocket for Magento 2

The tool allows users to release their website updates safely. Plumrocket offers a powerful Magento 2 maintenance mode functionality that notifies visitors of the ongoing maintenance works. In addition to easily switching between maintenance mode and live site mode, the tool also allows users to enter page meta information to ensure SEO-friendliness while the site is being maintained.

MagePing.io

MagePing.io

It is a hosted SaaS from Absolute Commerce. The tool is designed to allow Magento website owners to monitor uptime with ease. It collects and presents useful data such as disk space usage, CPU usage, error report counts, and more. In addition to creating custom tasks, users can also leverage the Agency View feature across multiple Magento websites.

General Analytics Tools

Google Analytics

Google Analytics

One needs to know where their website is under-performing and improve those areas. Google Analytics continues to serve as an indispensable tool that gives web developers and business owners comprehensive reports on various matters, including:

  • Overall website performance
  • Pages that lack SEO-driven content
  • Pages with duplicate content
  • Pages where visitors spend the most or least time at
  • Pages that have recently experienced a sharp drop in traffic
  • Average bounce rates across your website
  • … and more!

Considering Website Maintenance Services

In-house vs. outsourced Website Maintenance

Businesses can save time and money by engaging the services of firms that offer professional website maintenance services. Hiring a new employee to create and manage a website may not be an affordable route to take.

Today, the cost of outsourced website maintenance services is much more affordable than before. While maintaining the site, these services can optimize it to reach the right potential clients via easy-to-engage, informative, and attractive formats.

One of the best things about working with professional web maintenance teams is the level of support that they will provide. For example, help is just a call away if you encounter any website issue. Alternatively, you may be able to reach your provider via chat. Answers can be provided to your team within seconds.

Bottom Line

It is clear that website maintenance is easy and is the key to achieving top-quality web presence. In addition to the wide availability of self-help tools online, one can opt for professional website maintenance services to make things a whole lot easier!

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