Can You Pass The Website Maintenance checklist Test?
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Your website never sleeps and our digital world is growing more complex. As one of your most valuable assets your brand needs to be performing and evolving to be at it’s best. Implementing a proper website maintenance and growth schedule is critical. Peace of mind comes by building a relationship with a team you can rely on to keep your online business, not only running, but producing top results.
Today every business is becoming a digital business and more sales are being made online with each passing year. The number of business owners searching for ongoing site improvements is far greater than those searching for new website builds. This makes sense with the speed in which we can build, test and iterate to ensure maximum exposure, interaction and profit, but they also need regular, ongoing assistance to keep their sites running. If you want to grow or even stretch the boundaries of your Digital Business, then the true value for business owners is having a reliable team to handle this.
Go beyond website maintenance
If your website was just a machine then a maintenance program would be totally fine. This is, however, totally inadequate for your business. You don’t want to “maintain” anything. You’re running a business you want to pursue growth, improve, iterate, experiment and do better.
Maintenance is only part of the solution
You have built your website to grow and develop your business. Aiming to simply maintain your site is a completely backwards approach to running a business. If you start off with this mindset, you’re likely to get mediocre results at best. Instead, what your business likely needs is strategy and support. The Icon Sherpa service offers customers these services by default as part of our core vision. We do it with this key, underlying principle:
- Preparation – Observe, Learn and Implement only the best in products and services of this “Always On – We Economy”
- Base Camp – Know your status before we climb into work with a company, how else will you know the benefits you’ve gained?
- Route Planning – Knowing your goals for the month, quarter, year as well as metrics from your competitors helps set the priority
- Target Values – Also known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) these are the important factors crucial to evaluating success
- Scheduled Benchmarks – How often should the data be refreshed? What’s a good sample size? When do we make changes and iterate on our approach? These questions should be answered and agreed upon up front.
If you have your own team make sure you have a plan and cover these website maintenance steps for optimum results:
Begin your website maintenance with a solid foundation:
- Set up a backup service and set daily database backups and at least weekly full site backups. Store these on a separate web server. For backup services we recommend BackupBuddy and for remote server’s we recommend Amazon S3 (or Dropbox or Google Drive).
- Use a third-party SMTP service to send emails from your web server. We recommend Mandrill or Sendgrid.
- Monitor website security with automatic scanning. We highly recommend Sucuri.
- Monitor website uptime. We recommend Uptime Robot and Pingdom Tools.
- Install Google Analytics and select a custom reporting template that best suits your business
- Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools and confirm your site
Your Weekly Website Checks
- Ensure all pages on the front end of the website are loading without errors
- Backups are performed daily and stored off site
- Update Content Management System software and plugins
- Check all forms to ensure they are working properly
- Review and resolve any issues with emails sent from the web server
- Check and remove spam comments, form submissions and user accounts
- Check for any broken links
- Check for 404 errors and resolve these by fixing links or redirecting
- Marketing: write one blog post and share it with your networks
Your Monthly Website Checks
- Check website loading speed. If more than 3 seconds then consult with your web developer to improve speed
- Review security scans and resolve any issues
- Review website statistics. What is your most popular content? What is your least popular? Where are visitors coming from? What is your best conversion source? Tweak your content to suit
- Review your local search visibility
- Marketing: send an update to your email list
Your Quarterly Website Checks
- Review website – what could be improved?
- Web Graphics and photos – are these up to date? Could they be improved to be more current?
- Check your website content – what is dated and what could be improved?
- Review and tweak meta title and meta description tags
- Test and tweak forms and automated messages to improve conversion rates. Ensure this automatically integrates with your CRM and email marketing system
- Improve automation: What tasks do you have to perform regularly? Could these be automated?
- Test the website to ensure that it looks and displays properly on the most popular browsers and mobile devices
- Validate your site. (CSS/HTML, Accessibility, Mobile-friendly)
- Review and adjust website advertising campaigns
- Check backup health by restoring the most recent backup to a separate web server
- Check the uptime logs. If uptime is less than 99.9% then consult with web host. Consider alternative web host if they can’t provide a solution
Your Yearly Website Checks
- Update the copyright date in your website footer and in any other references
- Review each page of the site for content accuracy
- Renew your website domains name(s)
- Review your website strategy to align with your business goals
- Consider updating the website design
Disclaimer: Some of the links contained in this article are affiliate links. We only ever link to sites and services that we have tested ourselves and would recommend to our grandmothers.
Move Beyond Website Maintenance — Go for Measurable Growth
If you’re not getting all of these things as part of your monthly support, odds are, you’ve hired a maintenance company. This doesn’t mean they’re bad at their job or useful in keeping things afloat, but if you’re looking for measurable growth from a digital partner, it may be time to look elsewhere.
I love technology, print and all things interweb. I look to find the simplest, most direct means of conveying a message to an audience. In whatever medium most appropriate to the task. Print, radio, television, posters, the internet. And always, I seek a response. A telephone call, an email, an action of some kind. Or simply, a nod, acknowledging “message understood”.
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