This time of year, it’s traditional to give your house a spring clean – clear out those cupboards, chuck away things you don’t want anymore and reorganise anything that is annoying you, or slowing you down. But not many business owners do the same for their website!
That’s a problem, as a website should be regularly updated, reviewed and cleaned up, to avoid broken links, spelling errors and out-of-date information. A website is something that shouldn’t be simply abandoned and left to its own devices, as it will run more slowly, be open to hackers, rank poorly and generally look dated and unloved. Regular website maintenance is very important, but too often ignored when you’re trying to run a busy company.
That’s why we recommend that you give your website a spring clean and bring it up to scratch! This is a great time to undertake those updates and routine maintenance you’ve been putting off. It’s also an excellent opportunity to revisit your text, images and company page to make updates. The aim is to ensure that your website is accurately representing your company and is a useful tool for both your customers and your business.
Web maintenance checklist
Here’s a checklist of what you should be doing as part of your website spring clean
- Run those updates
You should receive regular notifications requesting that you update your plugins and themes for your website. These can offer new functionalities and design options and improved versions of the things you currently have installed. However, more than that, they usually contain security updates and upgrades which protect you against the latest attacks. So, failing to run them can leave you open to be hacked.
As part of this spring clean, review all the notifications and check that you have run all the updates and run any that slipped through the net. During updates things can change visually or functionally, so make sure you take time to check that everything is all working well post-update, rather than assuming – it’s worth making a backup of your site before, just in case!
- Scan for vulnerabilities
In addition to making sure that your own computer is secure and free of viruses by regularly scanning with security programmes, it’s a good idea to check your website security using a security scanner on a regular basis. These programmes help you find potential vulnerabilities within your site and allow you to fix them before hackers discover them. There are lots of options out there, but they vary in quality in terms of the scans themselves, the reporting and the customer support, so choose carefully.
- Find and fix any broken links
It’s very annoying for a customer to click on a link and then get the dreaded 404 error. This can be enough for them to abandon their purchase or enquiry, so you don’t want any broken links on your site. There are programmes which can scan and identify any broken links for you to enable you to correct them and you should also check links when you’re proofreading the site.
- Check your analytics and see if anything is amiss
We all know how important it is to have analytics installed on our website and how much valuable data you can get from these analytics, but does anyone actually check yours? It’s something which is very often neglected, but a regular review of them can highlight issues and allow you to fix them.
- Make sure that everything is being backed up
We recommend daily backups so that should you be hacked, or something goes wrong, you have the latest version of your website safely stored away and it can be quickly and easily brought back online. During your spring clean, make sure your backups are working and check that they are being done regularly enough.
- Proofread and check your website as if you were a visitor
You probably haven’t navigated around your site as a web visitor would do since the day your new website design was unveiled. Since then, pages will have been added, plugins updated and functionality changed and when this happens errors often creep in. Whether that’s the broken links we were just talking about, typos, or issues with spacing and layout, a good check over a few times a year is definitely advisable.
At that time, you’ll also tend to notice if the information needs updating and you should spot any barriers along the purchasing journey that your customer might be coming up against. You should also ask yourself how the website is looking, whether any pictures or graphics could be improved or updated and check it against your latest offline marketing materials and social media channels. The aim is that everything is lining up and the brand identity is strong and consistent throughout.
During this check, don’t neglect your blog posts, as well as the main pages on your website. Make sure they are up-to-date and consider whether you can repurpose any of that older content. Could it be great on social media if you just add a few new stats or findings? Reviewing your blog posts and then deciding whether it has been used to its full effect can generate loads of great social media and email marketing content with very little work.
It’s important that you check the site on a wide range of devices, to make sure it’s performing just as well on mobiles and tablets as it is on your desktop. More people than ever are browsing on handheld devices now, so your website must work well on a mobile screen and you need to have responsive website design as standard.
- Check your SEO
Last but not least, when you’re reviewing your site, you should make sure that your website is ranking well and that you’re doing everything you should from an SEO perspective. When proofing you should be looking to see whether you could add any internal or external links to improve your SEO. You should use tools to check your domain authority, your Google ranking, check your keyword density and how your pages are completed to be as search engine friendly as possible.
At this point you should check your keywords and what your potential clients are searching for and decide if you need to create any new content to improve your ranking. Ideally you should be creating quality content on a regular basis in the form of original and well written articles, which feature your chosen keywords. If you’re not, this is a good time to identify what you should be ranking for and coming up with content topics and a plan for producing regular articles over the coming weeks and months.
Spring starts now!
Think of your website as your company’s online home and show it some love and attention, just like you would your house. Your business will thank you for it.
If you don’t have the time or skills to do this website maintenance, don’t worry, we can take care of it all for you! Our website care plans give you total peace of mind that the things above and more are being regularly taken care of by experienced professionals. This frees you up to concentrate on growing your business and ensures your website is secure, up-to-date and working to achieve your business objectives.
We have a range of packages with or without support from our webmasters and are happy to advise on what package would be most suitable for your needs. We’re specialists in providing care plans for WordPress websites and won’t charge you setup fees, or lock you in to long term contracts. Please contact us today to discuss how we can support your website and remove this task from your to-do list.