Far too often, companies fall into the trap of thinking that once a website is live it will look after itself. The creation aspect of a website should instead be considered the first step in an ongoing, but necessary, digital journey.
The idea that websites are simply the e-commerce platforms of businesses is outdated. Nowadays, websites are integral to the success of a business and should be diligently maintained as such. Essentially, bad web maintenance is bad for business.
For smaller brands that might be thinking about transitioning into more online-focused operations, be sure to check out an enterprise digital transformation guide first to get up to speed on important considerations and challenges around building your business’ digital footprint Also,be sure to research and choose a customer engagement platform that suits the needs of your business and customers.
Let’s go over some of the key aspects of website maintenance and why you simply can’t ignore them.
Security is without a doubt the number one reason your website should be properly maintained.
Security maintenance should be carried out at regular intervals. If your website is built using a content management system (CMS), such as WordPress, Weebly, or Shopify, then you’ll want to ensure you keep up-to-date with security patches. For WordPress users, make sure you have automatic updates turned on.
One of the key security benefits of Shopify and other CMS is that they have their own app library for use with sales-focused websites. This means you are able to download widgets and plugins knowing they have already passed security checks. These app libraries offer all kinds of useful features, from powerful marketing tools to built-in survey plug-ins.
If your site isn’t constructed with a CMS, then you’ll want to ensure you or your IT team are maintaining its security regularly.
Often overlooked aspects of website security are widgets and plug-ins that you may be using. Make sure to regularly check you have the newest versions installed. Otherwise, your widgets could act as a weak link in an otherwise secure website, serving as an entry point to exploits or attacks.
If you don’t, potential data breaches can be catastrophic to a company. Customer data loss is bad enough, but couple this with the PR nightmare that would accompany it, and you have a really bad situation. It’s better to make sure your website is secure through frequent security updates.
It’s a situation no one wants to find themselves in. Spending hundreds or thousands of hours building a website only for it to be lost forever and having to start the whole labor-intensive process over again. This is why regularly backing up your website is so vitally important.
Typically, you might think of website backups from a content perspective. For example, having copies of images, videos, and text. While this is important, be sure not to forget to have a backup of your website code too.
Many CMS providers offer automated backups, so make sure you turn on this feature and choose a schedule and frequency that suits your needs.
If you don’t,you leave the door open to the possibility of losing everything you have worked on so far. The investment in a backup subscription is dwarfed by the costs of replacing everything you’ve already invested. Content source for image.
Keeping content fresh will not only boost traffic to your site, but also improve the quality and relevance of traffic!
If you don’t, you’ll find that Google lists your pages much lower in its results pages, users will be less likely to click on or engage with your content, and your brand may come across as out-of-touch.
Strengthening Brand Image
As we’ve already seen, website maintenance isn’t just about making sure your site is secure. Instead, the term encompasses so many additional elements to overall website health, which, in turn, leads to business health and increased brand strength. The user experience, tone, and visual aesthetics go a long way in conveying authenticity and earning the trust of your audience. Timely website updates are essential to keep the website in tune with design trends and fresh in the eyes of your customers. A crucially important aspect of website maintenance is ensuring it’s working to support your overall brand identity. As time goes on, the identity of a brand is likely to evolve, and it’s important that your website isn’t left behind.
Part of an Omnichannel Experience
Thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, many people were only able to interact with brands on the internet. This really highlighted how important it is that a brand’s website delivers a customer experience that’s consistent and synced with the rest of the business.
The functionality and usability of your website tie into the overall attitude customers will form in regards to your brand. For this reason, it’s essential that your website ties in to the wider customer experience you expect them to be having.
Slow loading times, unintuitive layouts, and a heavy sales approach are some of the ways that a brand’s website can fall short of customer expectations. It’s helpful to visualize your website as though it were a physical store. The slow loading times are akin to slow customer service or cashiers. Poor site layouts are analogous to aisles with no patterns or markers and so on. It could do a lot of good for your website to optimise its web hosting resources and website speed.
Your website maintenance plan should seek to incorporate your brand’s overarching identity and ethos. Check-in often with your users to ensure that it’s having the desired impact.
If you don’t, having a website that doesn’t fit a brand’s wider identity can lead to customers feeling unconfident about making a purchase or subscribing. It may result in customers changing their feelings towards the brand. In some instances where websites deviate a great deal from the brand identity, customers may assume the website isn’t even yours!
Compatibility With Newer Technology
The world of tech is much like the world of business, changing and evolving at an unrelenting pace. It should come as no surprise then that your website needs to adapt to keep relevant. Similar to how the content on the website should be updated, so should the framework that the website is built on.
Over the last decade, the percentage of global traffic on mobile devices has skyrocketed. In 2012, for example, only 11% of global traffic was via mobile. Fast forward to 2021 and that figure has jumped to 56% as the graph below illustrates.
Options for Support
Many business owners might feel a little overwhelmed at this point. For those without a background in website management or businesses that may not have an IT team at all, fear not! There are many options to seek external assistance in maintaining your website. A key benefit to working with a remote, likely international, IT team is that they’re able to work the same hours you do. For many smaller business owners especially, this can be late at night or during other non-standard business hours, when a domestic IT team may not be quite so willing to help. Many remote IT companies have staff located across many time zones, so take advantage of that flexibility!
If you don’t, without the dedicated time and expertise that an IT team can give, it’s likely that website maintenance will be forgotten about. Even if it’s as infrequent as once a month, paying a professional to keep your site healthy is well worth it.
Good Website Maintenance Is Good Business
It goes without saying that a good website is important to the success of a business overall, but with the help of this guide, you know that equally important is its maintenance. When you view your website the same way as a physical store, it feels obvious that it needs to be taken care of.
As online operations continue to grow, website maintenance will only get more important. For that reason, it’s definitely worth getting into good habits sooner rather than later.
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Jessica Day – Senior Director, Marketing Strategy, Dialpad
Jessica Day is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy at Dialpad, a modern business communications platform that takes every kind of conversation to the next level—turning conversations into opportunities. Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts, for both company and client campaigns. Jessica Day also published articles for domains such as Lucky Orange and Digital Agency Network. Here is her LinkedIn.