If you want to optimize your website’s return-on-investment, provide the best experience for your customers, and maximize lead generation, then your website needs to be maintained regularly.
If we care for our vehicle, we’ll follow the recommended maintenance plan and have it serviced regularly. It’s not that we expect it to run radically better the next day but we know that regular maintenance will keep it running at its peak and as efficiently as possible. It will pick up any issues early and hopefully mitigate more expensive break-downs. And we’ll tweak and replace items like tires, brakes, and wipers that wear out.
Unfortunately, the maintenance program on business websites is seldom as thorough! After investing the price of a vehicle, on a professional website, it’s surprising that many clients are reluctant to fork out the funds for a regular maintenance program.
Make sure that your website files and database backups are being automatically performed on at least a weekly basis. Restore from backup at least once every six months to ensure the backups are valid. Verify that backups are also stored off-site or include a cloud backup system.
Check all error log files and messages at Google Search Console to make sure there are no major issues.
Apply available security patches for any software your site relies on (e.g. PHP, content management systems, e-commerce carts, etc.) Ensure you have a full site backup before applying updates. Check website and extension functions after applying updates. Evaluate non-critical software updates to see if they’re worth applying.
Run a link checker to crawl your site and look for broken links that can annoy users and reduce search engine rankings. Use a free tool like Online Website Link Checker or a website auditing and SEO app like SEMrush.
No one likes slow page loads including Google. Use Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to check how quickly your website pages load and get actionable recommendations. Ensure that website editors loading appropriately resized images and that the website itself is adequately optimizing images.
Sitemap files tell search engines the structure of your website and help incorrectly indexing your site with Google. Check the sitemap to ensure that it is up to date. Check for broken links to deleted legacy pages. Also, check to ensure links to newly added and important pages are updated within the sitemap. Check that the sitemap.xml file is automatically updating. Submit it to search engines if necessary.
Forms are usually an important part of lead generation and need to be checked regularly for script errors or changes in destination emails. The connection to automation apps and email lists should be tested as well.
Check for active tracking scripts on all pages particularly on static sites with automated Content Management. Check and test Goals and conversion data in your analytics reports to confirm that key actions and events are being recorded for analysis.
Use a website auditor tool like SEMrush to find structural problems with your site that may affect how search engines view your site like missing meta titles, poor responsive design, or duplicate content. Correct critical issues and plan a time to address other issues.
Over time, errors can creep into your site content as changes are made by numerous people. Read and correct all content on the site. Check often forgotten “thank you” pages. This could include checking ALT text associated with images that search engines use to index what that content is about.
As new CMS platforms and code technologies like AJAX evolve, many website scripts need to be altered or added to keep up with compatibility and the competition. All make for improved function, performance, and animation.