Why every business needs a website maintenance plan

Why every business needs a website maintenance plan

All high-performance engines require regular maintenance and service to ensure they perform at their peak. Even the standard family sedan requires at least a yearly service, regular tyre changes and monitoring to ensure there is enough engine oil, screen wash and water.  Not to mention the frequent, cleaning, vacuuming and clearing out of rubbish the impact of frequent journeys have on a vehicle both interior and exterior. 

Your website should be a high-performance marketing engine for your business. Just like other high performance engines, it too requires constant attention to ensure it delivers upon expectation. In all likelihood even if you’re the first person to drive your new car off the showroom floor before long you’re still going to need to stop off at a petrol station to top it up with petrol and check the tyres.  Exactly the same concept applies to your website. Even though you’ve had a designer come up with a fresh new look and updated to the latest version of your Content Management System, it won’t be long before your website needs additional maintenance.

The problem with the approach most businesses take, with their website is that once every 3-5 years there is a big push to modernise or update the website primarily because perennial need to grow revenue, reach new customers and increase sales.

This always ensures a lot of buzz and activity usually requiring expensive external design agencies, countless meetings and decisions to be made. For most businesses, this is often a medium sized project and the end result often does not meet expectations.  Primarily because the expectation that a new look or design will increase sales is often a flawed one.

Your Website ages fast

Nobody really keeps on top with what exactly is going on under the hood or even what impact the changes make to your digital marketing strategy along the way. Often new designs just introduce increased Technical Debt!

Web design and digital marketing trends fluctuate and move so quickly and often that your site needs to be constantly improved to keep up with user expectations.  10 – 15 years ago all you needed to compete with a website, was a working Shopping Cart, however these days customers expectations have changed and their needs have adapted.  Web based businesses now need to deliver more value and to set themselves apart from the competition.  It’s no longer an effective e-commerce strategy to make use of the standard off the shelf Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress WooCommerce, Magento or OpenCart. 

These systems work great, but for the most part just provide standard E-Commerce implementations that across the board, providing little or no customisation to enable your business to set itself apart from the million other Me-Too web shops that spring up on a daily basis. Leaving your website to differentiate and compete on the only thing left available, and that is Price, which only results in the race to the bottom.

Evolving Devices and technologies

The devices people are using to access the web keep changing and there is an ever expanding plethora of devices becoming readily available on monthly basis.  Websites and Mobile apps continue to evolve at the same right. In the past few years we’ve gone from Progressive Web Applications to Static Generated Websites and more.

Even when you consider that for most small to medium-sized businesses WordPress is the platform of choice, due to its ease of use & extensibility.

WordPress itself is under constant change not only to provide more features and innovations but also to ensure security and stability. This also has knock-on implications for most themes and plugins used by small and medium businesses. We’ve previously discussed these points in, Why do WordPress websites always get hacked?

Failing to patch or apply security vulnerabilities quickly can incur huge financial costs and in some cases have bankrupted businesses.

Not keeping a constant eye on how customers and prospects are using your website can quickly make you out of touch with demands and expectations. Ask any brand that takes Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) seriously and they’ll tell that making small and incremental changes and testing them continuously helps to keep your websites revenue generation at an optimum level while spreading out the cost throughout the year.

Continuous small, incremental changes are more cost-effective

Initially, this may sound like an expensive option to go about website management but it’s actually far more cost-effective. This way you only fix what is necessary, when it’s necessary rather than trying to do it all in one shot using the Big Redesign in the sky approach.

Taking the small incremental changes approach you can make sure the parts of your website that generate leads and convert sales continue to do so. Refining and tuning the process on a monthly basis.

Unless you’re running regular tests and making regular incremental changes, it’s unlikely you’ll have the necessary data to spot these issues too begin with.

When was the last time you checked under the hood?

You wouldn’t take your car on a long journey with your family on-board without first checking the tyres, oil, water and filling up with petrol. Why would you not check your website?

When was the last time you checked if your website was running the latest version of WordPress or Magento? If your website is relying on plug-ins, do you know if these are up to date?

You have to protect your site from spam, malware and various other threats. Are you sure no-one has set up a malicious page under a subdomain of your website? 

Monthly Website Maintenance Checklist

The following is a list of the minimal typical tasks you should be performing on your website on a regular basis

  • Website backup: Check that files and databases are being automatically updated.
  • Software updates: Ensure every piece of software your website relies on is up-to-date (for security and performance more than features).
  • Broken links: Keep on top of your internal links to make sure users always end up where you need them to.
  • Inbound links: Make sure no links are coming in from sites that can drag down your search ranking.
  • Traffic: You can’t know how effective your off-site marketing efforts are unless you know where your traffic is coming from.
  • Speed check: Keep track of site speed and pinpoint anything that could be slowing things down.
  • Spam: Monitor comments or any other user content that leaves you vulnerable to spam.
  • Security checks: A routine check that nobody has tried to attack your site or access your users’ data.

Getting the skills you need

Getting somebody on-board just to take care of website maintenance can be quite expensive especially considering that may be the only task they need to do. That’s why at threenine.co.uk we’ve designed our website maintenance maintenance plan which are basically a monthly contract to take care of your website maintenance.

We will help you take full advantage by assisting you to address design, marketing, administration and any other issues as they arise.

This way you don’t sit there while users hit the back button when they should be converting to a sale or a lead instead. You also don’t wait until your website is falling apart at the seams before you decide to take action. Your site will be constantly improving to keep up with user demands and hitting maximum performance on a monthly basis.

Above all, this is the most cost-effective way to go about things. You only pay for what needs changing, when it’s needed, instead of forking out for expensive redesigns every few years. And, more importantly, you’re not letting valuable leads slip through your fingers every month when a simple design change or optimisation could make all the difference.