The ultimate checklist of what your website needs in 2022
When was the last time you serviced your website? If you can’t remember, take it as a red flag that it’s probably been too long. Site maintenance could be the difference between having your site function as an excellent or a disastrous tool for digital business management in countless ways, making it just as important as any other upkeep requirement.
Live websites require constant upkeep processes that, depending on their type, need tending to regularly, quarterly, monthly, and even weekly or daily. All tasks correspond to supporting important aspects of a website, such as its security, overall performance, user experience, SEO ranking, and even sales transactions if you sell online.
All of this means that companies that fail to follow up with all the necessary maintenance for the wellbeing of their site run the risk of facing potentially dire consequences. They could lose visitors, clients, and the overall quality of their online presence and credibility. A customer who doesn’t receive a purchase confirmation, because part of your e-commerce system is down or can’t find the information they need to hire your services due to a broken link is unlikely to do any business with you.
Site maintenance is indispensable to keeping a business’s online operations in shape. More importantly, servicing your website the same way you would a vehicle will determine how safe, effective, and profitable it can be. To guide you through these practices, we’ve put together the following list of some indispensable maintenance tasks you or someone trained to do so should be performing for your site.
Regularly Backup your Website & Check on your Domain Name:
Save it! Doing so is perhaps the most essential item on this checklist. Without a recent backup, you risk losing your website altogether. Avoid the trouble of losing your current work and important site data by creating a copy of it on a separate hosting server. A backup will safeguard your site and the information it contains if there is ever an issue with your computers, the primary server goes down, or the site is hacked. You can do this manually; however, some hosting platforms have the option of automatizing periodical backups.
You also need to know when your domain name is scheduled to renew. Believe us; you do not want to wake up one day to an expired webpage and have lost all the hard work you’ve invested on the site. The scenario can get as ugly as your domain name being kept hostage on a domain auction site, where it’s listed for a hefty price after someone else purchased it upon expiration.
Scan for Malware & Security Updates:
These two protect your website from security breaches (hackers) and should be of the utmost priority, especially for e-commerce sites that handle private customer data. The technical aspect of this practice entails checking that plugins, scripts, and platforms are constantly updated to cover up possible vulnerabilities your site or its hosting service could have.
Some users fear the effects of updates because they can potentially alter features of a website’s functionality or hinder plugin compatibility. Nonetheless, neglecting to perform these security checks could endanger your website and customers’ data. Therefore, double-checking for occasional blips after every update is always a good practice.
Test Links, Forms, and Website Speed (Optimization):
- Check that links embedded on your site are functioning correctly, and make sure to fix any broken or expired ones to prevent a negative user experience and low SEO scores. Links can break or malfunction when redirection is not implemented adequately, or the link continues sending users to a page deleted from other parts of the site. Nobody likes to bump into a broken or unavailable page when trying to access information or buy something. The Semrush tools can help you spot any broken links on your site.
- Forms are usually used to capture leads and convert visitors into buyers, so it’s recommended that forms are constantly reviewed for needed content updates as well as possible submission glitches. It’s essential to add an additional layer of security to your forms using a Captcha section, which can filter out potential bots to ensure you only have real users. Moreover, these types of validations on your forms help avoid SQL injections meant to place malicious code in your site to access its database and steal information.
- Slow websites rarely make the sale, procure a restaurant reservation, or provide an initial consultation to a potential customer. Some of the steps you can take to speed up your site’s loading time include shrinking the size of your image files, implementing a CDN (content delivery network) or adding a caché. While the CDN allows your site’s content to be distributed to and replicated on several servers around the world, the caché has browsers save a copy of your site for quicker loading speeds. Both options make it easier for your website to load faster on people’s desktops and smartphones. I
Review your Metrics & Test your Checkout Process
Analyzing the wealth of information your website can offer your business regarding how customers interact with the site is never a waste of time. More so when you can now look into where your traffic is coming from and which features are converting visitors into buyers. Periodically examining metrics can give you an upper hand to more sales, which is precisely what online selling is made for. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are some of the free tools you can use to analyze your site’s traffic, page views, how long visitors stay on your website, and other vital metrics.
Customer experience when it comes to purchases should always be three things: seamless, transparent, and, more than anything, trustworthy. Going through the shopping process just like a customer will point to issues that could be affecting your sales.
Other essential maintenance practices include removing unnecessary plugins and updating themes along with footers, headers, and legal policies. Changing passwords and auditing your database and overall content should also be done every so often.
The bottom line remains: Your website’s maintenance is critical and shouldn’t fall through the cracks, which sadly happens to some of the best, yet busiest business owners. For most companies, hiring a firm that regularly provides such maintenance services is best. Why? You can have a qualified person handle it all for you at a fraction of what it would cost your teams to develop the know-how and keep it all in check.
BlueTide offers website care packages through which you can hire a group of professional experts to regularly run all the necessary servicing your site could need. In addition, they’ll take care of your WordPress maintenance tasks, so your time can go where it’s best spent: your actual business. For clients, delegating their website’s maintenance has translated into time and cost savings in the long run with less downtime. Furthermore, they can trust their sites will remain optimized in terms of increased security, better SEO performance, and quality user experience.
Top 5 Maintenance Horror scenarios:
- Classic redirection hack. Although this has variations and different symptoms for your site, mainly when a user tries to enter your website, they are redirected to questionable websites. (adult pages, illegal businesses, pharma sites)
- Redirects: Another type of common and challenging to detect redirection is the redirection of links within your website, where the user visiting your page is redirected to other unauthorized pages.
- Malware Link Farms: Your page can be used as a link farm to generate money through unauthorized practices.
- Mirroring your site: Using your site’s appearance in conjunction with a similar domain, hackers can steal information from potential customers on your behalf.