Irrespective of whether you are a fashionista who has a walk-in wardrobe or a lazy dresser with a tiny little cupboard, don’t you buy new clothes every once in a while? You may also be eliminating clothes that either don’t fit you any longer, are worn out, or clearly not in style anymore. Thus, updating your wardrobe can either be for aesthetic reasons or practical. Similar is the case with your website — you need to make changes to it every so often either because it doesn’t adhere to Google’s latest algorithm, has broken links, or consists of outdated elements. In short, building a website is not enough; you need to maintain it well in order to reap its benefits.
Many business owners believe that a website is a one-time investment; they get their website developed, launch it, and then just get complacent about it. However, websites need regular maintenance in order to continue being one of the core sales tools. All components — including internal/external links, enquiry form, payment gateways, etc. — need to work properly without any hiccups or glitches. This is possible only with regular website maintenance. Here’s how and why website maintenance is crucial for a business’ online success.
Reasons why website maintenance is crucial
1. Visitors Trust An Updated Site More
Don’t you like everything fresh — fresh food, fresh flowers and the like? Similarly, visitors expect fresh content on a website; they will be left unimpressed if they see outdated content there. Imagine a website flashing ‘Christmas offers’ even in the spring season — does it reflect well on the business? One may even think that the business is perhaps not in operation anymore, and that is why the website is not updated. On the other hand, a well-maintained and updated website gives a positive impression about the business and may make visitors trust it more. As a matter of fact, marketers use fresh content to bring back visitors to the website via email marketing, social media marketing, etc. If you have content that is regularly updated, you can also expect visitors to return organically in search of helpful or sharable content like upcoming events or blogs.
2. Google Prefers An Updated Site
Besides visitors, you need to have fresh content to please Google too. The giant search engine is committed to delivering quality content to its users. That’s why one of the primary requisites to be ranked higher on its Search Engine Result Page (SERP) is to have fresh content. The more often you update your website, the more often search engines (not just Google, but Yahoo!, Bing, and AOL too) will visit your site and boost its rankings. However, if a website has not been updated in a while, search engines stop crawling it and its rankings for important keywords may start to drop. Fixing broken links, adding new content, replacing outdated content like offer announcements, deleting duplicate pages, etc. are important factors that contribute towards determining SERP rankings. A good ranking on SERPs means there are higher chances of your website appearing before people searching for keywords that are relevant to your business. This, in turn, could translate to more visitors on your website.
3. Broken links are detrimental to a website’s reputation
A well-dressed person with a tattered pair of footwear may not leave an overall good aesthetic impression. Similarly, broken links hamper the overall impression of a website, irrespective of how stunning it is. If you are not too sure what exactly a broken link is, here’s a quick summary of what it is and why it is detrimental to a website.
While browsing the internet, at some time or other, you must have come across a 404-page error or a similar message telling you that the webpage is unavailable. Such page links that do not work are called broken links. They are usually caused when the website no longer exists, the webpage is moved without a redirect (new web address) being added, or the URL structure of the website has been changed.
Links are an important factor for websites to secure a good spot on an SERP. As we mentioned in our blog How SEO Works, different kinds of links affect a website’s SERP ranking differently. While internal, inbound, and outbound links boost a website’s ranking, broken links hamper it since they signify poor website quality to search engines. Similarly, broken links also affect the overall user experience. That’s why it’s necessary to either remove broken links or update them.
4. The website becomes vulnerable to hackers
Just like burglars are always on the lookout for places to break into, hackers are always on the prowl looking for a new prey on the internet — it could be a business website, a social media site, a shopping site, or even an email service provider. They want to steal your data as well as that of your customers/users, and wreak havoc on whomever they can. That’s why it is crucial to ensure that your website security is foolproof.
Just like apps on your phone require a regular update, web software also need to be updated with the latest security patches in order to fix bugs. Outdated software is one of the most common ways hackers gain access to a website. Not only is having a virus downloaded from an infected website one of the biggest concerns for internet users, but even search engines are wary of such websites. If Google detects malicious software on your website, it will delist your site until you get it fixed.
5. Hampers load time
We are no longer in the 1990s or early 2000s when the internet was slow and websites heavy. It’s now the era of super fast internet and digital technology. That’s why, internet users are increasingly impatient when it comes to a website’s load time, more so when they are browsing the internet on a phone. On an average, if a website does not load in 3 seconds, they either hit the ‘Refresh’ button or leave the site. Similarly, even search engines prefer a website that is fast. No wonder load speed is an important factor in Google’s algorithm. Regular maintenance is necessary to ensure that a website's load time is not compromised in any way.
6. May distort display
Based on the latest technology and updates, new themes and templates are rolled out regularly. Hence, after some time, an existing website theme may become outdated. Such outdated themes and templates may either appear distorted or may misplace elements on new versions of web browsers or mobile devices. However, regular maintenance helps a website function smoothly across browsers and devices.
Website Maintenance Checklist
Now that you know the potential hazards of not having your website regularly updated, let us move on to a quick website maintenance checklist. While all these may seem technical jargons for you, a professional web designer/developer would be able to understand each one of them.
1. Website backup
If you have a lot of data being updated on your website daily or weekly, setting up a weekly automatic update is a good idea. If it’s not that frequent, an automatic update once a fortnight or month would also suffice. Also, make sure that backups are stored off-site or on the cloud.
2. Software updates
Software providers are perpetually working towards improving user experience and fixing bugs. Apply available security patches for any software your website needs.
3. Broken links
As we mentioned before, neither visitors nor search engines like broken links. So run a link checker to crawl your website and look for broken links.
4. Site speed
Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix check the load time of a website and offer actionable recommendations.
Whenever a page is added or deleted, the same needs to be updated in the sitemap. If needed, sitemap.xml file needs to be submitted to Google.
6. Website forms
If there are any changes in destination emails, they need to be updated to make the best use of website forms. The connection to automation apps and email lists must be tested too.
Missing meta title, poor responsive design, duplicate content, etc. affect SEO. All these need to be fixed during maintenance.
Regular website maintenance improves the site’s performance and increases return on investment. Also, it creates a user-friendly environment that even search engines love. So, make sure you get a professional who can take care of your business website while you take care of your business.
Foundous believes in working with you as your design partner so that you can focus on your business. We believe design should be uncompromising as it gives the first impression of your business. That’s why, we give your website the ideal look and feel. Most of all, we understand cashflow; accordingly, we have amortized the cost of building your website, over time, with our affordable pricing. Contact us to know how we can help with your business.