In 2019, hackers were able to access over 7.9 billion consumer records. This is only one internet threat businesses and customers alike have to deal with.
Why are we telling you this? Security is one of the biggest reasons for doing proper website maintenance.
You have the responsibility to protect the data of your customers. At the same time, you have to protect your employees and yourself.
Here’s an extensive guide to website maintenance. Learn the tasks included and the importance of doing them.
What’s Included in Website Maintenance
There are a lot of things involved in maintaining a website. Some of these are the following:
1. Server Updates
This would depend on if you are hosting with us or another third party. In general, though, website maintenance also includes updating your servers.
Remember that your server is your first line of defense against security threats. Many website owners often overlook this part, which is a mistake you shouldn’t make.
2. Plugin Updates
We will always update the plugins you use on your website. This ensures the plugins are running at their best; plus, you can enjoy the newest features.
Keeping them updated also keeps your website secure. The updates often include patches for security vulnerabilities.
3. Database Optimization
Your database contains all your content, pages, posts, media, comments, and so on. This database increases in size and complexity over time.
Leaving it as is might lead to slow loading times as the database becomes bloated. We can perform a sweep now and then to remove unnecessary data.
4. Creating Back-Ups
A website back-up is a copy of all your website’s data. It’s a safety net in case you run into a hitch that might render your website unusable.
For example, something might go wrong while you’re installing an update. It might destroy a part of your data or cause other problems. If you have a back-up, you’re confident that you can reverse the negative effects.
Back-ups are also effective against a loss of data. You can’t always prepare for human error. One mistake can cause thousands of posts, for instance, to disappear from your site.
In this case, you only have to revert to your previous back-up to get those posts back. A back-up is like saving a document so that you can always load it even if the computer shuts off without warning.
When you have a proper maintenance plan, you’ll get “clean back-ups” of your site. That way, you can restore a version without infections if your website ever gets malware.
Website Maintenance Tasks
Website maintenance isn’t something you have to do once a year. Some tasks we have to do daily, some monthly, and others yearly. It’s intensive, but doing everything is worth the peace of mind.
Many big businesses back up their data daily, but most can get by with weekly back-ups. As part of your ongoing service plan, we backup your website in a safe place.
Your back-ups will always be fresh, so you don’t have to deal with outdated data.
Once a week is also a good time to review your key metrics. Tools like Google Analytics are great to review the performance of your site.
By doing this, you can see which areas need improvement. You can also assess whether you’re meeting your goals or whether your new strategy is working. You can also check the forms, spam comments, broken links, 404s, and more.
Checking for security updates falls under your monthly maintenance tasks. We make sure your server, plug-ins, platforms, and scripts are all up-to-date. This is important because developers often release new security features or patches.
We run a security scan, as well. This allows us to find any security threats on your site and take immediate action against them.
Once a month, we check if your website loads without issues. Measure the loading times. Page speed is now a ranking factor, it is essential to ensure your pages load within three seconds or less.
If the page speed isn’t satisfactory by your and Google’s standards, we find what’s bogging your website down. It can be due to unoptimized images, outdated scripts, or such.
Your quarterly tasks are a bit tough, but at least it is only completed four times a year. Most of your tasks revolve around reviewing your site as a whole.
Examples are your website design and structure. You should check to see if you can further improve them.
Review your website SEO, as well, including your meta titles and such. Check the images and media; do any of them need updating?
To test the responsiveness of your website, we open it on different devices. We use different browsers, too, to check for compatibility. This would be a good time for you to review your marketing campaigns.
Aside from creating back-ups, we have to ensure they’re healthy, too. This way, we can ensure that your safety net is still intact.
We have to test your whole website at least once per year. Check every nook and cranny – see if all features work and assess your experience with using it.
Your website must be intuitive and easy to navigate. You might need to get someone else to try using it to get an unbiased opinion.
Take note that web design trends change yearly. You have to keep track of these to see if you’re lagging and if you can apply one to your site.
Review each page to see if there’s anything you need to edit or update. Check for typos, grammatical issues, and dead links.
Are there posts that are already outdated? Update them to the current year.
While you’re at it, see the best performing posts of the year. You may be able to update them with new content to maximize their traffic.
It’s also best to renew your domain every year. You don’t want to slack off with this one for reasons we’ll state later.
Why Website Maintenance Is Important
Is everything above really that significant? Yes, proper site maintenance is important. Here are some reasons why:
1. To Ensure Website Is Always Running
Without a proper website maintenance plan, you risk experiencing more downtimes. Your site and everything on it becomes unavailable for visitors and customers.
You lose out on the possible conversions, leads, or sales that would have resulted from the visit. Around 81% of online shoppers conduct online research before buying. That means you always have to be available when they do their research.
If they don’t get the information they need, they’re more likely to make an unfavorable decision. They might look for another option that’s more available to them. When a customer visits your website and sees that it’s down, they would go to your competitors instead.
An unavailable website doesn’t look good, as well. Having a working site is the smallest factor of professionalism online. This can affect your online credibility as a brand.
For new customers, your website is their first impression of you. If it’s not running, you gain automatic negative points.
2. To Keep Your Website Secure
Maintaining your website well also ensures you have the latest security updates. Think of it as your shield against threats like malware, ransomware, and phishing.
This is also a way of protecting your customers. A website hosting malware has a high chance of passing it onto the visitors’ devices. If your site stores customer information, then it’s even more vital to have updated security.
Creating back-ups is also a crucial part of doing web maintenance. This gives you peace of mind knowing that you can revert to a previous version with no issues whatever happens to your website.
3. To Have Good SEO
SEO isn’t only about keywords; it also factors in the website’s technical side. Without regular maintenance, your website will get security problems and outdated structure. All these contribute to your Google ranking.
User experience is also an indirect part of search engine optimization. If a visitor has a bad experience on your website, it will affect key metrics, especially your bounce rate.
These are important to Google as the search engine company wants its users to have a good experience. That’s why websites that provide this will rank higher on the search results. A lower rank translates to lower traffic and lower sales.
4. To Save on Costs
Yes, website maintenance costs money, but it’s money well spent. If you fail to conduct proper maintenance to save money, you’ll be losing more money in the long run.
As we’ve said above, poor maintenance leads to downtimes and security issues. When your website is down, you get zero leads, zero transactions, zero ad revenue, zero sales, and so on. Those are the obvious side effects, but downtimes also affect your business’s bottom line beyond those.
Security breaches are also serious issues that can make you lose money. Data breaches, on average, cost about $3.86 million.
Of course, it depends on the scale of your business. However, the point remains that it’s expensive to deal with a breach.
Cost of Website Maintenance
Does maintaining a website seem like a huge hassle? The good news is that you don’t have to do it yourself. You can subscribe to website maintenance services to let us handle it for you.
The costs depend on how big your website is. It can cost as low as $99 per month for personal websites to as much as $2,500 per month for e-commerce sites.
The cost of website maintenance may also depend on your CMS. WordPress website maintenance services, for example, have different costs. Some factors that might affect the cost include:
1. Website Hosting
When we host your website on our server, you will have access to an extremely quick litespeed server. If you think you will need more of a dedicated server for your large website, we can also accommodate your website.
A hosting service is one of the basic costs to consider. After all, every website needs a hosting provider.
Again, this depends on your package. The cheapest package has shared servers, which means you share the server and its resources with other websites. The most expensive one has a dedicated server, costing as much as $24,000 per year.
2. SSL Certificate
A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate helps keep your site secure. It enables you to receive and transfer sensitive data in a protected environment.
It’s the difference between HTTPS and HTTP. If a website has the former in its URL, that means it’s safe to give your data on this website. You should also see a padlock image next to the URL if the site has an SSL certificate.
You have to buy an SSL certificate for $10 to $1,500 per year. This would already include other features, like higher encryption rates.
With us, your SSL certificate is already a part of the website hosting package. Otherwise, you can always buy it as an add-on.
3. Domain Name Renewal
You have to keep paying for your domain name registration monthly or yearly. When you miss a payment schedule, the domain name might become available. Others may swoop in to take the domain from you.
This is the only area in which we suggest that you purchase your own domain name. This would allow you to have complete control over your domain.
Find Good Website Maintenance Services
As you can see, website maintenance is a serious matter that’s best left to professionals. It’s best to be careful when your security and profits are at stake.
If you don’t know how to do it right, you can always find services that can do it for you. Contact us today and let us know about your needs.