Website Management

The cost of website downtime can be overwhelming. Just ask Facebook.

In 2019, the 14-hour long outage of the world’s largest social media network cost the company a whopping $90 million!

That is, of course, an extreme example as there are very few websites that can compare to the magnitude of Facebook. But the same principle applies to more relatable cases, such as that of British Airways that lost $122 million in two days due to 400,000 cancelled flights caused by data center glitch.

While downtime and various technical issues will likely always happen, there is a way to soften the blow through strategic and well-executed website management — a series of best practices that ensure a website is properly taken care of.

In this article, we will discuss website management — its importance for maintaining your digital presence and brand reputation, as well as the best practices of managing a website.

We will also elaborate on why a well-serviced, managed hosting solution is a vital consideration when it comes to website management practices, especially from a security and scalability standpoint.

 

 

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What Is Website Management?

Website management consists of technical maintenance, design and content updates, as well as running and guiding online marketing campaigns that, together, provide a cohesive, professional and consistent website UX.

The objective of any web management effort is to improve the website’s performance, deliver a positive brand image and motivate visitors to take the desired action on a website.

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What Types of Website Management Are There?

Website management covers multiple facets of maintaining and updating a website. The most common forms of managing a site include:

  • Content optimizations: Producing new articles and blog content, optimizing images, updating outdated content, creating new pages, etc.
  • Technical maintenance: Fixing issues, solving hosting roadblocks, creating backups, updating website plugins, monitoring of performance, etc.
  • Analytics processes: Installing data tracking cookies, implementing third-party tracking tools, hot spot tracking, etc.
  • SEO: Optimizing SEO tags, meta descriptions and alt tags, boosting mobile-friendliness, improving website speed, streamlining website architecture, submitting sitemaps, etc.
  • Marketing funnel and UX: Simplifying navigation, creating a user journey roadmap, setting up sales funnel, creating landing pages and CTAs, etc.

How To Manage a Website: 10 Essential Steps

Managing a website consists of multiple, mutually connected steps. Even though the methodology of managing a website may differ from one to another, these nine steps are absolute essentials.

1. Website and Data Backup

As websites are vulnerable to security breaches, cyberattacks and server setbacks, it is vital to back up your website’s files on a regular basis.

In case a website’s core files are corrupted or even deleted by a malicious attack, having a recent backup can help you restore your website to the previous version when it was operational. It saves you from potential major losses and reduces downtime.

Backing up a website helps with:

  • Preventing the loss of data: If you or a hacker deletes some of your website’s data, a backup file can help restore it and resume the normal operation of your website.
  • Averting the need to rebuild a lost website: Large websites, with hundreds or thousands of pages, that have been active for years can particularly be affected by a severe loss of data. A fresh backup file ensures that you always have the latest version of your website ready to be deployed.
  • Reduces the revenue loss: For eCommerce websites that bring revenue through sales, every second of a downtime eats into your profits. The most recent backup, quickly deployed, reduces the downtime and, by extension, saves your earnings.

There are numerous backup services that you can find online, including iDrive, pCloud and Backblaze Business. However, elaborate and comprehensive website hosting plans also come with tools and services for making backups.

2. Optimizing a Database

Websites such as online stores with new products added and updated on a regular basis have large databases. These files contain all the information that a website’s specific parts consist of.

You should work on regularly optimizing these database files because:

  • It helps your site load faster
  • You will save database space
  • Your site data security will improve

The best way to optimize your database files is to use special software such as EverSQL, ApexSQL Plan or Toad SQL Optimizer for Oracle, among others.

3. Monitor Your Website Loading Speed

As your website grows, its database will get heftier, which can affect the website loading speed. And how fast your website loads impacts both your visitors’ user experience and your search engine ranking, while increasing bounce rates and decreasing conversions.

Apart from the big database files, some other factors that slow your website down include:

  • An excess number of plugins: This creates more lines of code in your website’s admin section. More lines of code mean more server requests on your site’s hosting platform.
  • High traffic: As your web traffic grows, your server has to process a large number of requests, which slows down your site’s load time.
  • Server performance: If you use a shared server that hosts numerous other websites and manages HTTP requests to multiple pathways, it will affect your website’s performance.
  • Too many graphics: Image-heavy websites, such as eCommerce sites with plenty of products, also create additional HTTP requests on your server.

To test your website speed, you can use tools such as PageSpeed Insights, UpTrends or GTMetrix. Go over the report generated by any of these tools and identify issues that may be affecting your website speed in order to address the actual causes of such.

4. Manage Major Downtime Causes

Your website can be inaccessible and unavailable for a certain duration of time for numerous reasons, most commonly the ones below.

Website Hosting Issues

Depending on your provider’s hosting plan, your website can be hosted on a dedicated server with professional 24/7 support to make sure your website suffers minimal downtime. Or it can be hosted on a server with multiple other websites, which may cause more frequent downtimes and longer issue fixing periods.

Hardware Breakdown

Be it damaged ISP network cables, a server processor overheating or a power outage (or any other cause), a good deal of downtime situations are down to hardware malfunction that can happen in spite of protection levels you may have in place.

Cyberattacks

There are multiple types of malwares, hacker and malicious attacks online — two of which are particularly risky for all website owners:

  • DDoS Attacks: Denial of Service attacks flood the website’s server with requests and, as each server has the capacity to process a certain number of requests, a huge number of these false requests can crash the server, making your website unavailable to “real,” valuable visitors.
  • Bots: Black hat bots detect security vulnerabilities, exploit these weaknesses and penetrate servers and websites with the aim of bringing them down.

In order to be prepared for and manage web downtime, make sure you:

  • Establish if your website is down at all: As your website may only appear down for you but not for others, use browser’s incognito mode to make sure. You can also try accessing it from other places. Alternatively, use websites like isitdownrightnow.com or similar to get an accurate picture of your website’s availability.
  • Get in touch with your hosting service provider: Sometimes, when servers perform regular maintenance, they will let their clients know by sending them an email with the notice, so check your inbox first. If this is not the case, contact your hosting provider to see if the issue is theirs.
  • Try to identify the issue on your end: In case the issue is not with the hosting provider, you need to identify what caused your website’s downtime. You can do this in the following ways:
  • Check the backend activity log for any unauthorized entry and identify the changes made to your website in the most recent period (while your website was operational)
  • Go to your server and try to identify if there are any changes in your website’s files by comparing them with the healthy ones from your most recent backup (for instance, if there are new files, most likely injected by malware)

5. Eliminate Excess Website Elements

Sometimes, a website’s performance is hindered by too many plugins, software add-ons and other elements such as spam comments and unoptimized content changes that slow it down.

Your website needs occasional cleaning to get rid of this unnecessary software and content components. There are numerous tools at your disposal for cleaning a website of surplus elements, such as Autoptimize, WP-Optimize and

6. Make Sure Your Online Forms Are Not Vulnerable

If your website has online subscription or comment submission forms (or even a search bar or checkout page form), it also has another gateway for potential malware that hackers can inject onto your website.

Hackers use SQL injection technique to gain unauthorized access to your website’s database. It is vital to check your website forms for any possible breaches or weaknesses these hackers can exploit. To do this, you can use available tools such as Acunetix and the like.

7. Secure Your Landing Pages

If you have specific website pages or so-called landing pages where visitors land after clicking on a paid ad, social media post or organic search result, it’s very important to keep that page optimized and running smoothly.

Potential issues your visitors can experience when they arrive on your landing page include:

  • Slow loading page due to heavy traffic
  • Web server glitch
  • The product or service is no longer available
  • The messaging doesn’t provide a clear picture of what you are offering

Certain online tools, such as Unbounce, VWO Landing Page Analyzer and AdWordsRobot can provide you with reports on strategies you can use for website optimization to increase conversions, check all landing pages associated with your online campaigns and generate reports on your pages’ relevance, goal focus and other criteria.

8. Check Your Site’s Performance on All Devices

Even though you may have developed a website with every device and browser compatibility in mind, since then it has gone through changes such as new plugins, uploaded content and new code that may have impacted how the website shows on these devices and platforms.

Any of these changes may affect the way your website looks or performs on a particular device or browser. And that, as you can imagine, may lead to negative UX and poor perception of your business.

Therefore, it is important to perform regular checks on your website on multiple devices in order to maintain good performance metrics for all your users. To do this, you can use tools such as Katalon, Renorex, LambdaTest, TestComplete or CrossBrowserTesting.

9. Check Your Analytics

Clickthrough rates, visitors’ location, bounce rates, daily traffic volume, dwell times...all of these are contained in your website’s analytics section and provide an insight on how your website is performing.

These are also indicators about the areas in which you should improve your website and give you a general idea of your website strategy. That is why you should check your analytics reports regularly to know what steps to take in that regard.

Other than the ever-present Google Analytics that is everyone’s number one Analytics service, you can also make use of tools such as Domo, Zoho Analytics, Google Data Studio and others to get more data on your website’s performance.

10. Get Managed Cloud Hosting

Website hosting is an essential consideration when it comes to how your website is performing and what steps you can take in order to manage it.

It affects the website loading speed, its safety, expansion capabilities and scalability, as well as what plugins you can implement to enhance the website’s appeal and content wealth.

Also, the right hosting plan can help you with the ever-important backup files. Different hosting service providers give different options when it comes to backing up your website and can even do that for you in the intervals you agree on.

If your online business is at a point where your daily traffic volume is growing and you require a sturdier hosting solution, it may be time to opt for a hosting provider that can also make your website management easier.

How To Successfully Manage a Website With a Reliable Managed Hosting Plan

A cost-effective way to ensure you have the necessary website management capabilities at your service is through a managed cloud hosting platform such as Cloudways.

Cloudways is especially suitable for growing agencies and eCommerce businesses as they provide 24/7 support that will help your in-house team with any website management-related issue you may have.

The solution’s high-speed performance, built-in advanced caches and enterprise CDN, along with SSD-based hosting are just some of the features their clients get to enjoy. There are also:

  • Intuitive and easy-to-use user interface
  • Team collaboration availabilities
  • 24/7 server monitoring
  • Multiple integrations and plugins
  • Managed security with dedicated firewalls, bot protection
  • Server management versatility

Cloudways has several flexible, pay-as-you-go pricing tiers that provide different capabilities that are customized based on your specific requirements.

It begins with the choice of five different cloud hosting plans that companies can fully scale up or down, depending on their operational costs.

The five hosting plans include:

  • DigitalOcean
  • Linode
  • Vultr
  • AWS
  • Google Cloud

Each of these comes with its own set of pricing tiers, ranging from $12 per month for the most basic, DigitalOcean and Linode plan to $274 per month for the advanced AWS hosting plan.

Website Management Takeaways: Why Managing Site Matters

Website management is a set of methods and processes that webmasters and website managers take to make sure their website is up-to-date, professional and functional.

Aside from ensuring general security, technical maintenance, organizing content and developing other long-term plans, managing a website also involves these tasks as well:

  • Performing maintenance
  • Implementing design updates
  • Planning and delivering content updates
  • Implementing marketing strategies
  • Updating website security
  • Providing web support to staff and customers
  • Planning for future growth in both domestic and international markets
  • Achieving a consistent user experience across channels
  • Ensuring content can be reused in various contexts

Managing your website with precision and professionalism comes with multiple short-term and long-term benefits for any business, including:

  • Preparation for future growth: Effective website management practices ensure that you will be able to scale your business online.
  • Cutting down the costs of downtime: Bad website management — or no website management at all — results in website issues that can prove very costly: from entirely losing your website to having to create it all over. Major downtime can be particularly costly for eCommerce websites that depend on daily revenue generation. Web management ensures this does not happen or, if it happens, the remedy is quick and efficient.
  • Cost-effective efficiency: Website management tools and processes help businesses cut down costs by streamlining tasks that lead to improving your website experience and facilitating work practices and collaboration.
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