If you’re running a business, your website is the epicenter of it all—it’s how potential customers find you and how they learn about what you offer. It’s where they finally decide whether or not to give you their hard-earned money.
Without proper web maintenance, your website could end up looking outdated and won’t give off the best impression of your business to its visitors.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about web maintenance so that you can make informed decisions about how to maintain your website going forward.
Table of Contents
- What Is Website Maintenance?
- Why Is Web Maintenance Important?
- Effects of Website Negligence
- How Often Is Website Maintenance Required?
- Key Website Maintenance Services
- Types of Website Maintenance
- How Maintaining a Website Can Benefit Your Online Presence?
- Website Maintenance Checklist
- Website Maintenance Expert Insights
- Website Maintenance: Final Thoughts
- Web Maintenance FAQs
What Is Website Maintenance?
Website maintenance is the process of keeping a website up-to-date and running smoothly.
The primary purpose of website maintenance is to ensure that your site runs smoothly on all platforms (web browser, mobile device, etc.) and user agents (browser types).
You should also consider how often you need to perform this task based on the content you have on your site, as well as any changes such as updates or enhancements made by third parties such as Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel.
To keep your website running smoothly at all times, you should perform regular checks for errors throughout the day so that any problems can be fixed before they become significant issues for your visitors or clients.
Here are some eye-opening statistics about site maintenance that you should take seriously:
- 57% of customers won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile.
- 85% believe that a website should be as good as it looks on mobile through responsive web design.
- Website speed matters as 83% of users expect sites to load within three seconds.
If a website takes too long to load (including the images, widgets, sections, etc.), 38% of viewers will stop engaging.
Businesses with websites that load slowly cost retailers about 2 billion dollars in sales every year.
Consumers spend an average of 5.94 seconds viewing a website’s main image.
What Does Site Maintenance Include?
When you’re looking for a website maintenance and support provider, you want to know what it includes.
There are specific tasks that need to be addressed, such as:
- Troubleshooting website issues. For those who simply buy a website without conducting any maintenance, any sudden problems may arise regarding the website, which will require separate handling (typically billed separately). This means reaching out to your host about why the site went down or troubleshooting the problem yourself.
- Updating plugins and integrations. These same plugins and integrations on your site should be constantly updated to improve usability.
- Updating security. If your website isn’t kept current with updated software, it’s exposed to attacks from hackers, malware, and viruses.
- Annual website testing helps ensure your site is functioning correctly and that there are no broken links or other errors.
- Backing up your website regularly protects your data in case of a server crash or other unforeseen incident.
- Reviewing key metrics such as page views and weekly bounce rates can help you identify areas of your site that need improvement.
- Other changes. Without keeping up with maintenance contracts, you will have to play web developer yourself or hire someone else at no additional cost. If you’re undecided, keep reading to learn whether you need a web developer or to maintain your website by yourself.
Why Is Web Maintenance Important?
When trying to get your business off the ground and running, it’s easy to lose sight of what your customers are looking for—how they want to interact with your brand.
But one crucial thing to remember is that keeping up with website maintenance is one of the most important parts of maintaining a healthy customer experience.
If you don’t do it, then your site will become irrelevant in no time at all. And if you don’t keep up with security updates? Then bad guys will take advantage of those vulnerabilities and use them against you.
Now, here’s a quick look at why maintaining and updating your website is beneficial:
- You might not realize it, but your website directly reflects your business’ quality. Potential customers often make their first impression of you on your website.
- If they see a cluttered or poorly-maintained site, they may decide that you aren’t professional or don’t care about your online presence.
- A well-maintained website allows for a good customer experience because it’s easier to navigate, letting users find what they need quickly.
- It can also help prevent problems, such as security breaches or data loss.
- More importantly, a properly-maintained site will help you attract new customers and retain existing ones.
We all know how easy it is to forget about new features once they are released. By having a regular check-up of your site, you can manage new features without making any mistakes! You might want to add a few extra features or plugins, but when you don’t update them regularly, they will eventually stop working correctly.
It helps you stay on top of trends in design and technology—so that you can continue to add value to your customers through new features and functions.
If you’re staying on top of your website maintenance, you’ll also have the opportunity to be an early adopter of new website technology that will help the back-end run more smoothly.
Effects of Website Negligence
A website is like a car; if you don’t maintain it, it will eventually break down.
- If a website is not maintained correctly, it will not work optimally and will provide a poor experience for users. This can result in lost customers and revenue.
- If your website is neglected or just plain bad, there’s a chance you can lose your business too. And that’s not the only way negligence can hurt you.
- An unmaintained website can cost you money. Security vulnerabilities can crop up if your site isn’t updated regularly, leaving you open to attack.
- Outdated software can also lead to compatibility issues, costing you even more in lost business.
- Neglecting your website can also damage your relationship with current and future customers. If they can’t rely on you to keep your site up-to-date, they won’t trust you with their business.
In short, neglecting your website is a recipe for disaster.
How Often Is Website Maintenance Required?
Website maintenance frequency depends on factors like complexity, size, and the type of content. Generally, routine tasks like checking for broken links, updating content, and ensuring security should be performed regularly. More comprehensive reviews and updates may be done monthly, quarterly, or annually based on specific needs and goals.
Key Website Maintenance Services
Key website maintenance services include
- Regular content updates
- Security audits
- Software updates
- Monitoring for broken links
- Ensuring mobile responsiveness
- Optimizing page speed
- Conducting backups
Types of Website Maintenance
General website maintenance includes routine tasks like content updates and security checks.
Corrective maintenance addresses issues, while adaptive website maintenance adjusts to new requirements, and preventive website maintenance aims to prevent potential issues.
How Maintaining a Website Can Benefit Your Online Presence?
Aside from the importance of providing a good user experience, having a well-maintained website ultimately benefits your website’s SEO.
Maintaining your website is an excellent opportunity to establish a routine process of monitoring and improving your site’s SEO, ranging from updating content to fixing broken site links.
The best way to improve your website’s SEO is to spend time on it daily—including regular maintenance.
Maintaining your site also helps avoid potential issues with Google and other search engines.
For example, if you continually update content and fix broken links, Google will recognize these changes as part of an ongoing effort to improve your site’s ranking in search results.
SEO strategy is a bit like a game of chess. You can’t just throw your pieces out there and expect to win—you have to make them move in the right direction and do it strategically.
There are many steps you can take to make sure that your website continues to improve over time:
- Update regularly
- Use relevant keywords
- Write more engaging content
Sustaining the SEO of your website is essential for its long-term success. The more you pay attention to your website’s SEO strategy, the more likely it will be to gain and hold a search engine ranking.
However, it’s important not to get too caught up in small changes like these if you want to maintain your site’s rankings.
You should remember that Google doesn’t reward sites that constantly change their look or content regularly—it rewards sites that continue to build quality content over time.
Website Maintenance Checklist
- Check your website for 404 errors.
- Update your main plugins.
- Publish one or more blog posts.
- Check for broken links.
Test the loading speed of your website.
Analyze your security scans.
Analyze website statistics. Check the visibility of your local search.
- Update your graphics and web photos.
- Check your website's content and ensure it is up to date.
- Update your meta descriptions and meta titles.
- Make sure the website is optimized for mobile devices.
- Test and update pop-ups, forms and calls to action. Check if anything needs to be changed or updated with your advertising and marketing campaigns.
- Restore the most recent backup to check the backup status.
- Renew your web domain name.
- Consider revamping your website design.
- Review each page of the site to ensure accuracy.
- Update your best-performing blogs.
Website Maintenance Expert Insights
We asked website maintenance experts: "If you had to pick one thing, what is the most important aspect of website maintenance?"
1. Vulnerability Checks
Marc Hyde, Owner of Marc Hyde Creative
"Security sweeps and vulnerability checks because the hardest thing (and sometimes the most expensive) to do is remove viruses and malware from a website once it’s been infected."
2. A Mix of Factors
Ciprian Radut, the Head of Design at Revamp.Design
"1. Regular Updates: Keeping your website up-to-date with the latest software, plugins, and content is vital. This not only ensures optimal performance but also enhances security and user experience.
2. Content Refresh: Content is king, and it should stay fresh. Regularly updating your content keeps your audience engaged and informed, making them more likely to return and interact with your site.
3. Security Measures: Regularly checking for vulnerabilities, using HTTPS, and implementing strong password policies can protect your website from cyber threats.
4. Mobile Responsiveness: With the majority of web traffic coming from mobile devices, ensuring your website is mobile-responsive is a non-negotiable element of maintenance.
5. SEO Optimization: Ongoing SEO efforts are essential. Regularly updating keywords, meta tags, and optimizing content helps your website maintain a high search engine ranking.
6. Performance Monitoring: Regularly monitoring website performance, such as page load times, helps maintain a positive user experience. Speedy websites keep visitors engaged and satisfied."
3. Recent Backups
Lauren Russell, Owner & Creative Director of Wild Spirit Development
"When it comes to website upkeep, there's one thing that's absolutely crucial – making sure you have a safe, and recent backup of your site.
Imagine your website as a living piece of art, always changing and growing. But, like any creative project, things can sometimes go south. Now, picture this: you're all set to jazz up your site with cool new plugins or a fresh theme. It's exciting, right? But there's always that little voice in the back of your head, wondering, ""What if things go haywire?""
That's where your trusty backup comes in. It's like a safety net, your secret ""undo"" button. If anything goes wrong during your updates – glitches, errors, or even a total meltdown – your backup can swoop in and save the day.
Without a backup, it's like walking a tightrope without a safety net – risky business. You might end up losing time, money, and the trust of your users. But when you have a current backup, you're not just protecting your website; you're also safeguarding your peace of mind, and your investment into your online platform."
4. Updated Plugins
Heather Locke, CEO and Founder of Hammersmith Support
"Updating plugins is crucial for WordPress site maintenance as it ensures security, introduces new features, fixes bugs, and maintains compatibility with the latest WordPress version."
Arlea Hoffman, Owner of True Fit Marketing
"Although there are many important factors that go into website maintenance, if we had to pick one of the most important (and probably most underutilized) it would be accessibility for all users.
Similar to if a business has a physical location, they need to be ADA compliant for people utilizing wheelchairs and those with other physical disabilities. Websites are required to have similar accommodations. A website should be able to work with assistive tech and optimize screen readers for blind users; have keyboard navigation optimization for those motor impaired; create comprehension adjustments for people with cognitive disorders; stop flashing and quick motion animations to prevent epileptic seizures; have UI adjustments for vision impairments; and even create closed captions for the hearing impaired. Being accessible for all not only creates an inclusive atmosphere for your organization but also opens up 25% of the population to your business and also helps protect you from potential accessibility lawsuits which are on the rise in the US."
Amit Saxena, Founder and CEO of Optimal Trends
"If I were to pinpoint the single most crucial element of website maintenance, it would be ensuring the security of the website. A website acts as the frontline of engagement with users, and its security underpins the trust and integrity of the interactions. At Optimal Trends, we prioritize robust security protocols, including regular updates to security patches, thorough monitoring for vulnerabilities, and stringent backup processes. A secure website is the cornerstone of digital presence, serving as the bedrock for all other maintenance activities."
Matthew Hunt, Full-Stack Designer and CEO of Afteractive
"The most important aspect of website maintenance is website security. A compromised website can cause more damage than other issues related to website maintenance. A compromised site can cause a loss of sales, damage reputation, and harm SEO efforts if added to Google's blocklist.
Proactive website security, vulnerability detection, and management are necessary to keep your site safe. Proactive strategies improve the ability to maintain customer trust, prevent financial losses, and maintain a solid reputation online. Site owners who care about security need security evaluations to identify and address vulnerabilities. Implement tools that monitor security threats in real-time, enabling immediate response to any breaches or suspicious activities."
Website Maintenance: Final Thoughts
Poor web maintenance comes off to your website’s visitors as a lack of interest in their educational and buying needs, which can be detrimental to your business.
It’s much better to be proactive about maintaining your website and do what you can to make it look great for all visitors.
These are all the important things you need to know about maintaining your website so that it will always be as effective as possible in driving conversions and keeping customers happy over time.
If your website passes the necessary maintenance checks, it will save you unforeseen problems down the road, and you’ll have an easier time ensuring that your visitors can always find the best content on it.
Website maintenance is the antidote to entropy, which is the worst thing that can happen to your website—and the best way to ensure your business thrives. A web design agency that provides development services should also always provide maintenance.
Web Maintenance FAQs
How often is website maintenance required?
Website maintenance frequency depends on factors like content updates, security, and goals. Typically, regular checks and updates are performed monthly or quarterly.
How to Maintain a Website by Yourself?
Self-maintaining a website involves regular content updates, security checks, and software updates.
How to Choose a Website Maintenance Services Provider?
Select a website maintenance provider based on experience, services offered, client reviews, and compatibility with your website's specific needs.
How Much Does Website Maintenance Cost per Year?
Website maintenance costs can range from $100 per year to $60,000 per year, depending on the size and complexity of your website. Generally, the larger your website's complexity is, the higher your annual maintenance costs will be.
However, even a small website can benefit from regular maintenance, so it’s essential to budget for these costs accordingly.
Which Costs Should I Prioritize?
Any business that wants an online presence should prioritize web hosting, domain name, CMS, and SSL certificate costs.
Web hosting is necessary for your website to be accessible online. A domain name is how customers will find your website.
A CMS will help you manage your website content. And an SSL certificate will ensure that your website is secure.
Should I Buy Website Maintenance Packages?
Several elements that go into determining whether you should purchase a website maintenance package:
- The size of your website: The more extensive your website is, the more likely it is that it needs regular maintenance. You’ll want to ensure that your website is up-to-date and secure so visitors don’t see outdated or inappropriate content.
- The purpose of your website: If your business sells products or services, then its primary goal is to provide an experience for customers that makes them want to buy from you. A site with outdated features may not be effective at delivering that experience, which could lead to lower sales.
- How much of your website is customized content: It’s important to remember that while many people think their websites are custom-made, they’re mostly templated with some minor changes here and there (like color schemes and font choices). The more custom content on a site— images, videos, blog posts, or other types of content—the more time and effort it will take to keep everything up-to-date. This can quickly add up!
- How quickly is your business growing: How much experience do you have with website maintenance? Is your website currently out-of-date?