Why website maintenance is vital for online success

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Launching a new website is a mammoth project. So much thought goes into design, development, user experience and more. Not to mention optimising for SEO, and crafting copy and messaging for conversion.

You've put everything into making sure your website is the best it can be. Showcasing your brand, providing an immersive experience for your users. So, once you hit publish on your new site, it can be tempting to kick back and cross your website off your list as 'done'. 

Ah. If only it were that simple. Think of your website as a vital ecosystem in your business. Each part forms an aspect of your sales, marketing and customer service delivery. 

If just one part of it falls down, it can throw the entire operation out of whack. This is where web maintenance comes in. 

Your website needs constant and ongoing attention. Sadly, it doesn’t bring the traffic you need and deliver a high-quality customer experience all by itself. It needs updates and monitoring to make sure everything is working in the best possible way.

It’s a long game. But the effort you put in today will pay dividends in the long term. If it’s done right…

That’s where web maintenance comes in. It’s vital to the success of your business online. And something you should factor into your overall website budget.

What is website maintenance?

Good web maintenance means keeping on top of your website's overall health. It means making sure everything works as it should for the best possible user experience. It also means monitoring your site for potential performance and security issues. 

So what are the common tasks involved in managing website maintenance?

Technical maintenance

Data backup

You need to make sure you have regular backups of your website’s data and files, so you have what you need for a full recovery in the event of website security breaches or data loss.

Software and plugin updates

Keep your plugins and WordPress themes updated. It’s important for website security that you’re running the latest version. Updates often come with new features to improve site performance and user experience.

Security testing

Your website needs protection from security breaches with regular updates and fixes. This will protect it from potential vulnerabilities to security threats.

Cosmetic maintenance

Layouts

Cosmetic maintenance keeps your web pages looking good, which is a plus for user experience. 

Useful and necessary updates to page layouts keep your site intuitive and easy to use.

Image and graphic updates

You should also make sure you regularly update images and graphics. Along with your colour palette and other visual aspects. This optimises your site for better user engagement.

Content maintenance

Adding new content

Adding new content to your website regularly is vital for SEO. Whilst maintenance packages are designed to keep your website up and running, additional support contracts can assist with your site’s content. This can include adding new blog posts to keep your audience engaged. If you’d like some help with keeping your site updated with fresh content, talk to our team about a tailored support package.

Updating existing content

It’s also important to audit your existing content and update it. For example, blog posts might need updating to include the latest stats on a particular topic, or replacing broken links.

SEO best practices constantly evolve. So, it’s also a good idea to review and update old content to make sure it’s working as well as it can for you. As always, it’s important to get a balance here. Content should never be keyword-stuffed. It needs to be written with your reader in mind first. But it doesn’’t hurt to look at your legacy content to make sure it’s fully optimised.

What are the benefits of investing in web maintenance?

Better SEO

Broken links and out-of-date content that isn’t useful to your audience can affect where you rank in search. So building in regular web maintenance is a vital arm of an effective SEO strategy.

Better website performance

Having a plan in place to update and monitor content helps your site perform better. Strong maintenance keeps on top of loading speed and other performance aspects. It means less frustration for your users and a lower bounce rate for your website.

Increased trust and brand reputation

A well-maintained website means a better first impression for your users. Up-to-date designs and layouts create a positive first impression and enhanced user experience. This helps to bolster your brand reputation, building up trust with your audience.

Improved website security

Updating your software, themes and frameworks to the latest versions helps protect your website and data. And regular security monitoring means better protection from hackers and malware infections. 

It works wonders for user trust too. People notice and remember security flags and flaws. They’ll abandon your website and it can damage your reputation. Sometimes irreparably.

Time and money savings

Potential time and cost savings are huge when you choose expert developers to manage your web maintenance. Keeping on top of maintenance will eat up hours of your working week if you attempt to do it yourself. Why not hand this job over to the professionals? Our website maintenance team has efficient processes for web maintenance tasks. We have the in-depth technical expertise to keep your website performing well.

Types of web maintenance services

When we talk about web maintenance services, there are a few things that fall under this umbrella. Here, we've broken down the key areas to focus on for a robust web maintenance practice:

01

Domain & hosting

You're probably already aware that you need to renew your domain every year, so you don't lose your unique address. 

Yes, that can happen. Without a timely domain renewal process, you risk losing out on your preferred name. Which could be disastrous for your brand.

Equally, when choosing a developer, ask if they provide hosting alongside maintenance. Plus, you need to be sure and check that you’ll own your website and domain. Sometimes, less reputable website development companies take ownership of your domain and website. You definitely don’t want that. So, check the fine print.

When you choose us for your web hosting and maintenance, you always own your website and domain. We also partner with a reputable specialist WordPress hosting solution. 

Good hosting management sets the foundations for the best website performance. We track bandwidth, manage server space, and put in place a clear renewal procedure.

02

CMS & plugin updates

If you've been reading our other blogs, you'll already know that we're not keen on plugin overuse.

That said, there are some plugins that are very well respected and work incredibly well. The Yoast SEO plugin is one such example. 

If there's a plugin that works really well and will benefit our client, we always recommend it. But with plugin use comes the need to keep an eye on updates and maintenance. 

Your content management system (CMS) is the software you use to build and manage your website. Our team of developers is expert in the WordPress CMS. It’s the most popular CMS on the market with 63% of websites that have a CMS running WordPress. 

With millions of daily users, the WordPress CMS is updated super regularly. If you’re running an out-of-date version of your CMS, you’re opening your website up to security risks and errors. Regular web maintenance practice should include updates of scripts, software and plugins. To make sure you have the best performance and protection against security threats.

We can advise you on the best plugins to use for the functionality you need. Alternatively, a custom build might better suit your customers’ needs.

03

Website security

All web maintenance packages should include security monitoring and scanning as standard. Regular security scans and monitoring help protect your site from attacks and breaches. 

Your site should - at the very least - have the basic website security measures in place. These include firewalls, malware scans and making sure you have an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate helps keep your user data secure. It also verifies your ownership of the website. And it prevents attackers from creating a fake version of your site. It's essential for gaining user trust. All our clients' websites have SSL certificates as standard.

As well as regular scanning and monitoring, we use a reputable security plugin for clients’ sites. It adds that extra layer of security.

It’s worth noting though, that aside from a few well-regarded ones, we keep plugin use to an absolute minimum.

Less well-known and maintained plugins can cause security threats aside from WordPress updates. So, choosing an expert website maintenance developer can minimise unnecessary code. Which could otherwise expose you to threats. Get in touch with our team today to discuss how we can help keep your website and customer data safe.

04

File versioning & backups

Regular website backups are essential protection in case something drastic goes wrong. For peace of mind, have a robust disaster recovery plan in place. So, you can get back up and running quickly in the unlikely event of a major problem. For this reason, off-site, or cloud backups are essential. 

Businesses that suffer data loss and security breaches risk untold damage to reputation, revenue and operations.

You should always have a recent backup version of your site available just in case. File versioning can restore previous versions of your website. Our web maintenance developers use a version control that stores the previous version each time we adjust the code on your site. That way we can revert to it if we need to. 

Our teams are meticulous with our coding and maintenance services for clients. So, it’s extremely unlikely that we’ll ever need the backup version. But it’s always in place regardless as added protection for your peace of mind. 

05

Performance & mobile optimisation

Good website maintenance services also make sure that your site is performing well. We do this with regular plugin monitoring to make sure we're running the latest versions. This way they're not introducing errors and slowing down your site.

It's another reason why we keep plugins to a minimum on the sites we build. As too many can slow things down. Plus, if they're not regularly updated, they can introduce security threats.

We also make sure we regularly check image sizes, so we’re not slowing down loading. It’s a good idea to keep image sizes as low as you can for their purpose. Obviously, you wouldn’t want a tiny file size for the hero section of your website. As you might find the quality is too low, you don’t want the file size to be so small that you compromise quality. But with smaller images for blog posts or staff bios, you can stand to compress them to a much smaller size. 

Our website maintenance packages can also include checking your website across different browsers and devices. 

With around half of your visitors using mobile, the user experience must match the desktop standard. Plus, you don’t know which kind of browser even desktop visitors will use. So it’s important to make sure we test your website across a variety. 

06

Content updates

Keeping your website's content relevant and up-to-date not only delights your visitors. It also pleases the search engine bots and crawlers. 

Regular updates to your content as part of your web maintenance plan means removing old content and refreshing old articles with up-to-date statistics, images and graphics. As well as, regularly adding new posts that give great value to your visitors, and that are optimised for SEO.

Here at Feel Created, we build your website with you in mind. The blocks we build make it easy to manage your content in-house. So anyone on your team can easily add and update content. 

If you don’t have the capacity to manage this in-house, we do offer a digital marketing support service. So we can handle all your content updates for you, saving you valuable admin time. 

How often do you need to do website maintenance?

How often you need to do web maintenance really depends on your website's size and how complex it is. But the different types of maintenance tasks fall into these key areas:

Annual maintenance

Every year, you should do a full optimisation across your entire site. This means auditing all your content, SEO practices, backup strategies and domain renewal.

Quarterly maintenance

You can set updates to security, plugins and themes automatically on the CMS. But you should also schedule quarterly security maintenance to keep things secure. Working with a professional developer is the best way to make sure everything is functioning as it should. It’s true that automated plugin updates will save you time, but it needs a professional eye to check for any potential issues that can crop up with these updates. 

Another thing to schedule in for quarterly review is SEO audits. That way you can make adjustments that could move the needle based on your ongoing analytics.

Monthly maintenance

Your monthly maintenance tasks centre around optimising code and updating content. This ensures a better user experience. This would be updates to things like blogs, FAQs, images, and graphics. You should also plan WordPress framework and plugin updates to be done each month as an absolute minimum.

Weekly maintenance

Weekly maintenance focuses on things like page errors and broken links. When these aren’t fixed it can frustrate your users and increase your bounce rate. Although framework and plugin updates can be done on a monthly basis, ideally you’d do these weekly for best practice. And for complex client websites with high traffic volumes, we run these checks as frequently as twice per week. Security patches should be ad hoc and not left to a scheduled time. That way you avoid leaving your site open to flaws and vulnerabilities.

When you choose a reputable website maintenance and hosting provider, you're not limited to fixing these issues at these scheduled times. The flexibility of our packages means that if an error arises, we're on hand to fix it as quickly as possible. For this, we offer a professional-level managed hosting package. It means we're constantly reviewing security and remedying issues as soon as possible.

What to consider when choosing a website maintenance service

We strongly recommend getting help with your web maintenance from a trusted developer. It will save you so much time. Plus, outsourcing means peace of mind that a tech expert is handling things. 

Here are some key things to consider when you're choosing a website maintenance company:

01

Expertise

Read up on the track record of the team you're looking to hire. What are their credentials? Do they specialise in your particular CMS or are they a jack of all trades?

As experts in WordPress, we've built and maintained engaging and high-performing websites across a range of industries. Check out some of our work for a taste of what we could create for your business

Another question you should ask when you’re getting help with managing website maintenance is: Do you use staging sites? In the early stages of development, we always use a staging area. So you can see progress, test your site out, and give us feedback. It’s a great way to review and make changes to aspects of your website before we deploy them to the live version.  

As part of your ongoing hosting and maintenance contract, we keep the staging site available even after your website goes live. That way, you can review any future developments safely. Or you can just use it as a testing area for new content ideas.

02

Flexibility

As your business and website grow, the last thing you want is to be locked into a rigid maintenance package. 

When choosing a website maintenance company, ask if you can customise the service.

You’ll also want to find out about options for scalability. How will the support grow and evolve with your website? This is something we’re happy to discuss. We can come up with a tailored plan to suit your specific requirements.

03

Communication

The third thing you'll want to consider is communication. Make sure you ask:

How quickly do you respond to inquiries?

Are you available outside office hours?

How often do you provide website status updates?

When you choose us for your web maintenance and hosting, you get a proactive maintenance service. Which can dramatically cut down support calls. Our in-depth knowledge of WordPress means we pre-empt and avoid potential problems before they happen.

So your website can carry on doing what it’s meant to: Provide an engaging and intuitive customer experience along with valuable and up-to-date content. 

Get in touch with our team today to discuss how we can help you with high-quality, adaptable website hosting and maintenance services

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