Website maintenance is not that different from keeping up with the maintenance of real brick-and-mortar stores. Would you shop at a store that’s dirty, filled with broken furniture, and selling outdated products? We didn’t think so.
Website maintenance plays the same role: it makes the business inviting, makes you look professional, and engages customers.
In case there’s any doubt, new research by Search Engine Journal shows that “81% of customers think less of a brand if its website is not updated and 39% would think twice about using a product or service if the website isn’t fresh and current.”
What Are the Steps in Website Maintenance?
In an era where digital assets are integral to business success, understanding the intricacies of website maintenance becomes paramount.
It’s not just about sporadic checks; it’s a continuous, rigorous process that, if executed effectively, can substantially elevate a website’s performance, security, and user experience.
With the aid of sophisticated tools like UptimeRobot, managers can streamline this routine, making informed decisions based on real-time insights.
1. Weekly Maintenance Essentials
Think of weekly maintenance as the routine health check-ups done to prevent major medical conditions. These are the most basic things you do to avoid problems from showing up in the first place.
Studies show that 53% of people will abandon a page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load and 50% expect a page to load in less than 2 seconds.
Regular speed checks ensure users aren’t kept waiting. You can use tools like PageSpeed Insights and Mobile-Friendly Test to see how your website performs on mobile platforms and then make adjustments as needed.
Software and Plugin Updates
The easiest thing you can do to mitigate risks is to keep things up to date.
When Alexa looked at over 40,000 WordPress security sites, it found that more than 70% of them carried some kind of vulnerability — and these were mostly related to outdated plugins. To avoid major issues, it’s worth spending an hour each week updating everything.
A site littered with spam comments loses credibility, so cleaning them up regularly is vital.
According to ManageWP, “Just as readers don’t trust spam, neither do search engines. Spam links are a red flag for crawlers, and your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings can drop if you have too many of them on your site.”
Addressing Broken Links
Think of broken links as missed opportunities — they interrupt the user journey and make your website look less professional.
If somebody abandons your site after finding a broken link, this will ultimately affect your bounce rate and your rankings. Plus, broken links signal to Google that your website isn’t properly optimized or kept up to date.
TIP: You can employ tools like Mangools SEO extension to identify and rectify broken links.
2. Monthly Checks
A month is a significant window in the digital realm — a period where strategies either work well or you’ll notice room for improvement.
Optimizing Website Speed
Back in 2006, Amazon found that every 100ms (that’s 0.1 seconds!) in added page load time cost them 1% in sales.
“For context, a 1% loss of annual revenue for Amazon in 2006 would have been around $107 million. Today, this would be about $3.8 billion!,” according to Conductor.
Optimizing your website’s speed will directly impact your bottom line, so it’s worth doing a monthly check to see if yours is lagging.
The Cost of a Data Breach Report points out that the average total cost of a data breach reached an all-time high of $4.45 million in 2022, up from $3.86 million in 2020.
To protect your site and your business, you should be conducting monthly security reviews, including checking for weak authentication and making sure your SSL Certificate is enabled across your entire website.
TIP: Receive alerts about potential SSL certificate errors or expirations using UptimeRobot’s monitoring features.
User Engagement Analysis
Metrics like average session duration, bounce rates, page views, and conversion rates offer a window into user behavior.
Every month, you should spend some time looking at these numbers to find areas where you could make changes.
Regular content audits are essential to ensure your content remains aligned with business goals and serves your audience well. According to The Pipeline:
- 47% of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content prior to engaging with a salesperson.
- 78% say higher quality, more efficient content creation led to an increase in content marketing success
- 72% say the development or adjustment in strategy is a contributing factor to the increase in content marketing success
A month is enough time to see if your current strategy is working. In case of discrepancies, it’s time to strategize.
3. Yearly Checkup
Annual checks aren’t just about updates — they’re also about keeping up with your organizational goals and industry trends.
Marketing agency TMD points out that “Search engine benchmarks are continuously evolving as new features and capabilities become available. Even as early as 12 months into a website’s lifecycle the initial investment is already starting to weaken relative to newer websites as they become more competitive in search.”
Here are a few things you should be doing every year:
Although time-consuming, an audit can highlight underperforming content, offering opportunities for optimization or re-purposing.
The Digital Marketing Institute recommends looking at the following points when conducting a content audit:
- Which pages generate the most traffic and convert the most users
- Which pages have the highest bounce rate (and how could you fix the problem)
- Finding new search optimization opportunities
- Content gaps that you need to fill
- Which pages need to be updated, avoiding any outdated or incorrect content
Forgetting to renew your domain can be catastrophic. Not only does it mean your site will be inaccessible until you fix the issue, but you’re also at risk for domain hijacking.
That’s because when a domain isn’t renewed before it expires, it becomes available for anyone to register — and this is when hijackers can snatch them.
You can keep your online presence secure and avoid any potential damage by monitoring your domain’s expiration date with UptimeRobot.
A brand’s email list can be a gold mine — but only if you keep up with regular maintenance and cleaning to keep it valuable.
Companies with a high bounce rate often end up being red-flagged as spammers, which in turn affects your visibility in future marketing campaigns.
If you have a huge list, you might need to do it every six months; otherwise, once a year is enough. You can use a tool like EmailListVerify to get rid of spam traps, hard bounces, and disposable or catch-all emails.
Did you know that 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if they find it unattractive?
A further 44% will leave a company’s website if there’s no basic data (like contact information or a phone number) easily visible on the site.
Annual design evaluations ensure your site remains user-friendly, attractive, and in line with contemporary design standards.
What’s a good design also changes throughout the years and you might need to make changes regularly so your site doesn’t look outdated. According to Inc.com, “Originality is key, but avoid the temptation to layer on too many bells and whistles. What can you do without? Video with sound and too many moving things can put off potential customers and make websites take longer to load.”
The Importance of Website Maintenance
Website maintenance goes beyond simply “keeping the lights on.” In order to maintain an authoritative presence online, a professional, well-kept website is also essential.
There are multiple reasons why website maintenance is so important:
- Keeps your customers engaged
- Improves the website speed
- Improves security
- Helps taking advantages of new features
- Boosts site traffic
- Optimizes the visitor experience
SEO and Visibility
Google loves websites that provide fresh, high-quality content.
In fact, “every time you make an update to your website, the search engine takes notice and re-arranges your site’s ranking.” Thus, if you want to increase the chances of your website getting a higher ranking, update the content frequently so that a search engine will reassess your position on its index.
What does this mean?
A website that updates its content regularly has higher visibility, more organic traffic, and better conversion rates.
This doesn’t only mean adding more text, but also optimizing images, updating metadata, and ensuring mobile responsiveness.
It doesn’t take much to cause a bad impression.
In fact, 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a single bad experience, and 79% will move on to another site if the one they’re looking at does not live up to expectations.
What is considered a bad experience?
According to research, it could be anything from a bad mobile experience to a slow site to poor design. For example, a whopping 75% of people judge the quality of a company based on a website’s overall aesthetics.
TIP: Allow visitors to stay engaged with your brand while the site is under maintenance through creative maintenance pages.
By prioritizing maintenance, you ensure a seamless experience that keeps visitors coming back.
Did you know that over 2,200 cyber attacks affect websites every day?
That breaks down to nearly one cyberattack every 39 seconds. Even more alarming is that 90% of these breaches are due to unpatched vulnerabilities that could have been easily prevented in the first place.
Regular site maintenance provides an added layer of defense against evolving cyber threats, protecting sensitive user data.
Remember that statistic about 75% of people judging your company by how your website looks?
That highlights the importance of having a professional website more than anything else. Sloppy design can erode trust and send prospective customers straight into the arms of competitors.
Potential Downtime and Costs
The average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute. For small businesses, the cost of downtime per minute falls in the range of $137 to $427 per minute, according to Carbonite, though industry giants and busy e-commerce platforms can see revenue losses in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
UptimeRobot’s real-time monitoring and instant notifications can save you from costly downtime and revenue losses.
Breaking Down Maintenance Costs
With the average cost of website downtime being so high, investing in maintenance seems like a smart use of your money. Here’s a breakdown of what you might be looking at in terms of maintenance costs:
- SSL Certificate: Essential for website trust, costs can range from $0-$125/month.
- Domain Name: This is your digital address. Costs start at $10/month but can cost $100 and more.
- Hosting:Like paying rent for a physical store, hosting costs range between $2-$835/month. With a little research, you can find reliable hosting options that fit your budget.
- Plugins and extensions: Average costs of $4-49/month, depending on how many you use.
- Marketing and SEO: From website optimization to content marketing, email marketing, and social media management, the cost can run into thousands of dollars unless you take on some of those tasks yourself.
CMS, General Upkeep, Tech Support: These can span from nominal to substantial costs, but are invaluable for a smoothly running site.
By embracing meticulous maintenance, you’re crafting a virtual gateway that radiates trust, draws engagement, and propels your brand’s success.
A well-maintained website is your strongest asset — it’s the first connection between your brand and the world and often acts as your primary source of advertising. If your website doesn’t encourage user trust, you’re missing out on an important first step.
While you might be reluctant to invest in maintenance right away (especially if you’re a new business), creating a strong, welcoming, and efficient website will lead to amplified returns and enhanced user trust.