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The Definitive Website Maintenance Checklist

One of the biggest challenges we all face is keeping our websites up-to-date.

Website maintenance is a vital process that ensures the ongoing health of your website. Whilst it’s not the most glamorous of tasks, an effective website maintenance process will help you to make the most of your website and avoid numerous common pitfalls.

With that in mind we’ve produced the definitive website maintenance checklist to help you keep your website up-to-date and fully functional.

Written By
Dan Partridge

Whilst website maintenance is something that anybody can do, some of the processes in our checklist are a little more technical. If you need a hand with your website maintenance – or would like advice on anything we’ve discussedplease don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re particularly adept at WordPress website maintenance and Shopify website maintenance, but our definitive website maintenance checklist is suitable for all kinds of website.

The Definitive Website Maintenance Checklist

By regularly working through the steps listed below you should be able to keep your website in good health. If there are any problems, the definitive website maintenance checklist should alert you to them and give you an indication of what steps you need to take next.

Does it Look Right?

This is the first and most obvious step. Looking at your website as critically as you can will help you to gain an overall sense of how it’s performing. Most of us spend huge amounts of time browsing the internet and are therefore well qualified to judge the overall feel of a website.

There’s another reason why a quick glance will help you to maintain your website. We talk a lot about the importance of first impressions. Looking at your homepage and key landing pages will remind you what your visitors are seeing and help you to decide if you’re happy with it…

Dig into Google Analytics

Alongside a visual overview, digging into Google Analytics or another similar tool will give you a statistical overview of your website’s performance and health.

There are several key factors that you should be looking at in detail. The traffic that your website receives will dictate what kinds of outcome you experience. A healthy website should be experiencing a progressive increase in website traffic. You should also be looking at the amount of time that visitors are spending on your website and the number of pages that they view. If you’re only averaging 1-2 pages then either you’re converting visitors very quickly or they’re leaving your website before you’ve had a change to communicate your key messages to them. It’s normally the latter. You should also be trying to keep your bounce rates nice and low, keeping visitors engaged and directing them to more of your content.

The level of detail that you go into when analysing Analytics will depend upon the goals that you have for your website. You can analyse the impact that your PPC campaigns are having at driving traffic to your site, and check that those key landing pages are written properly. If you’re driving visitors to a redundant or poor page then your website is severely letting you down…

Check Your Website Speed

There are several reasons why the speed of your website is so important. Tools such as GTMetrix and Google Pagespeed will give you a detailed breakdown of how fast (or slow!) your website really is.

The time that it takes for your website to load will have a big impact on the experience of your users. Slow websites are frustrating to use, and most of us don’t stick around if things are taking too long. This is particularly true for mobile users who are reliance on 3G/4G and don’t want to waste their precious data allowance on loading your bloated website.

Website speed is also a key player in your SEO performance. Search engines reward fast websites with higher rankings in the results pages because they know that faster websites are more likely to give people what they’re looking for. Two websites might be very similar, but the fact that one is better optimised is likely to result in higher traffic.

Speed Up Your Website!

Once you’ve identified which pages are slowing down your website, the next step is to speed it up! This tends to involve a combination of image optimisation, structural changes, updating creaking plugins and other development tweaks. If you’ve found a slow page then a web developer should be able to make reasonable improvements to website speed in a relatively short time-frame.

If your website is really, really slow then this might also be an indicator that it’s time to think about investing in a new website altogether.

Fix any Broken Links

A broken link exists where your website links to a page which no longer exists. There are various reasons why this might happen. The link may have been to a blog, page, social media account or even website which has subsequently been deleted. Broken links are very frustrating for users and have a negative impact on your SEO results.

Checking that your links are working properly – either manually or with a crawling tool – will make sure that users and search engines alike get what they’re looking for from your website.

Delete Redundant Website Content

An aspect of website maintenance that is often overlooked – but nevertheless a key part of our definitive website maintenance checklist – is deleting redundant website content.

Most of us are adept at creating new content. A well-developed website will make it easy for users to add new pages as you add new products and services. However, we often feel inclined to keep old content – even when it’s become completely redundant.

Deleting old content will help to keep your website nicely streamlined; this will in turn improve speed and user experience.

Check Your SEO Performance

This is such an important part of website maintenance that we’ve dedicated a whole page of our website to describing it. Reporting on your SEO results – including traffic, keyword rankings, social media performance, page optimisation and various other metrics – will help you to keep improving your website and moving up the search engine results pages.

Whilst you can certainly do this yourself, many organisations choose to outsource this area of your website maintenance. Several of our clients commission us to provide monthly reports as part of our Search and Social Marketing package. In a nutshell, we deliver bespoke reports which show how the website has performed and progressed over the previous month.

Create New Content

We’ve already talked about deleting content; you also need to create new content. This can take the form of new pages (where you’ve expanded or changed the focus of your organisation) in addition to regular blogs and rewriting old content.

Users love new content. Search engines love new content. It’s therefore imperative that you try and keep your website as dynamic and fresh as possible.

Check All Dates and Prices

If your website involves dates and/or prices then it’s imperative that these are accurate. There are few things more embarrassing than having to let a prospective customer know that the information they have received from your website is inaccurate.

Install the Latest Plugins and Activate Updates

It’s good practice to have the latest versions of all plugins and apps within your website. However, it’s important that you do this carefully – sometimes installing a new version will upset functionality somewhere else in your website. It’s wise to ensure that you install the latest plugins and activate updates in collaboration with your web developer who will be able to advise you about any potential issues.

This will keep your website fast and ensure that your website is compatible with your users’ latest browsers.

Read Every Page of Your Website

Okay, maybe not every page. Still, you should be reading through the key pages of your website to check that you’re happy with what your users are seeing. You can identify your key pages by looking at the landing pages that are receiving the most traffic and the ‘first layer’ of pages that are accessible from your homepage.

There are several good questions to ask yourself. Is your content still relevant, true and helpful? Is there anything that you’ve missed? Would a visitor who lands on that page receive a true and persuasive account of what your organisation has to offer at this moment in time?

Ensure that Your Website is Backed Up

Finally, is your website securely backed up? In the unfortunate event that something goes wrong with your website, do you have a recent, functioning backup that can be restored? If not, all your hard work maintaining your website is in danger of being completely lost…

We hope that you’ve appreciated our definitive website maintenance checklist. If you have, why not share it with a friend or colleague? If you’ve got any questions about anything we’ve said then please do get in touch or leave a comment below…

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