The greatest misconception about website building is that once it’s published you can leave a page alone. Not so! Websites require regular maintenance if you want them to stay relevant and keep working.
Allen Moon of Entrepreneur.com used a metaphor that I can’t quite shake. He likens website maintenance to taking your car in for an oil change.
“A malfunction on your website can be just as damaging to your business as a brake failure would be to your car.”
Not everybody knows how to change their oil, but we all know we have to do it to save time and money in the long run. Here’s why.
Every Club Needs A Bouncer
Checking the security of your website is crucial in the ongoing battle against hackers and malware. A lot of websites are run on the same content management systems (CMS), like WordPress or Squarespace. These systems get updated often to ward off cyber attacks, but updates may not install automatically. Making sure your website’s security is up-to-date is the easiest way to avoid your data getting stolen or your website getting breached. Potentially being hacked is the reality of running a website, but don’t make the mistake of updating your security after it’s too late, or you’ll find yourself in a costly recovery scenario.
Plugins = Power-ups
A plugin is essentially an add-on piece of software that gives your website extra functionality. Plugins can help protect you from security issues, flag keywords for SEO purposes, and even check the comments on your site for spam. Each website has different needs, therefore sites may need different plugins. Web consultants will be able to tell you which plugins to install. If they are selected properly, they function like power-ups in Nintendo games; they’ll make your site stronger, faster, and cool theme music will play (not really, but how cool would that be?).
Plugins need to be updated the same way that your site’s security does. Make sure you’re regularly checking that your site has the right plugins and that you’re running the current versions of them. If you’re not, you’re missing out on lot of functionality (and the star song from Mario definitely won’t play.)
Fresh Content = Better SEO Ranking
Some companies have whole departments dedicated to content production. Part of a good SEO strategy is keeping your website fresh with new content. It shows Google and other search engines that you’re engaged and attempting to say something new to the world. It also tells the SEO bots crawling your site that you haven’t abandoned your page.
Checking on your existing content is important too. Make sure to update your portfolios, contact information, and check for dead links. If your site is alive and thriving, you’ll come up first in searches. You’d not only be edging out your competition, but bringing in more business.
(Pro Tip: Original content also doubles as great material for social media posting and helps to establish brand identity.)
Hiring A “Mechanic”
The worst thing you could do is attempt to do all of this yourself and then procrastinate. But fear not. The same way that Moon describes getting his website’s oil changed, there are “mechanics” out there for your website. They’re called digital consultants and they know what to look for “under the hood.” The more optimized a site is, the more conversions, pageviews, and shares you’ll get. After all, it doesn’t matter who is maintaining your website, it only matters that it’s getting done.