Your website is your online salesperson, showcasing your products, and inviting customers to engage with your brand. Leaving your website idle is like letting dust and spiderwebs gather in your shop window. Customers will notice that you’ve neglected your site because it runs slowly, products aren’t listed correctly, and links are broken. It’s not an enticing look.
Your website’s a vital part of your business you cannot afford to neglect. Below are five website maintenance mistakes you can’t afford to make, and how to avoid them.
Mistake 1: Doing nothing
We’ve said it above, but it bears repeating: a stale website will not convert leads to sales. Maybe you like your website the way it is and see no reason to change it. Or perhaps you don’t believe investing in website maintenance offers a strong return on investment. The problem is that allowing your website to sit idle will see it sink to the bottom of the search engine results.
Search algorithms love a regularly-updated site. They find and promote websites that contain up-to-date information. So when you add new pages to your site, you give search algorithms more pages to index, which gives you a better shot at a top search ranking.
To keep pages fresh, you have to add high-quality content to your site, fix broken links, and remove redundant pages. Experts recommend updating your site with new pages at least once a month.
Mistake 2: Relying on hosting companies for backup
Remember all those hours you spent building your website? Not to mention the sales information stored there? Without regular backups, that content and information could be lost to the ether.
Even if your hosting company will back up your website, their services might not work for you. Hosting companies may not backup as often as you’d like, and they may not store your data for as long as you need. Let’s say they backup daily but erase the previous day’s data: that means you only ever have one day’s worth of site data available, so if you need to roll back your website to four days ago, you won’t have the data to do it.
If your website goes down, you’ll want to know that someone is working on restoring it immediately. But if you’re relying on your hosting company to backup your site, you could be waiting days before you receive a response from them. You’re never really sure who, if anyone, is working on fixing your site, and you’ll be left in the dark on how long it will take.
You should also consider where your backup data is stored. You need a solution that stores your data on a different server than the one that hosts your website, so if a disaster takes down your website’s server, the backup data doesn’t go down with it.
To back up your website information, download it regularly and store it in at least two, but preferably three, external storage solutions. This could be cloud storage or an external hard drive. Backing up routinely may be a pain, but it is essential.
Mistake 3: Not having a disaster recovery plan
Tied closely to failing to back up your website’s data is failing to plan for a site crash. Even if you have backed up your site content, you also need to know how to get it back up and running quickly.
Disaster recovery plans are highly technical. They require meticulous planning, working through every aspect of the recovery. Your plan should list:
- The things that could go wrong with the site
- An inventory of your site’s content
- Where the backups are stored
- Who is responsible for reinstating the site
- Who is responsible for dealing with customers affected by the site outage
- The steps required to rebuild
If your site is down for days, you are losing customers. Rebuilding a website from scratch could take weeks, if not months, but a professional using a disaster recovery plan can revive your website faster.
Mistake 4: Trying to do everything yourself
As a business owner, you’re probably an avid subscriber to the do-it-yourself mentality. But you’re busy, and chances are you’re not an expert in website maintenance, so the hours you spend trying to keep your site updated may not be incredibly productive ones.
Every task associated with website maintenance eats away at the time you need to run your business. Even simple tasks like managing website updates require user-testing your site afterwards to ensure it’s still functioning.
Plus, your website probably comes with a slew of analytics tools that could inform your online strategy – if only you knew how to use them. Taking care of a website is a whole other job – most likely one that you don’t have time for.
Mistake 5: Failing to think like a customer
You know your website, and you’re familiar with how it works. But your customers only visit your site periodically. Returning customers want to make a purchase as quickly and painlessly as possible. New customers want to learn about your company quickly and painlessly, too. If you’re not checking your website regularly, it could be riddled with broken links, slow load times, and the dreaded “404 Not Found” message.
On top of the other maintenance tasks listed above, you’ll need to quality-check your site for the following issues a customer may encounter:
- Check that newly added products load quickly and correctly
- Check that the steps for completing a purchase run smoothly
- Add blog posts on a regular basis to improve search results
- Read old site content to ensure it still reflects your brand and doesn’t contradict newer material
- Check meta tags and descriptions to ensure they are consistent with brand messaging
- Reread all calls-to-action and click their buttons to make sure they are easy to follow
You should ideally run these checks once per month, and more often if you are adding new products or blog posts several times per month. Performing regular checks can feel like a burden, but if customers can’t use your website easily, they won’t stick around for long.
Mistake 6: Lacking website building expertise
Building and maintaining websites requires expertise. There’s a lot going on in the back-end of your website, with plenty of buttons you definitely do not want to click. You could lose entire pages or products as well as precious sales information. You may not have a backup of your site content, and you may not know how to reinstate the data even if you can find it again.
Acknowledging that you may not have the expertise to maintain a website is a wise disaster-avoiding strategy. Letting professionals maintain your site allows you to focus on what you do best: running your business.
Design Box Media cares for your business and your website
You can view our Website Care Plans at https://designbox.co.uk/website-care-plans/, but we’d love to talk to you about your website maintenance needs. Call us at 01702 416 431 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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