First impressions matter. It takes about 50 milliseconds for a user to form an opinion about your website, which can make them stick around or go elsewhere. And with more than 80 percent of consumers researching businesses online before making a purchase, your website is more important than ever.
To ensure your website is performing and functioning, you needto complete monthly website maintenance.
Just like any tool you’ve invested in for your business, websites require maintenance to work properly. Maintained websites are healthier, more secure, and most of all, best for the user experience.
Let’s go over the five main reasons why website maintenance is a must for your business.
5 Reasons Why You Really Need Website Maintenance
The best website maintenance duties can vary from business to business. Your company might thrive on one plugin, while a competitor may opt for something different.
No matter what, though, every company should set aside time to make sure their site is up to par. What are the benefits of website maintenance?
Here are just a few:
Did you know that, on average, hackers attack websites every 39 seconds? Yes, that’s right Hackers continually try to break into websites to steal user data.
By maintaining the latest software update for your content management system (CMS), such as WordPress or Wix, you’re keeping up with the software patches and security updates. Without those, you’re leaving your website vulnerable.
A contact form is a line of communication. The information your business receives from users via this form is crucial. Whether it’s a blog subscription or a product inquiry, contact forms are the only way for consumers to interact with you on your website, and you need to maintain them.
Contact forms can easily be flooded with false form submissions from bots. Often, these forms contain false email addresses and malicious links. By using tools like Google’s reCAPTCHA or Akismet (an anti-spam plugin), you’re adding the necessary safeguards.
Although these tools are advanced and recommended for your site’s safety, they still require maintenance. If you aren’t testing your forms regularly in your website maintenance process, you could miss that your reCAPTCHA isn’t loading, making it so that users can’t submit forms. Perhaps, there was a patch with Akismet that you didn’t update, so your inbox is full of bot submissions.
There are pros and cons to activating your blog’s comment section. If your business has decided to keep the comments on, part of your regular maintenance routine should be cleaning out any spam comments.
Similar to contact forms, there are anti-spam tools you can use and maintain, but unlike the contact forms, malicious comments are public facing. Leaving spam comments up on your website makes it seem outdated and tells people you’re not reading the comments.
Beyond the added security of having the latest versions of themes and plugins, keeping these tools up to date helps your website function properly. Often WordPress sites rely on multiple plugins, and an outdated plugin could conflict with other plugins, causing functionality errors on your site.
For example: if you use a search bar plugin, missing your website maintenance for a few months could cause the plugin to become outdated or the license key to expire. A user could come to your website and search for something, and the plugin won’t produce the correct results. That could leave the user to believe that you don’t have what they are looking for, and you’d lose a potential customer.
Okay, okay. The search plugin example might not apply to your website, but a universal need for every website is visual appeal.
Let’s say you haven’t done website maintenance in a while, and you’re a few versions behind in your website theme. Not a problem. Just click the updated version, and you’re done with maintenance. Right?
Outdated themes can conflict with updated plugins and vice versa. These software conflicts often create visible errors. Logos can become 20 times larger, taking up your main menu. Buttons may lose any hover effects, leaving users to believe they don’t link anywhere, which can result in mobile optimization errors.
If you make website maintenance a priority, you won’t have to clean up any conflicting software update messes. Consistency is the key to a beautifully functioning website.
#3: Broken Links
This is 2021. People expect results fast. On average, website pages take between two to five seconds to load. If it’s any longer, users think something is wrong with the site and search elsewhere. The same theory applies if you have broken links (404 errors).
If a user is searching for something and finds a broken link, that’s a huge turn-off. They expected quick results, and you’ve made their experience difficult. It only takes them one Google search to find a competitor who can give them the answer they are looking for. Don’t lose that potential conversion to a broken link.
What are the reasons for 404 errors?
You’re staying on top of your SEO form by using external links to boost your rankings, but unfortunately, an externally linked page no longer exists. Even though you haven’t made any changes to your website, you can still have a 404 error from something out of your control.
You’re clearing out your media library of old photos and PDFs. Although you are taking the initiative to keep your media library clean and tidy, anywhere those old photos and PDFs exist on your site is now a 404 error.
Last but certainly not least, changing page titles can create this error. Say you’ve decided your web page “About Us” should be “Meet the Team.” Besides changing the page title, you need to change every occurrence of the slug, or create a redirect. Otherwise every location on your website where you have a link to your “About Us” page becomes a 404 error.
By executing a 404 error check with tools like Atomseo or BrokenLinkCheck.com in your website maintenance routine, you’re investing in the user experience.
Your website speed not only affects the user experience (similar to 404 errors), but it also impacts how well it ranks with online search engines. A search engine’s goal is to provide the best possible search result. By that standard, the faster the website is, the higher it tends to rank on Google.
With BrandCraft’s maintenance plans, you receive daily server backups. These are important because if your site is ever compromised, there are always backups, eliminating the stress of having to rebuild your site from scratch.
High-Functioning Tool Finally, performing consistent website maintenance gives you peace of mind. A website isn’t something you invest in once, launch, and never look back on. It’s an ever-evolving tool for your business.
By maintaining your website, you know that your visitors’ data is safe, your visuals are error free, and your website is ranking higher than those who don’t perform website maintenance.
Investing an hour or two to do maintenance might seem like a lot, but this is a long-term investment. That time will be rewarded with a well-oiled machine vs. a forgotten, error filled, outdated, and underperforming website.
Now that you know you need to perform website maintenance, here’s a checklist of tasks that you should complete regularly.
Website Maintenance Checklist:
Back up the website.
Update your WordPress core, theme, and plugins.
Test the page load speed.
Search for 404 errors, and redirect pages if needed.
Test each form on your website.
Remove any spam comments on blogs.
Check that the analytics are tracked.
Review any meta descriptions and keywords.
Review the website mobile version after all updates.
Having a functioning and high-performance website is vital to your entire marketing strategy.
Are you looking to remove one more thing from your to-do list by getting experts in charge of your website maintenance? Contact us today to get started.