As the saying goes, you have to “love your home”. In other words, homeowners must maintain their property to ensure it will retain its value over time. There is a mandatory and yearly checklist which often starts with a “spring clean”.
As the seasons change from spring to winter, basic home maintenance will more than likely involve the proverbial “lick of paint” on interior and exterior walls. The same goes with fixing leaky taps. Clearing drains and gutters. Servicing the boiler or the water softener. Cleaning the chimney. Trimming the hedges. Clearing dead shrubs and plants in the garden. Bleeding the radiators. Descaling appliances and shower heads. Scrubbing the patio. Checking the alarm system etc.
As highlighted in previous articles, there is a very clear analogy between a home and a website. Visiting a “domain” name is akin to entering every room in a house, starting with the “Home” page. As much as home owners must “love their home”, website owners must “love their website” and maintain it on a regular basis.
A website that isn’t maintained will immediately show signs of neglect and give a poor impression to first-time visitors. It might display an old-fashioned template or broken links. Or it will simply list out-of-date information such as lapsed upcoming events, old news or a three year old copyright date in the website footer.
A basic annual website maintenance checklist should include the following:
Weekly and critical maintenance
- Ensure the website domain name and hosting package are renewed in time to avoid running the risk of losing your business name or visibility on search engine result pages.
- Keep on top of security updates. Software, platform versions and plugin functionality are constantly being updated with new patches and bug fixes.
- Back up your website and run malware scans.
Monthly and general upkeep
- Test all contact, registration or pop-up forms.
- Test all the buttons to ensure they are leading visitors to the correct pages.
- In the case of e-commerce websites, go through the entire purchasing process of a random item to verify all forms and payment methods are working.
- Test all outgoing links, embeds or pictures and delete or update them if necessary.
- Always optimise your website for speed.
- Review the look and feel of your website every year. The web is constantly evolving and changing. Your website should too. This might take the form of small incremental changes on an annual basis or a complete overhaul every two to three years.
- Every now and then, ask friends or people not usually associated with your business to browse your website. Their feedback will give you a valuable insight into how your website looks to the random visitor and what areas need improvement.
A well-maintained website displaying up to date information about your business – especially if it includes a blog – will be more secure from hacking threats, rank well on search engines and ensure that you are found by potential customers.