Website Maintenance: 5 Things to Watch
- December 13, 2016
- web maintenance
Congratulations! You’ve just launched a brand new website with all the bells and whistles, the latest features, great tools, and a fantastic content management system. It’s got a great design, works great, and your initial pilot testing with some select customers was a smashing success! You’ve “built it” and now, customers and audiences will see the great effort.
So ….. what’s next? If you’re like many small business owners, you’re ready to move onto the next project that demands your attention. But what happens to your new website now?
Chances are good that your website needs some consistent attention in the coming weeks. Here are a few things you can do to help make sure your site continues to work as well as possible to support your business. Just like a car, a little maintenance on your site will ensure longevity!
1.) Know your Framework
Perhaps your new website was built on a popular framework (such as WordPress or Magento). These are great tools, but they come with some risk. Since these frameworks are regularly updated and improved, it’s important to keep up with the changes. This includes not only the base framework, but also themes and plugins that are part of the site too. Pay special attention to inactive plugins or themes that might be severely outdated. These should probably be removed completely to help protect your site.
2.) Check your Speed
Websites need to load quickly. When they are slow and fail to load, it could be a sign of larger problems. Testing your site on third-party testing sites like Pingdom and Google Speed helps to measure performance. It’s likely that you’ll see some variation from time to time, but the point is to know how well the site loads generally. If you start to see a trend or regular slowdowns, it could indicate deeper problems.
3.) Communicate with your Hosting Company
Often times there is a need to discuss a problem with the company who owns and operates the server your website is hosted on. How is your relationship with them? Do you have any communication with them at all? Is there an online management tool that enables you to access and manage the site hosting? We’ve seen websites crash and fail because they were on a poorly-managed shared web hosting platform. Choosing the right host is important; talking with them and working together is equally important.
4.) Test Online Forms
You likely have online forms setup for contact, registrations, email newsletter subscriptions, or checkout procedures. We recommend testing those forms regularly to ensure that they function correctly. There’s nothing more frustrating than discovering that forms failed and you missed calls, opportunities or sales. Testing these forms often could be the difference between success and failure for your new site.
Make sure your forms are being delivered to the proper email address. Did Sandy just retire from the accounting department? Maybe Tom from sales is on a well-deserved vacation? Whomever should be answering these messages might be out for a brief time, but the inbound activity still needs to be managed well!
5.) Follow your Statistics
Watching your statistics through Google Analytics is among the most basic of tasks you can do. Tracking page views, sessions, bounce rates, and time online is one thing, but leveraging the visitor’s journey through your website is even more powerful. Understanding where users drop off on pages, which pages aren’t converting, and how customers leave sales flow gives insight to where pages should be corrected or changed.
So — if you’re checking all these items and you find a problem, what should you do first? The answer depends on the severity of the problem.
If you’re seeing a failure that halts the site, causes a crash, or results in a broken form or function, contact us for assistance! We can often find and solve the problem quickly and easily – saving you the frustration of trying to resolve it.
Maybe the error is not critical. Perhaps the issue seems to just be a nagging problem. You can check the framework and potential updates that might be needed. If you’re unsure how to apply these, we can help. Your web developer should be able to assist you to fix an issue if you can reach out to them.
The bottom line — don’t ignore the problem. If there’s something wrong or different, it’s important to watch over it and see if there’s a larger issue going on.
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