Why Website Maintenance Is Necessary After Development
Now that your business is up and running in the digital world, it does not mean that the work is done. Websites need constant maintenance, especially when talking about custom web development. Maintenance service is definitely a must to keep your website up-to-date and secure. When you ignore your website after development, at some point, the code and the software will become outdated. This will affect the site’s loading time, will cause broken links, and will generate outdated content. The user experience will become sloppy and unpleasant.
In this article, we are going to explore the benefits of a maintenance plan, why is maintenance important, and we will help you in making the right decision for your online business.
What Is Website Maintenance?
Website maintenance is the action of frequently checking your website for issues and errors, in order to keep it relevant and updated. For a healthy, well-functioning website, we recommend you to perform this action constantly. By doing so, your website is healthy, helps traffic growth, reinforces your SEO (search engine optimization), and is on top of search rankings.
No matter the size of the company, having a well maintained and attractive website is important to provide a positive user experience, engage and retain users, and finally convert them into buyers.
We strongly recommend a regular check-up to monitor the health of your website and to keep your business running effortlessly.
Why Is Website Maintenance Important?
Plenty of online business owners disregard the importance of a website maintenance routine. In time, they will lose valuable clients. Well-performing websites need routine maintenance to make sure that all components such as links, contact forms, images, inquiries, payment mechanisms, additional plugins, etc. are running safely and efficiently. A great first step is creating eye candy, user-friendly, responsive website to enter the highly competitive market, but the next essential step is to ensure regular maintenance to keep your business growing.
Let’s explore together the most important reasons for website maintenance:
Security is one of the biggest reasons why any business owner should opt for maintenance. From small to large scale business, maintenance is crucial for keeping your site secure. If you are using a CMS (content management system) like WordPress, you probably know that this is the most targeted platform when it comes to hacking, as they accounted for 90% of all hacked websites in 2018. This doesn’t mean that custom CMS platforms are safe from harm, but an open-source CMS is more accessible. Hackers usually get in by exploiting the weaknesses in the outdated software and security patches. Old sites are an easier target. Preventing security breaches before they happen is essential. Plugins are the vulnerable point of your website. Having too many or out of date plugins might cause issues, that is why we strongly advise you to make sure that latest bug fixes and security patches are properly installed on your site.
For these reasons we highly suggest to have strong security measures in place, always keep your website up to date with the latest security updates, avoid running on expired security certificates, always update plugins, run health and security check-ups on a regular basis.
SEO is the cornerstone of a great performing website. Google and other search engines repay websites that are always up to date, publish new, relevant content, and offer a seamless user experience. By maintaining your website, you will improve SEO rankings, boost online traffic, and increase conversion rate. We recommend you to pay attention to six key components of your SEO strategy: targeted keywords in your industry used on your site, dynamic content, mobile responsiveness, page speed, social media engagement, and link building (high-quality external websites that link to yours).
Bottom line is that a well-maintained website will always create a good first impression. We highly recommend installing Google Analytics tool, monitoring your traffic and user behaviour, to identify your top performance pages and pages with high bounce rates. Users leaving certain pages faster than others can be a sign of performance issues, but here stands your opportunity to improve them.
3. User Experience
Users love fast and snappy websites and they want a positive experience. No one likes to visit a website and find missing pages, broken links, huge loading times, and no useful information. When a website lacks maintenance, their theme and template files may not display accurately on mobile devices and new versions of web browsers. Dynamic content is another element that users enjoy. Not only will it improve your SEO, but will show people that your business is keeping up with online trends. 84% of people expect brands to create content. Content has the purpose of educating and charming users. In the end, they will convert into buyers. Regular website maintenance will ensure that your website has installed the most current version of the theme and template files, and everything works properly.
Another important aspect that should be on your to-do list is to make sure that all the links and contact forms work correctly. The same applies to contact information, phone numbers, pricing lists, etc.
We recommend you to keep all your data and information consistent across every online platform that your business is using, and in case you have physical stores, make sure they perfectly align with the information people see on your website. This approach will guarantee a great user experience both online and offline.
4. Customer Loyalty
Content maintenance will keep your website relevant to existing and potential customers. Happy customers will be excited by your products and services and will happily come back for more. By having good routine website maintenance, you are giving your customers reasons to take actions that in the end, will lead to achieving your business objectives. A way to boost organic traffic is to include a blog in your digital marketing and engagement strategy. We recommend you create fresh content in every blog post and think of a posting schedule on a monthly basis. By doing this, you will let your customers know that you care about them and value their engagement.
5. Backup Files
One of the primary actions of a website maintenance team is to backup all the files. This can be done in two ways: manual backup or automatic backup. If you are not backing up your files, malware attacks might happen. Imagine having to rebuild your website all over again because you missed this step. For simple, informational websites we recommend a monthly backup. However, if you own a more complex website with dynamic content and images that are changing constantly such as an eCommerce website, then you might consider backing it up more frequently.
What Is a Maintenance Plan and How to Create One?
A maintenance plan is exactly what it sounds like: a plan for ongoing website maintenance and support. It usually requires more in-depth knowledge and we recommend you to go to a maintenance company for this action, if you don’t have a person in your team that can take care of this. Maybe spending money on such a plan may seem like useless spendings, but in fact, this maintenance costs could save you a lot of money in the future. Issues that are unnoticed or ignored can result in a broken website or worse, a deleted website. That will cause a loss of revenue, time, and you will spend more money on website repairs.
A maintenance schedule is a great idea that will save you from future trouble. If you are decided on investing in a plan and you are researching a maintenance company, it is important to pay close attention to what is included and what you might need to add. A custom plan is made based on your highest needs and can include as many or as few services as you want.
We created a list with the most common website maintenance plan elements:
- Routine maintenance for website and server – this includes ongoing or monthly security updates, installation of software updates, optimizations for improved performance, and web speed.
- Ongoing improvements – this part involves not only technical updates, it can also include content optimization, SEO, and website accessibility.
- Emergencies – any time something goes wrong such as a downed server or a hack, you will need a fast action team that is familiar with your website, functionalities and it will be able to solve the technical issues quickly.
- Site coding – one little mistake can break your entire website such as a missed bracket or an accidental space. A maintenance program may include code fixes for errors and improvements that will help with responsiveness.
- Monitoring and reporting – a good way to make your website investment count is monitoring its performance. Having a person to gather all the data, interpret the collected information, and guide you for future changes and optimizations is a great way to enhance your site’s performance and online presence.
How To Choose Your Website Maintenance Partner?
We agree that maintenance is very important after the development process for a variety of reasons. The most important ones we discussed in the previous sections of this article. If your team is not up to a maintenance process, then, choosing a partner might be difficult. Based on your needs and budget, we recommend you to create a maintenance checklist and start researching your options. Some web maintenance companies also offer a hosting service. It is not an easy job to find a perfect fit, but we will provide some tips that will help you make the right decision.
When you think about the payment structure and maintenance costs you must know that there are two ways of doing so:
- Pay-as-you-go – this is more transactional and you pay only for the hours worked on your website. The downside of this method is that you may experience longer wait times to get the issues fixed, as retainer hours have priority.
- Retainer hours – this is a partnership where you agree on the number of hours worked on your website maintenance on a monthly basis. You will pay upfront and the maintenance team will be available anytime you need it. Make sure that unused hours will roll over into the next month. A retainer contract is usually added onto a web development project to bring your site at its full potential.
Now it’s time to create a checklist of maintenance tasks. It is essential to find a professional website maintenance team that can provide all the services you need. If you are looking for a full-service maintenance agency, we can help you. Just contact us and let’s talk about your custom website maintenance plan.
Below are the features that we recommend to look for when choosing your maintenance team. Make sure they include in your plan all or most of the following services:
- Identify broken links;
- Identify 404 errors;
- Include regular update of your plugins and software;
- Test the load speed of your website;
- Provide content creation for your blog;
- Provide website security analysis;
- Analyze your website performance;
- Optimize design, graphics, and photos;
- Offer mobile optimization solutions;
- Help with domain renewal;
- Offer/help with website hosting.
Once you have decided on the services you will need from the maintenance company, the next step is to set a budget. Ongoing maintenance costs differ from company to company. Besides, some factors such as company size, website complexity, and features, play an important role in setting a maintenance budget.
The following step is to research companies who offer everything that you need within your price range. We suggest taking a look at customer reviews, searching for positive client testimonials, and the company’s website. You can also look at social media to see the company’s reputation. Check how the company responds to good or bad feedback to measure the level of their customer service.
The final step is to choose a company with the right experience and with a great team of experts. This means that they will be able to develop a custom and clear web maintenance plan for your business. The plan must include your needs, available resources, and budget. Remember that this plan will be an ongoing plan instead of a monthly or periodic basis plan. Communication between you and the maintenance agency is the key to get the best outcome.
We are a web app development agency with strong expertise on custom development. Therefore, we understand the importance of maintenance packages that perfectly fit your business. We have a great development team with experience on the back end, front end, UX/UI, and digital marketing, that provide top-notch services, no matter the industry or company size.
We are always hands-on deck when it comes to our partners. With the right plan and the right team, your online presence will always have a competitive advantage. We are dedicated to helping you even if you just launched your site or you’ve had one for some time now. Check out our customer success stories, reach out to us, and let’s make together a perfectly tailored plan that better supports your business.