What are your top business goals? Grow revenues? Build brand recognition? Boost conversions? Reduce expenses? A well maintained website will help achieve these. Add a line item to your business plan saying, “Maintain the website on a regular basis,” to keep your business performing at its best and reach your goals.
What does website maintenance include?
A brand new website runs seamlessly. Over time, you edit content or add plugin software features. Your content management system (CMS) publishes updates, finds problems and issues fixes. Meanwhile, hackers may target your site. And your site needs to be backed up to allow quick recovery in case of disaster. So, while it appears fine, your site faces threats from many sources. Maintaining it is critical. A well run website can be a big contributor to achieving your business plan goals. Key maintenance activities and their benefits include:
Updates And Fixes To Enrich User Experience And Deter Hackers
Updates and fixes can occur weekly or more often. If your site seems to be working fine, you might delay applying them. But delaying them can be costly in terms of security, speed and downtime, all of which prevent you from meeting your business goals. Typical updates address:
- Security: Hackers target vulnerable sites who aren’t up to date. Hacking causes severe revenue loss. Users will be leery of a site if they feel it isn’t safe, meaning loss of potential revenue. And the time and effort needed to recover from a hack is expensive and takes time away from other activities.
- Speed: Many updates improve page load times. Studies show 40 – 53% of users will leave a site if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds. WordPress says, “ a 1% loss in load time can mean a 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.”
- Fixes: As other businesses report problems, CMS developers issue fixes. Applying them promptly is the “ounce of prevention” that can save you costly downtime.
How you apply the updates can also affect your goals. Applying them manually requires resources, time, and can be cumbersome. If your CMS automatically applies updates, you’ll save time and resources. However, CMS updates may not work well with other plugins you’ve added, resulting in errors. Revenues and brand reputation will suffer if your site doesn’t function properly. To avoid problems, many small business owners rely on their website designer to manage software updates. Read our blog on patches and updates for more details.
Delaying fixes or updates can put you at a competitive disadvantage. New features keep your site current and project a thriving business.
But simply applying updates and fixes isn’t the whole story. As you edit the website, adding or changing content, its performance can suffer. That’s why it’s important to monitor your site.
How do you monitor your site to stay aware of its performance? It takes daily monitoring to detect slowdowns or breakages. You can check it manually or use a plug-in tool to monitor it. A poorly performing website ranks poorly in SEO, making it harder for potential customers to find you. You can look to Google analytics to keep track of its performance. It takes time and resources to monitor a website. Your website developer can monitor it for you, freeing up your time to focus on running your business.
Website failures are expensive. And it isn’t just loss of revenue. According to the security firm Ponemon, the largest share of downtime cost is business disruption—a category that includes reputational damage and customer churn. Even after the website is back up and running, customers may not return to it. A disaster recovery plan and website backup plan will minimize the risk.
All good web hosts include backup for your website, but what if something happens to your web host? Backup plugins give you increased security by having multiple copies. Store the backup on a cloud environment or your own storage. Your ecommerce software needs a separate backup. Many are available, or your web designer can provide the service. Read our blog about the free WordPress backup plan for your website software, and our blog on Zen cart backup plan for reasons to back up your ecommerce software.
A disaster recovery plan is essential for every website. For more on this, read our blog about website disaster planning.
Whether you devote the resources to keeping your website maintained yourself or rely on a professional website developer, maintaining your business website will help you grow your business.
For help with your small business website, contact us. We design and update websites that run flawlessly.
* image used under license from Pixabay