Let’s face it: everything needs maintenance, and you haven’t touched your website since you changed the copyright notice last year. Sure, you give your car gas, oil changes, insurance, new tires…and maybe a new roof rack or fancy headlights. But enough about you. My goal is to make sure you maintain your website. Here’s why.
But first, it’s a new year. I love the idea of a new beginning, a chance to start anew doing the things we should be doing, but never do. But no more resolutions, please. Why not? Because they fail. And why do they fail? Let’s take a look at the top resolutions in the US:
- drink less
- eat healthier
- get a better (education/home/job/body)
- Reduce debt/weight/stress
Notice a trend? Here’s a hint: there is no measure of success, and no clear goals. It’s all a general idea: a little less of this, a little more of that. Do you know how ‘healthy” you eat now? and if not, how can you measure how much “healthier” you will eat? Two less Big Macs a month? Or a week?
But I’m not here to talk about your health. I want to talk about your website goals for 2012.
Here’s a goal you can reach: a maintenance plan for your website. Why? Because without website maintenance, you’re playing Russian roulette with your website. And because it’s cheaper than a personal trainer. Of course, we can help: think of us as the personal trainer for your website.
4 critical website layers
These are the elements of your website you must keep on top of.
1. Content Delivery: network and server maintenance
If your website is hosted on a hosting server, there’s not much you can do about the network, except ask. But you should ask about the upgrade plans for your server: how often is the operating system, database server, web server, etc upgraded? Are you notified when updates happen? A lot of hosting providers won’t update their servers since these updates may break sites running on those servers.
2. Content Management System maintenance
This includes upgrades and routine maintenance of your CMS, such as Drupal and WordPress, and its database. If you don’t have the latest version, chances are good there is a known security issue with your website—an issue hackers can exploit.
The sad thing is that, even with a maintenance plan, you’re often on your own on this one. We are among the few to provide CMS updates as part of our maintenance plan, and we can do this because we only provide hosting and maintenance to our development clients.
3. Content strategy and curation
Content is king. It’s why people visit your website. Do you provide them with good content? Is your content updated, relevant, and helpful? Are images clear and explanatory or do they just serve as filler?
The most common complaint we see with older websites is that they no longer look “good”. The theme and design are still the same. The only thing that changed is content.
4. Content findability and web analytics
What good is content when your users can’t find it? If it’s not worth finding, it’s not worth writing. Your content, social media campaigns, email campaigns, and PR all work together to make sure your content reaches its intended audience. A good website maintenance plan will include regular reviews of your website and campaign metrics, to see what works, and what needs improvement.
If you don’t have the time or know-how to implement these yourself, we can help! Our website maintenance plans may be cheaper than Weight Watchers!