The following post is a guest contribution by Sam Lawrence with WP Full Care, the author’s views may not be the same as our own.
When you’re running a business, many smaller expenses can quickly pile up and lead to a badly mismanaged budget. That’s why we understand all of the small business owners who pose the question — why is website maintenance important? How much does it truly affect your business? Should you put money, time, and energy into proper care for your website?
The answer is yes — and we’ll explain all of the myriad reasons why below.
If you’re not tech-savvy, you might think that setting up a website for your business is the same as filming a commercial or putting up a billboard; you start the process, go through it, and eventually, it’s complete.
However, when it comes to website maintenance, we’d be more comfortable comparing your business website to a customer-facing office than an advertisement. Sure, a website contains all of the basic information regarding your business, but it’s also an interactive experience, with plenty of moving parts. That’s why you want to ensure your site is working correctly and smoothly for the utmost customer experience.
Almost all websites today, even the most basic ones, represent a complex interlocking mechanism of different software elements. And if you want everything working properly, you’ll have to do your best to update all of these regularly.
As we’ve said, a website is virtually never a finished product. And that’s not just in terms of technical maintenance — you need to curate and update the content found on your website as well. Indeed, fresh content is one of the most important aspects of marketing in today’s online world. Your website visitors will want to see new information and relevant content if they’re going to come back.
Apart from new content, you also need to make sure that there’s no outdated information on your company’s website; people hate seeing information on events that have already come and gone months before. Such missteps immediately detract from the user experience and the level of professionalism that your business emanates.
Search Engine Optimization
If you want to ensure success, you will have to implement a variety of digital marketing tactics. Among these, search engine optimization represents one of the most important ones. That is the process of optimizing your website, so users that search for related keywords find it before they find any of your competitors.
While SEO focuses on website content quite a lot, the search engine algorithms that determine your ranking use other factors. For instance, search engine giants like Google give preferential treatment to sites with proper website maintenance; those that don’t contain errors and provide a swift user experience.
Even if you do everything right concerning website maintenance, something is bound to go wrong. If you want to build a secure website, it needs to be backed up regularly — another aspect of website maintenance that can be crucial for your business’s success.
Having a backup means that you won’t have to create a website from scratch if something bad happens. The backup process entails two different backups. On the one hand, you need a secure copy of your code — stuff like WordPress plugins, themes, CSS, PHP, etc. Best to do this each time you make a significant change or update, or when the content management system that you’re using updates itself.
On the other hand, you need to back up all of the website’s content — audio, video, images, and text. Of course, this content is changed more often than the code, so you can’t make backups each time that happens. Still, make a regular backup schedule that ensures you won’t lose anything valuable.
Just like all other technologies these days, website technology is developing at an extremely rapid pace. For instance, the previous five years have seen a far bigger integration with social networking platforms; these kinds of feature updates have become necessary for every business website that doesn’t want to lag behind its competition.
Online security is also developing pretty quickly; website security experts and hackers are locked in an eternal struggle to find weaknesses and exploit or plug them when they appear. If you’re a B2C company, you need to have all of the features that enable a flawless e-commerce experience, but you also need to make sure all of the customers’ financial and personal details are safe on your website.
The Visitor Experience
Even if you don’t use your website to provide e-commerce features, you have to bear in mind the main reason why website maintenance is important for the success of your business. Your corporate image is shaped by your website as much as by any other aspect of your company.
In fact, for most people, this website will be the first impression regarding your brand. All of the subsequent expectations about your business may stem from this, so you need to ensure that the first impression is stellar. That means not allowing broken links, lagging speeds, a lot of website downtime, etc. All of these kinks can easily be worked out with proper website maintenance.
About the author: Sam Lawrence is a freelance web designer and blog author, mostly writing about his work experiences and the evolving online ecosystem. When he’s not busy dissecting the latest website design and maintenance trends, he’s an avid chess player and heavy metal fan.