So. Who have you got maintaining your website?
I ask this question quite a lot.
Sadly, too many people don’t have an answer because they don’t really understand what it is I’m asking. Not because they're stupid mind, but because they don't realise they're supposed to have someone doing this for them.
Maybe I should change my question.
If you were to ask me what was the top thing you needed to be doing in your business with regard to your online presence, the health and wellbeing of your website or any other number of business growth factors... I’d say something like:
'You should be looking to outsource all those things better done by a professional'
This kind of thinking - this outsourcing mentality - will allow you to focus on the important things that you, as the business owner, ought to be doing. A good example of this, is the outsourcing of your book-keeping or accounting functions.
Let’s face it, accountants live and breathe their business and you reap the benefits in good advice and in all the legitimate deductions they can muster on your behalf. Having a great financial adviser and accountant is a no-brainer for most businesses. It just makes sense.
I’d argue that outsourcing your website maintenance, care and business support is equally important and equally a no-brainer for businesses that don’t have the resources of a dedicated person or team to look after their site.
A quality website care, maintenance and support plan contains a lot of individual features.
From vital monitoring with an eye on security - to things that keep your site humming like a well oiled machine.
Surely you don't want to fill your day checking spam and doing software updates and backups of your website.
A really good site maintenance and website care plan can even help you implement some of those great ideas that wake you up at 2am!
The kind of web care, maintenance and or business support plan you choose depends on your business and exactly what you want to have your business website achieve.
- If you run a very small business for example, and you have a simple 3 page website designed primarily to allow people to find you, contact you and understand what it is you do - then a simple, but thorough standard website care plan might suit you best.
- If your business is larger, or you have plans for it go grow further, then carefully consider your options. Minimal care is just not going to cut it in this instance and you may want to look at options that help you marry your goals for growth and the role a premium website care plan can play in helping you achieve them.
If you choose the right plan for your business needs, you can ensure you get access to specialist advice. You will know that there is someone to take away the headache of finding the time to do those essential but somehow often 'not urgent enough' tasks on your website and that the day to day general maintenance and security requirements are always taken care of. If in doubt, send me your questions and I'll try to help.
In short, a well chosen, quality website care plan can bring you a great deal of peace of mind.
This now leaves you free so you can focus your attention on taking care of the special things that only you can bring to your business.
I've researched website maintenance and web care plans from dozens of organisations offering these services to business owners and below you will find an example of the weekly and monthly tasks included in a good plan.
There are also quarterly and annual tasks that can be undertaken that add real value to how you do business, what your website can achieve in terms of helping you attract new business, and how your business is perceived online.
This checklist will help you develop your own website maintenance program or give you an idea of what to look for in a service provider.
Website Maintenance Checklist
Start Strong 🙂
Ensure you have all the tools you need to keep track of important data on how your site is working, what kind of traffic you are getting and also, who might be trying to get into your site to do no good.
This checklist assumes you already have your infrastructure in place - analytics, site verified with Google Webmaster Tools, backup processes and storage organised, security scanning and whatever else you feel is necessary.
Below you will find an example of part of what I feel is an almost perfect website maintenance routine. This is the Routine Maintenance component of a high quality plan offering great ongoing business support services.
To Do WEEKLY
- Check each page on your site is loading correctly
- Ensure backups are being done and stored remotely for added security
- Update any available softwares on your site
- Check your contact form and other forms to make sure they're still working after the software updates
- Deal with comments - approving, replying, deleting. Deal with any spam while you are at it.
- Check that the links in your site are all working, and go where they are supposed to go.
- Do a 404 error check and repair as necessary
Recommended Extra - Simple Marketing Exercise
Write a blog post or add value to some existing content and share in your networks.
To Do MONTHLY
The monthly component is centred around site improvement and review.
- Check your website load speed, seek advice if needed
- Review security software logs and take appropriate actions
- Review analytics data - visits, popular content, site visitors. Use this to inform next marketing actions
- Review local search visibility
Recommended Extra - Marketing
Email your list with something fabulous they won't be able to resist. Perhaps one of the blog posts or other content you have created during the month would be perfect?
As you can see, following a process such as this can help you keep on top of routine tasks, trouble shooting and preventative maintenance for your website. It also shows how you can make regular content contributions to your site and use them to keep in touch with your clients, customers or business network.
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