Launching a website takes a lot of work. You’ve gathered images, proofread copy, checked and double checked your links, set up hosting, purchased your domain and more. Your site is finally live, but unfortunately the work doesn’t end with the launch. All websites require some degree of regular attention. Updates, copy changes, new products, different images, load time improvements, security updates, tweaks, edits, and SEO mean your website is never really done – at least not to the point where you can set it and forget it.
Now that your new website has launched, you’ll need to devote some time and attention to the care and maintenance of it. You’ll want to ensure it continues to run efficiently and effectively to provide your visitors with a positive, worthwhile experience and that it continues to meet your marketing or sales goals. But that doesn’t mean you need to become a website expert.
Basic Website Maintenance
Basic website maintenance requires a little time, diligence and, depending on the platform or content management system, a little or a lot of know-how to keep your website running and in good working condition. This is why we recommend WordPress so often for our clients. It tends to be rather intuitive and simple for even non-tech savvy users to maintain.
Many people compare a website to a car when talking about maintenance because there are a lot of moving parts involved in a website that all need to work together in order for your website to continue functioning. But don’t worry. When we set you up with a WordPress website, we’re not asking you to be the mechanic here, just the driver who pays attention to the lights on the dash. Here are the basic things you need to watch for to keep your website up and running.
Keep your platform up to date
Always make sure you are using the latest version of your website’s platform. Most platforms make frequent updates to their software that unlocks new features, code updates, and most importantly security measures & fixes. WordPress will actually notify you when there is a new version available, so from your dashboard all you have to do is click a button.
Update your themes and plugins
WordPress software works with your installed theme and plugins to create a complete and functional user experience. However, out of date plugins create a way for hackers to gain access to your site so it’s important to make sure you keep them updated too.
WordPress comes with a built-in updates management system, so once again these updates are easy to make and can be handled from your WordPress admin dashboard. Because these updates can involve code, you’ll want to head over the front end of your website after updating just to make sure everything still looks good and is functioning properly.
Backup your site
Should your website ever go down for any reason, having a backup will help prevent you from losing important information as well as allow you to easily restore your site. This can usually be done through your hosting account, but it can also be done right through WordPress. There is a WordPress backup plugin that will automatically create backups of your site and store them safely in a remote location.
How often you back up is up to you and how much traffic your site gets as well as how often you update it. The more traffic you get and the more often you make updates, the more frequently you’ll want your site backed up. Just be sure to verify that your scheduled backups are working, and that the data is retrievable.
Update your content
Old, outdated content that hasn’t been touched in a long time can hurt your credibility as a brand and may even cause visitors to wonder if you are still in business. By updating your content regularly, is not only helpful to your visitors, but it also helps with search engine optimization (SEO).
Fresh content is one of many factors search engines use for web rankings, but an important one. Regular content updates, such as though a blog, show search engines that your site isn’t stagnant. It will get crawled and indexed more often, leading to more chances of turning up in relevant search results and possibly even becoming an authority in your industry. And using a great content management system like WordPress, makes adding and editing content quick and painless.
Check for and fix bugs
You’ll want to do a regular sweep through the front-end of your site looking for issues, bugs, broken links, missing pages (404 errors) and typos. Test your forms and phone numbers. In additional to looking for things that are broken, it’s not a bad idea to consider the user experience and make sure the site makes sense and functions properly from their perspective. Check it from different browsers, different devices, and different screen sizes to get a real sense of your site’s functionality from a variety of users.
Annual Web Maintenance Tasks
Each year there are a few things you’ll want to do too. You’ll want to make sure you renew your SSL and domain/hosting accounts regularly and on time. It’s also a good idea to check that your disclaimers, notices, and copyright dates are up to date and that they reflect the current year.
Maintaining Your Site After Launch
Caring for a website doesn’t mean you need to become a web expert or that you need to sign a long-term maintenance agreement with a web company. Content management systems like WordPress were designed to make it simple and easy for anyone, regardless of skill, to be able to update and maintain a website with nothing but a little time and diligence.
It’s important to work with a company you trust. One that’s going to give you everything you need to be in control of your own site. Before we launch your site, we’ll make sure you’re comfortable and have all the information you need to access and maintain your site on your own. We can walk you through your dashboard and answer any questions you have. And if you ever need anything or want our help with updates, all you have to do is call. We’ll never withhold access or lock you into a long-term maintenance agreement. If you are looking for a simple WordPress website you can maintain on your own and a web company to partner with, give us a call at (414) 232-7862 or send us a message online.