Beyond the Build: 6 Reasons Why Website Maintenance is Important to Your Business

One of the many questions we ask business owners during a web discovery meeting is “how do you plan to maintain your website once it’s live?” Sometimes they have someone on staff who will be responsible. Sometimes they look to us to provide website maintenance. Sometimes it’s a combination of the two. And sometimes there is no plan. 

Website development is often viewed as a one-time project when it really should be seen as an on-going work-in-progress. A website requires regular updates and routine website maintenance so it can continue to run at peak performance. Proper maintenance can also extend the lifespan of a website beyond the average of three years—making website maintenance a wise investment.

Here are our top reasons why website maintenance is important for your business.

Security

Security is the number one reason why website maintenance is vital to your business. If you’re online, you’re at risk—no website is 100% safe from hackers. Whether you use WordPress, or a similar content management system (CMS), it’s paramount that you are always running the most up-to-date version. Proper site maintenance will ensure the most current security patches are installed and reduce vulnerabilities that draw-in hackers. It will keep your site, and your site’s visitors, safe.

Protecting Your Brand

You wouldn’t purchase a car and never take it in for maintenance, right? Of course not, you want to protect your investment. Similarly, your website is an investment in your brand. It’s often the first time a customer interacts with you, and as they say, “you only have one chance to make a good first impression.”

You can generally tell when a site hasn’t been maintained. Dated blog posts and outdated copyrights are often a telltale sign. If the content you are sharing is evergreen, it’s good practice to turn off the date notifications. And if it’s dated content, as in content that’s no longer relevant, get rid of it.

Along with outdated content, outdated plugins and broken links can leave your site looking like a mess or even make it dysfunctional. Creating value and developing trust is vital to your customer relationship. If your website gives the impression that you don’t care, then it will reflect poorly on your brand and your customers will go elsewhere.

Backing Up Data

This benefit often goes overlooked. Aside from security, it is one of the most important features of regular website maintenance. Site backup can be done manually or through an automated service, often offered by your hosting provider. They say to err is human—if your business or organization has multiple team members with varied web experience accessing the backend of your site, frequently backing up your data will make it easier to fix errors if they do occur. If something were to happen to your site—either by human error, hacker, or failed technology—a good backup plan can mean the difference between fixing the problem in a few days or rebuilding your site from scratch, which would likely affect both your customers and your bottom line.

Staying Current with Technology

The Internet is constantly changing. Google alone rolls out between 500 to 600 changes in its search algorithms each year. We can interact with websites on multiple devices, from watches to traditional desktop computers, on any browser we choose, set to our individual preferences. All of these variables demand that your website keep up to remain competitive and that you, or someone you can rely on, keep up with the ever-changing requirements, as well.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Many factors come into play when it comes to site traffic, and really digging into a website’s SEO requires additional services beyond basic monthly website maintenance. However, we’ll address three areas that deserve your attention and can greatly affect your site’s performance:

Mobile-readiness

The number of users visiting websites with mobile devices is increasing year over year. If you haven’t updated your site in several years, chances are your site is not ready to greet these users with a mobile-friendly experience. If your business has a poorly designed website on mobile, 57% of Internet users won't recommend you to others. Search engines, like Google, have started to selectively present users with search results based on the type of device they are using to perform searches. If your customers are looking for you on their mobile devices, and your site isn’t mobile-ready, then your site may not even show up in their search results.

Updated Content

We typically advise businesses and organizations to include a method of introducing new content on their site. This can often come in the form of a blog, but it could also be news updates or weekly announcements, like product updates or service specials. Every time you update your website, you give search engines new material to crawl to rank your site. A site that’s consistently updated will keep the attention of frequent visitors as well as rank higher in an internet search than one that’s not (paid advertising aside).

Site Speed

Speed is another characteristic that can impact your site’s search ranking. In our world of instant gratification, speed can determine if the next visitor to your site will be doing business with you or your competition. Research shows that 47% of users expect a site to load within two seconds, and 53% of mobile users will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Your site’s speed is something that needs to be tested and analyzed. Depending on your site, you may or may not be able to improve its speed. However, checking it every so often for dramatic shifts can help identify underlying issues from image optimization to a need to switch hosting packages.

Monitoring and Tracking

If you have a website, you should have Google Analytics or something similar that tracks your site’s traffic. Monitoring even basic analytics like whether your visitors are using a desktop or mobile device, how they are finding your site, or what pages on the site they are interested in will allow you to keep up-to-date with your site’s performance. For example, if you note an unintended spike in traffic on a page, it may signify you need to rework your content flow. Routinely checking the metrics on your website gives you insight into your marketing efforts so that you can make informed decisions and plan accordingly. 

As you can see, there’s much more to a website beyond design and development. Website maintenance is key to your site’s health and overall performance. Investing in regular maintenance greatly reduces the risk of having to spend more down the road on problems that could have been prevented or planned improvements you could have budgeted for ahead of time. And just like your car maintenance, investing in a website maintenance plan will guarantee your site continues to offers value, safety, and continued performance.