There are at least 2 billion websites in the world today, according to Web Tribunal. In other words, 2 billion business or personal websites are constantly in need of website maintenance. You already know the number was not always this high, so how did we get here?
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee, a computer scientist at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), invented the World Wide Web as a way to share information and collaborate with colleagues. He wrote the first web browser, called WorldWideWeb (yes, the same ‘www’), and the first web server, CERN httpd.
In 1991, the first publicly available website was launched, and it provided information about the World Wide Web project and how to access other websites. In the following years, more and more people began creating their websites, and the number of websites on the internet grew exponentially. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the dot-com bubble saw a great increase in commercial websites, many of which were devoted to eCommerce.
If you are reading this, you likely have a dot-com business. This means you conduct a substantial part of your business on the internet. For your online business to succeed in this age, you must pay attention to website maintenance. We will share tips and tricks you can use to ensure your website is always in the best shape. First, what is website maintenance?
What is Website Maintenance, and Why Do You Need It?
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Website maintenance means keeping a website up-to-date and functioning properly. It involves a range of activities that help to keep a website current and fresh for the target audience. This may include content updates, such as adding new pages or editing existing ones. It could also be software updates, which ensure that the website is using the latest and most secure versions of the tools and platforms it relies on. It may also involve design updates, which can keep the website looking modern and visually appealing.
Web maintenance is vital because it keeps your website constantly appealing to users. Also, it is easier to manage a properly-maintained website than one which is not. Maintaining a website makes for better access to customer data from your website's backend. This information can enhance your online marketing strategy. Website maintenance equally allows your team to collaborate easily.
When building a website for your business, you can hire a website developer to build from scratch or use free templates. At Strikingly, we offer free, editable templates for different kinds of websites, from one-page portfolios to standard company websites. No matter which template you choose, you get a website with a catchy and engaging user experience. Add that to a simple backend that allows you and your team to collaborate and collect vital information from your site’s users. There you have a modern website to serve all your marketing needs.
Customers and Website Maintenance: What’s the Link?
The most crucial factor in your website maintenance efforts is your customer or target market. From the point of website building to everyday maintenance, your website must always look like what your customers want to see.
Image taken from Strikingly Product
Thus, when maintaining a website, you should remind yourself of the answers to these questions.
- Who is your target customer?
- What are their preferences?
- What kind of design appeals to them?
For example, you sell men’s clothing. Your website content and overall outlook must look and feel masculine and exquisite. This will reflect your website colors, text content, and overall website outlook. Your clothing website should differ sharply from a digital marketer’s portfolio website. Comprends?
A Step-by-Step Guide to Drafting a Website Maintenance Plan
To ensure that a website meets the needs of its users and stays relevant over time, you need a comprehensive website maintenance plan. A website maintenance plan is a schedule of tasks and responsibilities to maintain a website. This plan should outline what tasks need to be completed, who is responsible for achieving them, and how often they should be done. A good website maintenance plan helps ensure that a website remains up-to-date, secure, and functional. So how do you create a website maintenance plan?
1. Identify your goals
The first step in creating a website maintenance plan is to identify your goals. What do you hope to achieve with your website? Do you want to attract more traffic, increase revenue, or improve user experience? By identifying your goals, you can focus your maintenance efforts on the tasks that will help you achieve them.
2. Assess Your Current Website
Next, take some time to assess your current website. What areas need improvement? What tasks are most important for maintaining the website? Make a list of the maintenance tasks that will help you achieve your goals. Customer feedback can be super useful at this point. Find out what aspects of your website customers are complaining about.
Of course, this will mean that you must have created an avenue for them to communicate their complaints to you. At Strikingly, we value customer feedback, which is why we allow users to speak directly to our Happiness Officers 24/7.
Our templates also come with that feature. This means your website users can reach you anytime to talk about whatever bothers them. We also let you add a contact form that connects directly to your email. On top of that, you can link your social media to your Strikingly website. With feedback from your customers, you can keep your website fresh and ever-evolving for your customers.
Image taken from Strikingly product
Another way to know how your customers respond to your website is by studying your customer’s journey. For example, you can find out at what exact point customers leave the site. When you notice that most customers do not take action on your website beyond a particular point, you might want to look at how navigable your website is from that point.
3. Determine Your Budget
Website maintenance can be time-consuming and costly. You often have to renew domain subscriptions, hire content writers, work with UI/UX designers, and more. If you don’t manage things properly, you will likely be in a financial mess soon. It is, therefore, important to determine your budget upfront. This will help you prioritize your maintenance tasks and allocate resources appropriately.
4. Create a Schedule
Once you know what tasks need to be done and how much you can afford to spend, it's time to create a schedule. Determine how often each task needs to be performed and assign deadlines. Don’t rush it, though. Be sure to allow enough time for each task to be completed effectively.
5. Define Roles and Responsibilities
It's important to define clearly who is responsible for each maintenance task. Do not give one person the job of doing all the work alone. Website maintenance can take different shapes and require different specialized skills. While you can have a general website manager, you should not work with a person who is a content writer, video editor, UI/UX designer, and product photographer all at once. If you find such a person, you should offer them life advice, not hiring them. At most, a person working on your website should be adept at two skills. That will ensure that tasks are completed on time and prevent confusion or overlap.
6. Implement your plan
Now that you have a clear web maintenance plan, it's time to start implementing it. Be sure to monitor your progress and adjust the plan as needed to ensure that you meet your goals. You may not be the one to do the job directly. That is okay. Just ensure you supervise all the responsible persons well. Create a structure that allows for accountability and communication.
Types of Web Maintenance and How to Apply Them
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- Adding new content
- Updating software and plugins
- Fixing broken links
- Optimizing for search engines
Adding New content
Adding new content to a website can help keep it fresh and relevant. This could include blog posts, articles, product descriptions, videos, images, or other content relevant to your audience. You will need professionals to help with this. When looking out for such professionals, ensure they have a track record of success or have proven themselves to be capable. You also want content creators who have experience in your niche or thorough research skills.
Updating Software and Plugins
Websites often use software and plugins to add functionality and improve the user experience. It's important to keep these updated to ensure they are secure and working properly. Again, you need a software engineer for this. Except for valid reasons, you are better off sticking to one of such for as long as possible.
Fixing Broken Links
Broken links can be frustrating for users and hurt the website's search engine ranking. Regularly checking for and fixing broken links is an important part of website maintenance.
Optimizing for Search Engines
To help a website rank higher in search engine results, it's essential to optimize the website's content and structure for search engines. This can include tasks such as adding keywords and tags, improving the website's structure, making the content more engaging.
In web maintenance, ensuring a website is secure is crucial for protecting the website and its users. This can include installing security patches and software, monitoring for security threats, and more.
In summary, website maintenance involves regularly updating and maintaining a website to ensure it remains functional, relevant, and secure. A well-maintained website is vital for both the website's owner and its users. It helps ensure a positive user experience and can improve the website's search engine ranking.
If you do not have a business website yet, it’s not too late. Get a free website, with Strikingly. A properly maintained Strikingly website will position you to get more leads, rank better in the search engine, generate more traffic, and ultimately, make more profit in your business.