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Keeping your site alive: how and why of website maintenance

Website maintenance illustration

From time to time, you have to do a little work on your car, your computer, your home, and almost every other thing you own - so why do people tend to forget about website maintenance?

That's right: you need to maintain your site. Doing so is not something you can forget about.

From little but crucial things like checking if everything loads correctly to bigger stuff like making sure your website is secure and works correctly, maintaining your website keeps everything running smoothly.

Let's dive a little deeper to understand what this all means.

Creating a website is not a one-time thing

So, you created your website (or, better yet, hired a pro to take care of business). You can now sit back, relax, and wait for the money to come in, right? Well, not exactly.

A website (a good one, anyway) is similar to a living organism, for example, a plant. You need to make sure your green buddy gets enough sun and water; make sure you trim it when it's getting out of hand; check the soil regularly; and so on and on.

Websites are no different: you need to make sure their articles have no typos, check that everything is loading correctly, redirect dead pages, analyze statistics, improve your loading times, update the design, and more.

Remember, when the site is up and running - you're up and running to maintain it as well.

Out with the old (and that could mean your site)

What happens when you don't take care of plants? They wither and die. Websites follow a similar path - but at a much faster rate.

You might not notice it with your website, but taking a look at your competition may shed some light on the subject.

You can tell what sites are maintained and which ones aren't by looking at them; new visitors can tell as well - and that's one deciding factor when it comes to choosing where to shop online.

Now, having an old website full of errors isn't the end of the world - but letting your domain expire means the end of your website.

Taking care of your domain comes at the end of a long list of things you have to do. Check them down below.

The website maintenance checklist

If you are not technically proficient or unsure of what the points below mean, I recommend leaving some of the tasks below to your developer.

  • Every week, make sure your site loads at a proper speed and works correctly, the text on your articles has no typos, remove spam comments, look for broken backlinks.
  • Every month, you should look at your website analytics, check your security and look fo security patches releases, update your CMS core, plugins and themes. Check up your site health status. You may look also for old and recent articles and see if you should update them in any way.
  • Every year, you need to review your website design, check if your domain is about to expire, and see if you can improve your most-visited articles. Check if your server runs on the latest PHP version (also check if your CMS supports it before upgrade).

This is a basic list of what you should do. In other words, the bare essentials. There are way more things you can do!

Web Developers coding

Safety first!

This rule cannot be stressed enough: safety is at the core of website maintenance.

If anything, make sure you maintain your website to keep hackers, scammers, and other criminals away from your site.

You're one hack, one data leak, or one botnet attack from losing the online side of your business.

Don't think you're not a target of hackers: statistics show internet criminals prefer to attack smaller websites - because small websites tend to be outdated and have weak security measures.

There's a timeline to it: 6 out of 10 small businesses go out of business after being hacked.

There's no downside to maintenance

We all know how important it is to keep your SEO up to date. That keeps organic traffic flowing from search engines to your website.

Imagine what would happen if you thought doing SEO was a one-time thing! You'd have a good month - and eventually close shop because nobody is visiting your site anymore.

You need to treat every aspect of your site the same way: security, infrastructure, bot protection, and every other detail.

You don't have to do them all at once, but you do have to take care of it periodically. Doing that will put your website one level above the competition.

Image 1: © Visual Generation - stock.adobe.com, Image 2: © MIND AND I - stock.adobe.com