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Have you ever wondered why some business websites thrive while others falter? A website is a living asset; its maintenance is essential to ongoing success. Opening a website that looks like it was designed in the 90s, no one will assume the information to be found is fresh or reliable. But the same is also true if your website is behind the curve even by six months.
Search engines have been using content age as a ranking factor for years now, meaning outdated websites can fall behind even if your existing content and design are excellent. Ongoing maintenance plays a vital role in ensuring the success of your business website by enhancing performance, security, user experience, and search engine optimization.
The Performance Advantage
First, let’s talk about website performance. A website that loads quickly, dynamically, and works well on mobile devices will swiftly rise above those that do not. Google prioritizes high-speed, mobile-friendly websites, and its most recent update also emphasizes stable asset load-in to improve user experience. Regular ongoing maintenance such as updating plugins, optimizing code, and compressing images is necessary to achieve these exacting standards. These will improve both your website’s speed and responsiveness.
By improving your website’s overall and specific performance, you can impress users no matter how they access your website.
According to web.dev, Vodafone increased their Core Web Vitals LCP (largest content paint speed) by 31% to achieve 8% more sales, while iCook improved their CLS (cumulative layout shift) by 15% to achieve 10% more revenue.
The Security Imperative
In the increasingly dangerous cybersecurity landscape, hackers are becoming faster, more diverse, and working together through distributed networks. This means that there are threats around every corner and the consequences for those threats are increasing. In addition to the risk to your infrastructure and data, there are also increasing legal and financial consequences associated with neglecting website security. Should a data breach on your watch expose a customer’s (or employee’s or business partner’s) personal data, you may be liable.
The best way to protect your business is through regular software updates, security audits, and comprehensive backups to prevent vulnerabilities and increase your ability to recover should an attack occur. Be sure to implement IAM (identity & access management), following the principle of least privilege, with security monitoring and end-to-end encryption for comprehensive network security.
You can reference security standards such as the PCI-DSS, HIPAA, or GDPR to help you achieve your specific requirements.
Enhancing User Experience
Constantly test and improve your user experience. User experience is defined as the smooth, enjoyable journey of customers and visitors through your website. Bugs, confusing UI, or difficult-to-navigate menus reduce user experience. However, a high user experience directly correlates to customer satisfaction.
When your website is a joy to navigate, customers will come back because their experience is better than with other brands. To achieve this smooth, enjoyable, and competitive experience, ongoing maintenance helps you to ensure a seamless and intuitive user interface.
Mobile performance plays a key role, with over 50% of today’s website activity occurring through mobile phones. Responsive design, mobile optimization, and even handicap accessibility improvements have become essential to provide that seamless user experience. Be sure to regularly clean up your plugins, look for ways to improve navigation, check for broken links, and update your content.
Boosting Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the key to inbound marketing through search engine results. It is an organic way to drive traffic to your website and increase your visibility as your pages increasingly win top-SERP positions for related keywords over time.
You can maintain your SEO through regular keyword research and updating your content to ensure that each service and blog page aligns with what your leads are searching for when they’re at the research or decision-making stage. Make sure to consider your home page, service pages, and blog articles when updating your SEO, and use your keyword research to inspire new content that will grow organically around what your users are looking for.
But SEO isn’t just about keywords. You also want to pay attention to your technical SEO like metadata, inbound and outbound links, and monitoring your website through Google Analytics to identify SEO opportunities and track ongoing performance.
The Cost-Efficiency Factor
Many businesses are still working under the misconception that ongoing maintenance is an unnecessary expense. There was a time when websites were built and only updated every two or three years, but that time is now long gone. With agile methods, proactive maintenance can be efficiently used to prevent major issues, costly downtime, and the risk of falling behind the curve in a rapid-update landscape.
As websites have become the primary face of brands and the first place new leads look during consideration, having a poorly maintained website can reflect badly on the brand as a whole, potentially costing revenue and brand reputation should your online visitors be disappointed with what they find.
When you compare the costs of ongoing maintenance to the cost of emergency fixes, extensive repairs, and rushed updates after monitoring customer response, having an agile maintenance team is the most efficient option.
Best Practices for Ongoing Maintenance
Your ongoing maintenance routine should adhere to a checklist that meets your website design’s performance, security, and experience needs. No matter what framework, plugins, or API your website is built upon, this checklist will help you keep your website on point.
- Update your website’s core software, plugins, and API connections
- Monitor security and update security measures
- Look for broken links and claim inbound references
- Renew keyword research and update your content
- Audit old pages for outdated SEO tactics
- Take regular backups of both infrastructure and specific data
- Run penetration tests and fix vulnerabilities
- Run user experience tests and look for possible improvements
- Consider integrating website feature trends that suit your brand
- Audit your performance and security monitoring
It’s important to schedule regular ongoing maintenance periods and assign responsibilities within the team. You can use a wide range of resources to assist in the process, including content management systems like WordPress and security plugins like iThemes and Wordfence. But don’t limit yourself to a single routine. Seek continuous learning and stay updated on industry trends and best practices, as well.
Ongoing maintenance can improve your website performance, visibility, security, and conversion power. Through both visible and invisible updates, you will make your website easier for search engines to find, more enjoyable for users to navigate, and more secure to protect all managed data. Ongoing maintenance will help you adapt to new threats, stay ahead of the curve on the latest features, and keep your content fresh to keep ranking through search engines.
With routine ongoing maintenance, your website will be fast, robust, and efficiently competitive while eliminating the risk that a single flaw might slip through the cracks. This will not only serve your customers; it will also always show off your brand at its best.
Prioritize ongoing maintenance with your internal team or partner with experts like Gridiron Digital for long-term online success. Not sure which direction you want to take yet, or looking for some extra support? Schedule a call with us today!