Just like homes and cars, websites need regular attention to keep them at their best.
Don’t underestimate the importance of website maintenance!
Is there anything more exciting than new? A new house. A new car. A new book with crisp corners.
Or maybe you’re a business owner with a new website. It’s fresh out of the wrapper, so to speak. It’s still got that “new website” smell. And because it’s digital, you never have to worry about it getting dinged up or creased by a sloppy customer.
That may be true, but that doesn’t mean your website will stay perfect forever. Sites need regular updates (and even occasional overhauls) to make sure they continue to perform at the exact level you need them to.
What Is Website Maintenance?
Website maintenance is a rather nebulous-sounding term. If you’re not in the industry, you could even be forgiven for seeing this phrase on an invoice and wondering aloud if you’re being scammed.
In the simplest terms, anything you do to make your website better falls under the category of “website maintenance.” The opposite would be taking a “set it and forget it” mentality and letting your site do its thing.
“Free range websites” ain’t it, my dude.
What Does Website Maintenance Include?
The vast array of products and services in the digital marketplace mean that there are many different types of website maintenance available to you.
Your needs may differ from that of the business down the street (in the same way that your Sonata will need oil changes but your neighbor’s Tesla doesn’t). Your needs may even change over time. But the following is an example of an exhaustive list of website maintenance services.
1. Web Design
How your website looks is just as important as how it functions.
Read that last sentence again.
As I’ve said 1,000 times before, search engines don’t buy from you, people do. And people are visual creatures. Having a local web design company freshen your page up every couple of years not only makes it more attractive (so people will stay longer), it creates order so they can find what they need more easily.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engines might not buy from you, but they do play a huge role in bringing paying customers to your site. Focusing your attention and budget on SEO really underlines the importance of website maintenance and ensures you can stay in business for a long time.
A solid SEO strategy should cover things like new content (not just blog posts, by the way!), pay-per-click campaigns, keyword research, and even social media strategy.
3. User Experience (UX)
Yup. How your users interact with your website is also super important.
Putting your users first is at the core of a good UX design—whether it’s for a website, a water bottle, or anything else you offer.
ADA compliance is a bit of a buzzword in the industry right now, and for good reason. Our society is becoming increasingly more focused on making sure people are treated equitably and fairly across the board.
Our official stance is that good SEO takes care of your ADA compliance automatically. The problem is that there are a lot of website owners (and website developers!) who don’t know what good SEO actually is.
5. SSL Certificates
An SSL certification encrypts the conversation between your site and a user’s browser, sort of like putting a privacy screen on your laptop when you’re at Starbucks.
But SSL certificates aren’t a “one and done” thing—they expire. Most last about a year before they need to be renewed.
6. Security Updates
We’ve seen and heard enough nightmarish stories to know that you should always take web security seriously!
A huge part of website maintenance should be shoring up your site against hackers and scammers who have nothing better to do than try to take you down.
Installing security patches and updating relevant widgets can go a long way towards putting a lock on your valuables.
7. Plugin/Theme Updates
Plugins and website themes can be updated for more than just security reasons. But if you don’t stay on top of the newer versions, they could stop working for you altogether.
Which—depending on how your site is built—could mean that nothing works.
8. Backup and Disaster Recovery
The right time to buy flood insurance is before hurricane season, not after. And the right time to focus on backups and disaster recovery is during routine website maintenance.
9. Fixing Broken Links
Including both internal and external links can really boost your SEO rankings, but sometimes those links expire without you noticing.
No one likes a 404 error.
10. Site Performance
You probably give your employees an annual performance review, right? Well, your website is basically an employee that works 24/7, so they should be held to the same standards.
In order to properly maintain your website, you need to know what condition it’s in, and a performance audit can help you do that.
Look at things like speed, loading times, traffic, bounce rates, and your return on investment for things like marketing campaigns. This will give you a better idea of where to focus your efforts in the future.
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What Does Website Maintenance Cost?
This is an impossible question to answer in a blog post, as there is no standard price for a website maintenance plan.
Seriously. I’ve seen “estimates” that give a range of $5-5,000 a month. Doesn’t exactly clear things up, does it?
So, what does an actual company charge?
Our Clarity Support plan covers basic website maintenance starting at $250/month.
Zen and the Art of Website Maintenance
Unfortunately, there’s a lot more that goes into maintaining a website than paying your hosting invoice every month. But luckily, you don’t have to do it all yourself.
We’re happy to take the hard work of running a website off your hands so you can focus on what you do best. We have clients from all over the country and are always looking for small businesses that value quality work.
Clarity Creative Group is a digital marketing company located in beautiful Orlando, Florida. Our websites definitely aren’t free-range, but they are gluten- and nut-free.