No matter how much time and effort you put into your website design or redesign project, it's not a one-time event but an ongoing process. After launch, you need to address the inevitable wear and tear on your website and make sure that performance remains consistently high with regular maintenance and support. It’s important to react to challenges in real-time, while creating the white space you need to proactively address change. To do this successfully, you'll need to balance both your short-term and long-term needs.
Reactive and proactive website maintenance
If you are fresh off of the heels of a web design and development project, it can be easy to think your work here is done. In reality, you’ve only just begun to reach your market and outside of an ongoing digital marketing plan, your team will need to invest in maintenance and support.
- For some businesses, maintenance and support is primarily technical. As problems arise, issues will need to be diagnosed, fixed, and tested as soon as possible to reduce downtime or else the business risks loss of traffic, sales, and consumer trust.
- For others, it’s an ongoing investment into your site’s performance, providing a positive user experience for visitors, ensuring the security of sensitive data, staying up-to-date with the latest web technologies, and attracting and converting users into customers.
Bottom Line: You need to be doing both.
The technical side of website support
The technical performance of your website is rooted in the way it was designed and developed. This may include troubleshooting errors or bugs related to code or functionality, ensuring that all content is visible and functioning correctly, or quickly responding to any security threats.
Questions to ask:
- Was the site developed with the latest best practices?
- What are its capabilities between browsers and devices?
- Do you need to update software, or add firewall protection?
- How are you managing backups, platform, or theme upgrades?
- How are you addressing plug-in or API changes?
- Are you anticipating XXS, DoS or SQL injection attacks?
- Are you updating and adding security patches regularly?
- Are you removing unused code or plug-ins?
For those businesses who are looking to maintain and support the technical side of their website, fixing issues as they arise can be costly and time sensitive. Without a dedicated partner or main point of contact, it takes a considerable amount of investment to brief, onboard, and troubleshoot technical fixes. Sometimes, in the short term, it’s easy to disregard ongoing maintenance plans, but you may reduce the headache and frustration of scrambling.
Can’t Miss Pro Tip: Check and understand what kind of backups are included with your hosting package. While some updates can be automated, it’s important to have some human oversight to ensure that nothing breaks. Some core updates can, will, and have broken some visuals to the front end of website’s due to un-checked automations.
Proactively anticipating your customers’ needs
Proper website maintenance can go a long way in improving the performance, reliability, and security of your website. When you come out of the gate with a new website, some of the assumptions made during the process may need to be modified now that you are communicating directly with your target customers, or consumers. In terms of , there are several measures you can take to ensure that visitors to your website have a positive and enjoyable experience.
Questions to ask:
- Are images and videos optimized for fast-loading times?
- Is navigation intuitive and easy to use?
- Are you tracking how users interact with your website?
- Are you conducting regular web and SEO audits to maintain website health?
- Have you enabled browser caching or using CDNs for faster downloads?
- Are you reducing HTTP requests by using a content delivery network (CDN)?
- Are you tracking your site’s overall visibility?
- Are you updating and evolving your page and asset metadata?
- Is your content up to date with the latest information?
- Are you compliant with web accessibility standards?
- Is your accessibility, privacy, and cookie policies up to date?
- Do you have procedures for dealing with customer complaints?
Don’t forget: There are a lot of small ways to continue to enhance your site’s user experience. Scaling your content is always a challenge--needs can change just as often as your market--so be sure SEO is included in your maintenance plan and is a part of your ongoing digital marketing tactics. Something as simple as a misrouted 301 redirect and 404 errors can impact site rankings.
Investing in new features without all the bells and whistles
If you have the right maintenance and support partner, you should be able to invest in new features and evolve sections of your site without the oversight of a new project engagement.
New ideas can hit you at any time. Within the structure of flexible website maintenance and support plan, you can plan to build new features and tools, add in new service pages or campaign landing pages, change existing descriptions or support documentation, evolve navigation based on user feedback, incorporate new graphics, or add interactive functionality.
Need help getting started? Contact us to ask about performing a comprehensive audit of your business' website.