Once you’ve got your shiny new website, you can’t just leave it to sit online and forget about it – just like a car, it needs maintaining to ensure that it’s performing properly.
Even if you have an in-house technical department, it’s unlikely that their knowledge of website development, marketing, user experience and SEO is at the level required to add real value through maintenance activities.
5 reasons you need to maintain your website
So why can’t you just leave your website to tick along once it’s gone live? Here are 5 compelling reasons for sorting out a website maintenance package from the get-go…
1. Security – your website and all of the data it gathers needs to remain secure at all times, in order to protect it from hackers, malware and other security risks. This isn’t just for your benefit, but for your users too – especially if you’re asking for customer details, or even more importantly, taking payments for products online. It’s not just ‘the right thing to do’ – it may also be a matter of legal compliance.
2. Updates – from changing small but significant details to uploading new products, images, industry news and knowledge or even special offers, someone needs to be responsive, proactive and on the ball – or your website will lose value, quickly becoming dated and providing incorrect information to prospects. As your business progresses, so should your website, otherwise you’re growth and status won’t be accurately reflected on what is probably one of your primary marketing tools.
3. SEO and search rankings – assuming your website was optimised for the search engines at the outset (and if not, you really need to ask yourself why not!), you need to keep your SEO up-to-date. User habits change as new devices, technology and knowledge are rolled out.
Are the keywords you initially targeted still the most valuable ones? Are your new products and pages being optimised correctly? Are you meeting any new best practice guidelines released by Google?
Even the regular updates mentioned in the point above count towards you’re SEO strategy – it’s an element of website maintenance you can’t afford to miss if you want to remain competitive.
4. Features and functionality – user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) are at the forefront of any successful website, and when it comes to the digital arena, features can become old news pretty quickly. As new ideas and new ways of engaging users are developed, you need to stay ahead of your competitors by ensuring your website is keeping up with the changes.
5. Backups and hosting – your website and all the information on it needs somewhere to live. Choosing the right data centre to host your website and keep it online is essential – but as your website changes and grows, you may need your hosting package adapted to suit. For example, it used to be that you could host your website on servers outside the UK providing they offered the right capacity for the amount of information and data you use/send/receive – but in more recent years, the advice has changed to hosting within the UK (for UK based businesses) for SEO, uptime and performance. Ensuring the best hosting and regular, secure data backups is another aspect of website maintenance you need to keep your eye on.
Types of website maintenance packages
The type of website maintenance package you need will depend on the type of website you have (e.g. ecommerce or brochure site), the capabilities you do or don’t have within your business and the frequency at which you envisage needing support.
Essentially, website maintenance packages come in a variety of shapes/sizes:
• Website maintenance
• Website maintenance and hosting
• Ad hoc support (pay as you go)
• Basic maintenance package (a couple of hours per month for the essentials)
• Tailored website maintenance (a package created to suit your specific requirements)
When you’re choosing a company to help you with your website maintenance, ensure that you know exactly what you’re getting and what it covers.