If you have ever taken the time to oil a bike chain, you may have been surprised at just how much smoother that bicycle pedals down the road after this one simple activity is complete. Like any machine with moving parts, your company’s website also requires some regular attention to continue doing its important job as your business’ digital front door.
Only a few years ago, websites were little more than online advertising flyers for businesses. It was possible to stand up a website or web page and forget it for a while, which for most businesses was status quo. This “set it and forget it” philosophy doesn’t play well in today’s digital world.
Today’s websites operate like finely tuned machines, requiring frequent and ongoing maintenance to keep things humming along smoothly. There are a lot of reasons why website maintenance is necessary, but here are a few that are at the top of the list in importance:
- User Experience (UX) – Making sure your website is easy to navigate and performs optimally is important when it comes to those who you hope to attract. If your site loads too slowly or your navigation is broken, you may lose a potential customer simply because of a seemingly minor inconvenience. Of course, misspelled words, grammatical faux pas or poorly organized content can also be a real turn off for visitors to your website.Having a site that is responsive (adjusts to the size of the device being used), follows WCAG standards, relies on simple and intuitive navigation, and makes it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for is key to establishing credibility and building your online brand.
- Site Traffic – In a word or two, Google (and to a much lesser extent, Bing) are behind this site traffic issue. The sophisticated and complex systems used to retrieve data from a search index, combined with numerous ranking factors, aim to organize information on the world wide web and make it universally accessible and useful. Search engines create and frequently tweak the algorithms that determine whether your site is served up organically as a search engine results page (SERP).Webmasters once thought it beneficial to “game the system” by stuffing meta descriptions with keywords, or performing other “black hat” SEO tactics; however, today’s search engines aren’t tolerant of such practices. The best course of action is to publish frequent relevant content, maintain clean back-end coding and keep your site up to date in every way possible.
- Security–Today’s CRM-managed sites rely on a host of third-party applications that must be frequently updated. In WordPress sites, these are called plugins. Out of date applications can cause issues as simple as missing content or formatting issues, or as serious as a data breach with the complete takeover of your digital assets. Making time to review and update the back end of your site is a small price to pay for keeping your web presence running smoothly and secure. (Be sure to check out our article about how often you should update WordPress plugins.) With that said, it is important to put these updating tasks in the hands of someone well qualified in managing website updates. There is risk in deploying updates that still may be full of bugs and other issues. Knowledge of how to backup, recover or rebuild sites is sometimes necessary when these updates are handled.
It’s easy to fall into the bad habit of ignoring your website, but in today’s digital world, that is never a good practice. Making time to “oil the bike chain” is important, but not something you have to manage on your own or even hire a full-time resource to accomplish. If your business needs website management assistance, our seasoned team can take care of the details that keep your website humming. Contact Us to discuss website management services today.