Website maintenance seems to be the talk of the town recently. Almost every business around the globe has a website. It’s important to communicate who your business is and what it does to your target audience. Creating an aesthetic with appealing functions and features is only half the job. Maintaining it and keeping it running is the critical part.
What Is Website Maintenance?
It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s the practice of monitoring your website for its health and ensuring it keeps performing at optimal levels.
A lot of things go into maintaining a website. A good website excels in a number of unique aspects, like security, design, usability, navigation, and loading speed, among others. For your visitors to have the best experience, you have to ensure that your website keeps operating the same way in all these aspects.
Web maintenance is just like taking care of your own health. You can ignore a few headaches, but with time, things will only get worse if left untreated. Many businesses cut corners regarding web maintenance. Later on, they start to see a decline in traffic and, thus, sales. As such, website maintenance is integral to business success. Especially for ecommerce stores that are heavily dependent on their website and online sales.
Why Is It Important?
Like every other business, if you’re aiming to reel in more customers and retain them, website maintenance should be high on your priority list. What happens if someone lands on your website, but it’s not up-to-date or even working at all? You’re bound to lose that potential visitor.
Your website is the frontman for your company or brand. Your reputation is linked to how well your website is running. You don’t want people to remember you as that one brand whose website took forever to load.
Maintenance is also very important for SEO. Google will give the top spots to websites that have fresh and updated content and a better visitor experience. If you don’t regularly update your content to match the latest trends and keywords, Google might even de-index your site.
But the most important reason why maintenance is critical is security. You have to patch the vulnerabilities on your website to protect yourself. You probably collect customer information from your website. If your security protocols aren’t up-to-date, you’re putting all this information at risk.
Benefits of Website Maintenance
Here are some of the benefits of having a website maintenance plan in place:
Avoid Disasters: If you’re not maintaining your site, it will likely start to run slowly, cause crashes, or cause a myriad of other disasters. All these can cost you potential customers and revenue. Monitoring your site regularly can help you avoid them.
Stellar Experience: Constantly improving your website can help your visitors have a better customer experience. Downtime, loading speed, navigation, and UI/UX all affect a visitor’s experience. Retailers lose $2 billion each year due to slow loading websites.
Monitoring Uptime: Downtime is the worst scenario for any business. It’s just like closing the shutters of your store and not letting anyone in. You can’t sell anything to anyone if your website can’t be accessed. But with proper maintenance, you can monitor your site all the time. You can only solve a problem when you know there is one.
Secure Backups: Most websites are the primary channel for collecting customer information. Losing this sensitive data due to a site error or security breach can be detrimental. Regular maintenance checkups ensure that all data is backed up and secure.
No Broken Links: If you have a large website with tons of content, broken links are probably a common issue. Links to external domains change all the time. This leaves all the outbound links in your content useless. Fixing all these links ensures that you’re not leading your visitors to a dead end.
Types of Web Maintenance
Web maintenance can be considered an umbrella term for a lot of different tasks and processes. These tasks can be categorized in the following way:
Websites are vulnerable to malicious cyberattacks, so they need to be regularly monitored. Website owners or web development companies must scan their sites for vulnerabilities and malware threats. Periodic patches help eliminate these threats and improve overall security. They must also make sure their SSL certificates and firewalls are updated. These ensure that data transfer happens smoothly and access to third parties is restricted.
Updating the content on your website is crucial to being relevant in this new digital world. Content is king in digital marketing. It helps attract and retain customers. Site owners must regularly update their content, such as blog posts, and remove outdated content. Outdated content gives off the impression that the business isn’t professional and will put off your visitors. New content keeps your audience engaged and increases the chances of conversion.
These are miscellaneous updates that cover things like plugins, themes, and software. Plugins are a critical part of any website. They help improve the user experience by adding more functionality to your website. But you need to update them periodically to ensure that they work with the latest browser and security updates.
Monitoring and optimizing the performance of your website is very important for the user experience. A critical component of this type of maintenance is loading speed. Slow websites almost always suffer from high bounce rates and low user engagement. This ends up in a drop in SERP rankings and, thus, a loss in traffic. To optimize loading times, you’ll have to minimize code and reduce image sizes.
Many websites require users to create accounts to access certain features. Site owners must maintain these accounts on a periodic basis. Such maintenance includes creating and deleting accounts, managing permissions and access, removing unused accounts, and resetting passwords. Another important task in account management is identifying and deleting spam and bot accounts.
Your website can go down for a number of reasons. During this period, your customers and leads can access your website, and you can lose a lot of revenue. Hence, it is important to monitor your website constantly for uptime. It’s important to know right away when your website goes down. This ensures that you can fix it ASAP.
The Cost of Website Maintenance
Web maintenance has a wide range of costs. Since no two websites are alike, it’s difficult to put an exact number on costs. But on average, web maintenance can cost anywhere from $50 to $5,000 per month. All of this depends on the type of website you have.
Personal Websites: Small websites, like personal blogs, don’t have much traffic, so their needs are smaller. All they need is a domain name, a hosting service, and an SSL certificate. Combined, all these things will only cost them about $10 to $20 a month.
Professional Blogs: Most companies have their own blogs and prefer self-hosting. They’re also customized, so they need more monthly maintenance. On top of the regular technical costs, they’ll also be paying for SEO and content updates. The total cost for them would be around $50 to $100 monthly.
SMB Websites: Small to mid-sized business websites are just like professional blogs, but they have the added cost of marketing content, technical support, and more security. All this raises their costs significantly. SMBs pay around $150 to $500 a month for such websites.
Corporate Websites: These are the company websites of corporations that are operating on a global scale. The services they’re using are similar to those used by SMB sites, but on a much larger scale. This is why the monthly cost of web maintenance for corporate websites is upwards of $1,000.
Ecommerce Stores: An ecommerce store is as big as a website can get. These websites use all the features we’ve talked about above and more. The crucial thing here is that ecommerce stores collect customer information, which includes payment details. This is sensitive information that needs to be handled with the utmost care. As such, security costs skyrocket. Web maintenance for ecommerce websites ranges from $1,000 to $5,000 a month.
Now that we know how much it costs to maintain a website, it’s time to dive deeper into what these costs entail. Here’s a breakdown of the web maintenance cost structure:
|Domain Name||$10 – $20 Annually|
|Ecommerce Features||$100 – $500 Monthly|
|Content Updates||$100 – $3000 Monthly|
|SSL Certificate||$0 – $50 Annually|
|Web Hosting||$3 – $50 Annually|
|Tech Support||$100 – $3000 Annually|
|Web Design||$20 – $500 Annually|
|Email Hosting||$1 – $10 Annually|
|General Update||$10 – $100 Annually|
|SEO Upkeep||$10 – $500 Annually|
How Often Should You Do Web Maintenance?
The frequency of your web maintenance depends on the type of website and the complexity of your updates. Some tasks can be done on a monthly basis, while others need to be done more frequently. Here’s a simplified checklist of tasks and how often you should do them:
- Update your plugins and themes.
- Backup your site and user data.
- Remove spam comments from posts.
- Redirect broken links.
- Add a new blog post.
- Search for 404 errors.
- Review loading speed and optimize.
- Assess security scans and remove threats.
- Review web analytics from last month and compare with current metrics.
- Check blog posts for SEO updates.
- Review the overall SEO of your website.
- Test forms, plugins, CTAs, and ads.
- Assess the mobile-friendliness on multiple devices.
- Review marketing and ad campaigns.
- Check all backups.
- Automate any maintenance tasks if possible.
- Renew your domain name, hosting, and any software used.
- Update references to the current year in content.
- Update the overall design of the website.
- Repurpose or renew top-performing content.
- Update images and logos that might have changed.
- Check legal and cookie policies if any updates are due.
Automation in Website Maintenance
A website has hundreds of moving parts, and monitoring all of them can be a very time-consuming task. Fixing them can take even longer. A lot of manpower and capital goes into website maintenance. This is a huge concern for businesses that heavily rely on their websites, especially ecommerce stores. Automating routine monitoring and updating is the easiest solution for them.
Monitoring your website for uptime is the easiest task to automate. Tools like UptimeRobot will check your website every minute to see if there is any issue. Such tools will alert you whenever your site is down, so you can fix it immediately.
Performance management can also be automated to assess if there are any issues with your website. Slow response time is one such prevailing issue that can ruin a user’s experience. You don’t want your customers to discover this issue. Cisco has a powerful tool, AppDynamics, that will automatically test your site’s performance for you.
Going through each of your web pages and clicking on every link to see if they work is also another time-consuming task. But it’s also easy enough to automate. Ahrefs is a popular web-based tool that will go through your website and find any links that aren’t working or need to be redirected.
Automation can also help take care of more technical tasks such as infrastructure management. This is a huge help to developers because such tasks are complex and can take a lot of time. Pantheon is an infrastructure management tool that people in DevOps often use to automate their tasks. It updates your site’s code routinely and keeps it running without any issues.
Get Started On Your Web Maintenance
Website maintenance is an essential process that all site owners must carry out on a routine basis. This maintenance has a lot of components, such as security, SEO, uptime, and content. Webmasters must create a strict schedule for each component and carry out maintenance to ensure that users don’t face any issues while browsing through their site.
How do you maintain your website? Talk to us below!