Website maintenance is a never-ending project, and the larger your website (or portfolio of sites, in some cases), the more daunting the task becomes. Whether you’re dealing with security patches, legacy code, or broken links, you need to stay on top of website maintenance in order for your site to succeed.
It’s difficult to prioritize website maintenance over new campaigns, but eventually, you’ll have little choice. If you find yourself nodding along while reading “19 Experts Explain Why Your Website Isn’t Bringing in Customers,” it’s definitely time to give your site an overhaul. As Julie Joyce, owner of Link Fish Media, explains, getting visitors to your website isn’t the hard part—the challenge is getting them to stay longer than a few short seconds, and it’s even more difficult when your site is poorly maintained.
In order to maximize the time that visitors want to spend on your site (and give them fewer reasons to leave), it’s imperative to make sure everything is in good working order. To perform the website maintenance that you might be putting off, follow these six steps:
1. Speed up your site.
Your website could be amazing, but users aren’t going to see it if it takes ages to load. According to Google, 53 percent of mobile site visitors leave a page if it takes more than three seconds to load. Because a higher bounce rate hurts your page ranking, anything you can do to improve site speed will help you meet your SEO goals while bolstering your conversion rates. There are many things you can optimize, and choosing the right hosting platform should be at the top of your list.
2. Tighten up security.
A report from Shape Security found that between 80 and 90 percent of e-commerce logins are really hackers using stolen data—and it’s not just e-commerce companies that should be worried. News reports are inundated with stories of breaches that affect companies of all sizes. Take security seriously by installing plug-ins or Drupal modules that can defend against malware and viruses and changing default usernames and passwords to something much more secure.
3. Focus on fresh content.
Your audience isn’t going to regularly visit your site unless you give it a reason to. Create fresh blog content that will bring visitors back and keep them engaged, and update evergreen posts that will ensure you stay relevant in the conversation. With frequent visits and high engagement, search engine algorithms will determine that you’re an authority in your industry, improving your ranking in search results and providing even more traffic.
4. Check for compatibility.
Your website looks great on your device, but that doesn’t mean it behaves the same for everyone. It’s difficult to cater to all browsers, but you have to prioritize the most common, including Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Make sure your website loads correctly on each of these browsers. The stakes are high because a user might never return to a broken or poorly formatted site.
5. Encourage interaction with users.
Users are an excellent source of feedback, but only if there’s an easy way for them to reach you. Encourage comments and suggestions, and ask people to review your site whenever possible. Start with your best customers because they’ll feel like they play a part in your success. Their constructive criticism will go a long way toward improving the experience for all of your users.
6. Be diligent about backups.
Performing monthly backups will ensure you won't lose everything if something goes wrong. When you're investing significant time and money into improving your website, it makes sense to have an insurance policy. In many instances, you can set up a simple plug-in to back up your website automatically so you’ll never have to waste time recreating lost content.
Maintaining your website will always be a tall order, but Pantheon can at least make it easy. Our platform encourages collaboration between marketers, developers, and agencies, allowing them to move fluidly from idea to execution. Thanks to unrivaled optimization tools, state-of-the-art security features, and automated backups with easy restoration, our high-performance hosting platform is the best place to host your Drupal and WordPress sites.
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