So, you launched a spanking new website. Now what? You surely invested valuable time and money into hunting down a worthy design shop, working with them to craft a perfect set of design mock-ups and devoured your fingernails while your site was in development. Now you can sit back and relax, right?
Not so fast.
A website is a dynamic business tool that requires continual upkeep and maintenance in order to function properly. A static website means death in the eyes of the two most important audiences: potential customers and search engines. The web industry is changing faster than ever, as new design and development techniques arise and search engines like Google continues to tweak its search algorithm. Your website must follow suit, or it will quickly become obsolete.
Website Maintenance: 5 Essential Ongoing Post-Launch Activities
1. Monthly server backups
Backing up your website ensures that in the event of a major outage or technical disaster, you’ll be back up and running promptly. Your core website files should be backed up at least once per month. This will give you peace of mind and prepare you for the worst case scenario.
2. Code compatibility checks
Major browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari release new versions quite often. It’s important that your website code be continually optimized to prevent front-end glitches. There’s nothing worse than a big red “x” showing in place of an image that is not displaying, or misaligned elements that throw off the site layout. A competent developer should be reviewing your code once a month to ensure compatibility with all new browser releases.
3. Search engine optimization compliance review
One of the most important aspects of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is ensuring that the elements Google looks for when determining how to rank web pages, are properly structured. When a user performs a query for a given keyword, Google’s robots scour the web looking for relevant pages. Robots read the code for each page, looking for key elements that help determine relevancy to the performed search.
Title tags, meta information, heading tags and on-site content are some of most critical items to stay on top of. They should be structured to comply with Google Webmaster Tools guidelines, as well as the most recent algorithm updates (Penguin and Panda).
4. Content updates
It’s a known fact that Google prefer websites that are updated frequently. Why? Because Google thinks websites should be for people, and is trying to become more human-like. Websites that sit stale are not offering up-to-date information and are rendered obsolete in the eyes of major search engines.
Types of content that should be frequently updated:
– Blog posts
– New team members
5. Conversion Optimization
Unless you’re converting 100% of your visitors into leads or paying customers, there is always room for improvement. The art of testing new site elements or features to increase conversion rates is referred to as “Conversion Rate Optimization”. This can be as simple as changing the text on a buttom from “Request a Quote” to “Request a Consultation”, or as complex as re-working the flow of your checkout process.
You never know how visitors will react to your website and sometimes slight variations in font size, button color or image selection can results in profound increases in conversions. Always be testing!