“That’s the website done. Off the to-do list. We don’t need to worry about it anymore.”
Sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but a truly successful business website is never “done”.
When you own a car, you can drive it from day one. But after a few weeks it will need a clean and polish, and to keep it running you’ll need to take it for a service every now and then. And a website is no different.
A website is a long-term investment. You’ll need to allocate a budget to cover it throughout its existence. A website that evolves over time to keep up with technology has a significantly longer lifespan (and therefore is more cost-effective) than leaving it to rust, letting the wheels go flat, and discovering that one day the engine has seized.
How to Maintain Your Website
- Software updates
Updates should be a regular task for maintaining your site, especially if you’re running an open source platform such as WordPress or Joomla. In fact the majority of updates are for security – no one wants to have their website hacked. We recommend that the bigger platform updates are tested pre-install to ensure that they won’t break your site.
- Browser and device compatibility
Whether you use Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge or something completely different, you’ll have your favourite browser. But so do all your customers, so it’s important to make sure your website looks stunning across all of them. In particular, Internet Explorer tends to do things a bit differently…
New devices and browsers are released all the time, so this isn’t a “check once and forget about” task, it must be kept up to date.
Your website is a shop front. The feel of it will give your customers an idea of your personality and the quality of your services. Even small changes to a website’s design, such as changing the colour of the header, can make a big difference to a user’s experience on your website and their perception of your business.
It’s also good to remember that design trends, such as the current “flat design” style, go in and out of fashion. Keeping your site in-keeping with the popular styles of website helps keep your company feel cutting edge and modern, even if it is only a small superficial change.
Are people coming to your website? What are they doing on it? What’s their path? Are they leaving as soon as they arrive? You can use Google Analytics to find the answers to these questions – but once you know the answers, don’t just sit on them. Act! Tweak your website, your calls to action, your language, to see what results in the most enquiries or conversions.
Users are having less and less patience with slow-loading websites. Get yourself on a good hosting package and check the speed of your pages. Once again, this is a moving goalpost, and what loaded quickly today may be tortoise-like a year from now. Keep on top of your website’s loading speed and you won’t fall too far behind.
- Whatever Google says
As the most popular search engine by miles, Google has the ability to set standards for the web design community. Recently it has introduced policies that penalise non-mobile-friendly websites and slow loading ones.
It’s important to stay on top of changes like this so you don’t find your website slipping down the search rankings over an easily fixed issue.
Although these are just the basics, we know it can be a lot to keep on top of. If you need help, talk to us about how one of the Aelite maintenance packages could take the hard work out of keeping your website up-to-date, lengthening its lifespan and continuing to appear fresh and current for your customers.