Your Weekly, Monthly and Yearly Website Maintenance Checklist
Your website has all the elements needed to turn visitors into loyal clients. Great design, speedy page speed and flawless content.
All you have to do is sit back with a glass of wine and wait for your conversion rate to skyrocket.
Well, not exactly.
Having a great-looking website isn’t enough. You also have to maintain it.
Maintaining a website sounds like a very technical task, especially if you don’t know where to start.
In this blog post, we prepared weekly, monthly and yearly checklists for you.
With this checklist, you’ll soon fall into a routine. Completing tasks that seemed so complicated before will be a breeze.
Let’s get started.
Write a blog post.
This task is at the top of this checklist for a reason. You can benefit from it in many ways.
You build authority with your audience.
If you provide valuable content consistently, your audience will recognise you for the expert that you are. There are two important keywords in my previous sentence: valuable and consistently.
You can’t post half-baked articles daily and call it a day. You also can’t post a 3,000-word masterpiece and forget you have a blog for the next six months. Your content has to be both valuable and consistent.
You have more opportunities to use important keywords.
Let’s say you’re a public relations agency, and you want to rank for the keyword “public relations agency Sydney.”
You’re going to need more content to do that. You can’t use the same keywords over and over in one blog post. It will drive readers away, and Google might even penalise you.
Creating more blog posts about what you do and how you help people will give you more opportunities to use these keywords. Your use of those keywords in your content will also be more organic.
Check your website for broken links.
Updating one small thing on our website can have tons of consequences.
For example, you decide to rename your About page to About Us. It also changes the URL of the page from www.yourwebsite.com/about to www.yourwebsite.com/aboutus. You will then have to update all the links to that web page.
If not, it might result in two things.
- Google will not index your new About Us page. If there aren’t any links to a page, Google’s web crawlers won’t be able to find and index it. This will mean a loss of traffic and possible revenue for you.
- Users will have a bad experience on your site. Our websites are our online storefronts. It’s vital in making a great impression to potential clients, and broken links won’t help your case. Broken links tell potential clients you’re not thorough, organised and detailed enough.
Here are some tips on finding and fixing broken links:
Use broken link checkers.
There are plenty of tools online that will check broken links for you. All you have to do is enter your website URL, and it will then scan if all your links are still valid.
- DrLinkChecker and Broken Link Check are two examples.
- WordPress also has a free plugin called Broken Link Checker.
Figure out which option works best for you.
Track all the link changes you make on your site.
You can create an Excel file or a Google Sheet. Create rows named page, old URL and new URL. Make sure to update it every time you change or update a link.
This way, you have a record of all the changes you’ve made and won’t have to scramble to find out which link is broken.
View your website in different browsers.
Browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are updated all the time. You have no idea how those browser updates might affect how your website looks.
According to a recent survey, 59.69% of users worldwide use Chrome. The remaining percentages are divided among browsers like Safari, Firefox etc.
Like millions of users in the world, you might only use Chrome for both work and personal purposes. You have the tendency to forget that not everyone uses the same browser you do.
For all you know, your site layout might look wonky and uneven on Safari. The fonts for the content are bigger than the fonts for the blog post titles. It’s a mess.
When a potential customer using Safari sees this, you’re going to make a horrible first impression. The only thing you’ll be left with is a lost sale.
You might be thinking this will take too much time. You can’t possibly download every version of every browser in existence and visit your website on each one, right?
Right. There are free tools online that allow you to check your website’s compatibility without having to download another browser.
One example is Browser Shots. To use this tool, all you have to do is enter your website’s URL and hit enter.
Browser Shots will view your website using almost every browser in existence in less than 30 minutes. It will then take screenshots you can later view and download.
Once it’s done, download the images and see how your website looks in each one. Easy as pie.
Backup your website.
If you don’t backup your website on a regular basis, you could lose years of hard work in a flash.
Your website might get hacked, all that precious content you created going down the drain. Your web host provider might go out of business. It sounds far-fetched, but it’s a very real possibility.
The bottom line is, anything can happen on the Internet. The only thing you can do is be prepared for it. Save yourself from running around like a headless chicken. Make sure to backup your website weekly.
There are several options for backing up your site. Here are some of them:
- Use WordPress plugins – If your website uses WordPress, the platform has several plugins available that will allow you to back up your site. Some of them are even free. The most popular ones are BackUp Buddy, UpdraftPlus and BackWPUp.
- Backup your site manually. – This entails downloading all the files that make up your website and saving them on your computer or cloud storage.
You can choose an option you find easy.
When backing up your files, label things clearly. Don’t just label the files Website 2.0 or something similar as some people are wont to do.
In case of an emergency, make things as easy for yourself as possible. Include the dates you downloaded the files in the file names. Whenever you need to upload a backup version in the future, you’ll know which one to look for right away.
Test if forms are working.
Almost every business website uses a form.
Existing and potential customers use forms to:
- Express interest in our products. They can use them to ask about prices, features and other useful information that clinch a sale.
- Give us feedback. When clients are happy or displeased with the service we provided, they can use forms to reach out to us. We can use their feedback to do better moving forward.
When a form on your website doesn’t work, you’re missing out on several valuable things. You could lose sales along with informative responses from customers.
Testing if a form works or not is a lot simpler than backing up your website. Fill out the form like a customer would and see if it goes through. Check if the fonts and other elements on the form look right.
If you don’t receive anything, then you know there’s a problem.
Remove spam comments.
How often you need to remove spam comments depends on your website’s commenting settings.
Some websites allow comments to be posted right away, while others require approval first. If you’re the former, reviewing them weekly would be great. It won’t take up too much of your time, but the comments won’t pile up either.
Review site and SEO statistics.
If you’re not a big fan of numbers and statistics, then I have bad news for you.
Analysing numbers is vital for digital marketing success. Your site’s numbers act like your compass. They decide what course of action you should take to propel your business forward.
Whether you’re using Google Analytics or a WordPress plugin like Jetpack, review your site statistics monthly.
When I say review, I’m not telling you to just look at the numbers and say, “Oh, I had a thousand visitors this month. Cool.”
Reviewing your numbers doesn’t end there. Drill down and discover what was successful and what you need to improve on.
Here are a few key points you need to consider.
- Which pages and posts got the most hits and why? – What do you think made that piece of content successful? Was it the headline or images you used? Once you’ve figured that out, attempt to make similar content in the future.
- Which pages and posts got the least number of hits and why? – Maybe the headline you used wasn’t attention-grabbing enough. Is there anything you can improve? If yes, go ahead and make those changes.
Your site statistics are a goldmine of information that can help you get more traffic and find potential customers. It tells you what people are interested in and how you’re providing them value.
Optimise your site for faster page speed.
Page speed is how fast a web page loads after a user clicks on it.
In case you didn’t know, Google loves page speed. They love it so much that page speed is now a major ranking factor in major search results.
Let me explain. For example, Page A and Page B both contain excellent information about dog food. The only difference is, Page A loads several seconds faster than Page B. Even if they both have equally informative content, Page A will rank higher in Google search results.
Google knows that today’s users want things, and they want them now.
If you don’t want your competitors to outrank you in Google search results, optimise your website. Make sure it’s so fast that your competitors are only a blurry image in your rearview mirror.
You can optimise your page speed with the tips below.
Use PageSpeed Insights to determine your website’s speed.
PageSpeed Insights is a Google-owned tool that tells you how fast your website loads. It also gives you tips to improve your page speed.
Remove unnecessary elements from your website.
Plenty of factors could be slowing your website down without your knowledge. You might be using images that are too big when smaller sized would do. Maybe you installed a plugin that you’re not even using anymore.
Audit your site. If an element isn’t pushing you toward your business goals, it has to go.
Check for plugin updates.
How often WordPress plugins are updated depends on their developers. These updates often involve new and improved features or fixes for bugs users previously reported.
Updating your plugins means your site runs smoother and faster. Your web host isn’t lugging a clunky, old plugin version around.
Update your website copy if necessary.
You’re not the same person you were six months ago. The same goes for your business. Your products, services and staff change, and your website should reflect that.
Let’s say that you own a clothing company that specialises in scarves and bikinis. You discovered that your scarves are somehow more lucrative. Your bikinis, on the other hand, aren’t doing so well.
You decided to scrap your bikini offerings and focus all your sales and marketing energy on scarves. Due to your excitement about your newfound business focus, your website got lost in the shuffle.
A customer comes along and visits your website. She browses around your bikini collection, sees something she likes and decides to order something. You, of course, have to tell her that, sorry, you’re not selling bikinis anymore.
You’ll be left with zero sales and one very disgruntled customer.
In a nutshell, updating your website copy is of the utmost importance. Make sure who you are and what you have to offer at this very moment shine on your website.
Renew your website domain.
The Internet abounds with stories about people and companies who forgot to renew their domains. They thought they could still recover it, only to discover that they would have to pay thousands of dollars to do so.
Even the Dallas Cowboys, an American football team, forgot to renew their domain. It took them forty-eight hours to recover their website. The whole time it was down, site visitors found themselves on a placeholder page with a photo of a soccer team instead.
Save yourself from such an embarrassing, not to mention expensive, scenario.
Renew your domains regularly.
You could do this by creating reminders in the calendar app on your phone or in your planner.
If you feel like renewing your domain yearly is too much of a hassle, some providers allow you to buy it for more than a year.
Decide if you’ll stick with your current web host.
The Internet is an ever-evolving space. What worked for you last year might not work for you now.
You might discover another web host is providing the same service but for cheaper prices. Your current web host might not be as fast as its competitors.
Whatever your reasons are, evaluate your web hosting options yearly. Aside from pricing, here are some factors you need to consider:
- Customer Service
Remove outdated content.
I’ve mentioned before that your website is your business’s online storefront.
In real life, your storefront should be clean and organised, displaying your newest and best products. You wouldn’t want potential customers to walk by and see a dust-filled display of products you no longer stock, right?
Your online storefront shouldn’t be any different.
Wipe the figurative dust off your website content, and make everything shine.
Evaluate every piece of content on your website, including web copy, blog posts and product descriptions. Which products and services are you no longer offering? Has any information you previously posted been proven false? Is there anything that could be damaging to your business?
Decide whether a piece of content is still of value to potential customers. If not, go ahead and remove it.
If it can still be of value but the information is outdated, see if you can update it. Make it feel fresh again.
Update all necessary dates.
Let’s say you’re a potential customer. You want to hire someone to perform a particular service for you, and you stumble upon a website that looks interesting. The content is informative and snappy, and the design is pleasing to the eye.
Everything looks good. You think you might actually hire these people..until you see that the footer says 2016.
It turns you off immediately. You think that this business is no longer active because they obviously haven’t updated their website in so long.
When doing business online, every little detail is important. You never know what might convince a potential customer to buy from you or to leave your website in a hurry.
Update the dates in your footer and other sections of your website.
Submit a sitemap.
Before we proceed, you might be wondering what a sitemap is.
It’s your website’s table of contents, telling search engines which pages are important and which ones are grouped together.
When submitting a sitemap, you have several options.
- Use a WordPress plugin. – There are several plugins that will create and submit sitemaps for you. Google XML Sitemap appears to be the most popular option.
- Manually submit one yourself. – This entails logging into Google’s search console and adding your website information yourself.
Submitting an updated sitemap regularly means that Google can find all your pages and index them. When Google indexes your pages, millions of users from all over the world can find you and your business.
When doing business online, having a fantastic-looking website isn’t enough. You also have to maintain it.
It sounds overwhelming at first.
But breaking up the tasks into weekly, monthly and yearly chunks makes it manageable.
With the help of our website maintenance checklist, you’ll soon fall into a routine. The gears of your website will run like a well-oiled machine.
Need help ticking off some of the items in our website maintenance checklist? Cornerstone Digital is a web development company in Sydney. We’d be glad to help you turn your website from decrepit to dazzling. Call us on (02) 8211 0668 or email us at [email protected]
A self-professed book and digital marketing nerd, Darlyn Herradura focuses on building trust between customers and businesses with the written word. She understands that creating valuable content is the best way to get found online and happily spends her time doing that.