Your site is finished! You’ve either worked with a team to make it perfect, or put your blood, sweat and tears (well, hopefully not actual blood!) into making it exactly what you want to be.
Yay! Your work is done!
Think of your website like a car. It, too, needs ongoing maintenance. But, unlike a car, you won’t necessarily notice something is wrong until you find out the hard way that it’s slow as molasses or crashing or glitching or being hacked.
The only way to know for sure that it’s in good shape is to review, revise and revamp as necessary to keep it running smoothly.
You can’t just set it and forget it.
When it comes to your website, you need to give it your ongoing love and attention.
Just like your car needs oil changes and tune ups to keep it running smoothly, your site’s ability to run glitch-free depends heavily on making sure all is good under the hood.
There is a heck of a lot to know when it comes to optimization and maintenance, but I’ll give you some of the key items you’ll need to check off.
How does it look and work on mobile?
If you haven’t done so lately, review how your site looks and works on mobile. It should be responsive, easy to use, and easy for your prospective clients to contact you.
Much, or perhaps most, of your website traffic may be coming through a mobile device, yet many business owners forget to keep a watchful eye on the user experience their website provides on mobile.
If you’re not sure how much of your traffic is coming from mobile devices, a quick check of your Google Analytics traffic sources will give you the answer.
(You do have Google Analytics installed, right? If not, that’s another task to add to your website maintenance To Do list.)
Do all your links and forms work?
Sometimes external websites you link to break on the other end and you still have the link up and active… and broken. You’ll only know if they’re still working if you’re proactive and check. A tool like Broken Link Check can be very useful when you’re reviewing your site.
And don’t forget about your forms!
While you’re checking all of the links on your site, make sure any contact forms are working as they should as well. The last thing you want is someone trying to actively reach out only to hit a roadblock. Talk about a conversion killer.
The conversion killer: sloooooooooow speed.
Slow page speed is one of the biggest conversion killers on your website, and there are some fairly straightforward changes you can implement to address your page speed.
The best way to know what is going on with your site’s page speed performance is to check your website’s score on Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Even if you’ve checked your page speed score before and gotten a good mark, Google is constantly rejigging how it scores sites, so while you may have had a score in the “fast” zone in the past, things can change and your site could potentially now be in the average or poor zone.
That’s why I highly recommend regular check ins to make sure it’s still moving quickly.
Make sure your images are properly added.
There are a variety of causes that may be at work on your site if you have a poor page score, and images are often one of the main culprits.
Check your images for size and make sure that they haven’t been added to your website any larger than they need to be, and that they’ve been added at web resolution, not your camera or photographer’s original higher resolution. You can also optimize the images you have on your website and cull the images that you no longer need.
If you’re curious to learn more about the ways you can fix your images to improve your page load speed, I’ve laid out the specifics in this article.
You need a maintenance checklist.
The following are maintenance items to stay on top of for all websites, regardless of platform:
- Check that all of your forms are working properly.
- Review your website for any broken links.
- Regularly post fresh content on your blog to keep it current and up to date.
- Review and update your Testimonials.
- Ensure your Portfolio or Gallery is current and only showing the best of the best
- Ensure your contact information is up to date (check your footer as well as your contact page).
- If you list pricing for your service, ensure that it reflects your current prices and packages.
The following are maintenance items for those of you who have your websites built on the WordPress platform:
- Regularly update your WordPress installation (core, plugins and theme) to keep it from becoming vulnerable to hackers.
- Remove any unused or deactivated plugins that you no longer need.
- Go through any draft blog posts and pages and remove anything you no longer need.
- Delete any unused blog categories and tags.
- Go through your media library and delete unused or duplicate photos.
- Go through and mark blog spam comments as spam and approve legitimate comments.
- Review your users and ensure only the appropriate people have access.
Keep on top of regular maintenance.
It may seem like a lot to review, but trust me, it’s not as much as it looks like, and setting aside a bit of time every month to review and tweak as needed will help your site run more smoothly and be the conversion machine you created it to be in the first place.