Although it can be tempting to see your website as a set-it-and-forget-it marketing tool, doing so can drastically limit the effectiveness of your overall marketing efforts.
Your website is more than your online business card. It should be leveraged as an active marketing channel which can be used to bring in new leads, generate sales and create awareness of your brand, and your expertise. Our mantra at The Digital Studios, to clients both old and new, is to treat your website as your core marketing hub.
Website maintenance is vital to ensuring your website’s performance is fully optimised and therefore, won’t hinder your overall marketing efforts. In this post, we explore the reasons why maintaining your website is so important, as well as website maintenance should encompass.
Why is website maintenance so important?
There are a host of reasons why maintenance is key; from keeping your content up to date, to making sure users are able to easily navigate your website.Whilst we could wax lyrical about all the benefits of good website housekeeping, to preserve your interest (and ours)! we feel they all more or less fall into the following three high level areas:
- To optimise user experience
- To improve SEO
- To ensure the information on your website remains accurate and up to date
And so without further ado…..
User experience (in a nutshell) is how easy it is for visitors to find information and interact with your site. Things like a frictionless sales process, ease of navigation through products and pages, and limiting the number of clicks your users must make to get to what they need are all fundamental in making the most of every potential lead.
There are a range of maintenance related issues which could degrade your user’s experience over time; bugs being a prime example. Broadly defined, bugs can be anything from broken links or badly designed online forms and in short, can make your website very difficult to use. These are a primary causant of high ‘bounce rates’ (i.e. people arriving at your website and immediately leaving). The last thing you want is to deter new audiences, and potential new customers, from sticking around and finding out more about the products and services you have on offer.
The same thing applies to website speeds. Slow load times are incredibly off putting and can result in a higher bounce rate. To find out more on what “bounce rate” is and how to reduce it click here.
Bugs and slow load speed occur when plugins or add-ons need updating, or the underlying technology the website is built on requires an update. Be warned though that they can also be caused by your web hosting package and / or user-generated content! Both of these issues can and will still occur when your website is neglected, even if your site was initially developed to be fast and bug-free.
Although there are many other irks and quirks which can occur when your website is not regularly maintained, it is well documented that bugs and slow load times have the most significant impact on user experience over time.
Your website is your centrepiece and the jewel in your marketing crown, with social media and direct sales driving potential clients to your site. The opportunity to make direct sales via a Google search for example (other search engines are available), means that your website is also a marketing channel in its own right.
Whilst an SEO agency will help you to improve search engine visibility, engagement of a support provider who has responsibility for regularly monitoring and maintaining your website will mean you additionally enhance search engine performance by making sure your website can be crawled easily once visitors have been directed to you. Good providers will encourage you to check and update your content, to ensure your website remains accurate and up-to-date. All fitting hand in glove with promotion and prioritisation of positive user experience.
Relevant and accurate information
As above, keeping the content on your website up to date improves information accessibility and means that users can quickly navigate to what it is they’re looking for; be it data, news, guidance, product or service.This doesn’t mean simply updating contact information though. The crucial areas of focus should be your active pages such as where your products and services sit, or where you are able to promote what you do.
Great content also supports great SEO which means you’re more likely to be seen within even the most basic search. Keywords should be regularly reviewed, refreshed and reincorporated and if you are known for sharing proactive and engaging information, this could lead to opportunities for cross-promotion.
Core website maintenance tasks
It’s impossible to list all of the maintenance items you should have on a list to check through, and what might need doing can differ depending on how your website has been built, your business function, what your aspirations are, etc.
Broadly though, these are the key areas you should be focusing on (and can generally be applied to the basic needs of most websites):
- Updating plugins / add-ons
- Checking and fixing bugs
- Refreshing site content
- Speed testing and optimisation
- Creation of a site backup
Website maintenance is a never-ending task which requires substantial time and effort. Do consider whether outsourcing to a professional provider is an option as this can be of benefit in terms of time, resourcing and cost effectiveness – and could free you up to concentrate on your core business function.
At The Digital Studios we offer maintenance support services and can provide SEO expertise, alongside a range of other website and marketing-related services. We’d love to talk through your needs and explore what we can do to push your business and your website to the next level. We’ll leave our contact details here….