Website maintenance is a thing that is commonly overlooked by small business owners who manage sites for themselves. But regular website maintenance is essential to ensure your site keeps running smoothly.
As we all know, websites can be wonderful things and they can also be the bane of our lives!
When they work, they help attract new clients and gain us more sales. When they don’t work – well! The stress is off the scale.
Over the past few weeks, we have seen the big players have serious issues with their own websites including Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp sites going down for around 7 hours and Rightmove suffering issues for 24 hours.
What can you do to protect your website from breaking?
If your hosting company has issues, there is not a lot you can do until they resolve the situation. However, so many times we see websites that are not functioning properly. Common issues are:
- Images not loading
- Content scrambled across the page
- Broken links
- Contact forms not working
- Web pages disappeared
- And the list goes on ……………
The worst part of this is that the website owner doesn’t realise this until they check the site or get it flagged by someone else. And this may not be for months!!! Just think how many customers you may have lost when they flee your site due to frustration!
Here at Seahorse Creative, we do constant website maintenance checks for our clients to ensure sites run smoothly and any issues are picked up instantly and rectified.
Do remember website maintenance is not just pressing the update button. Due diligence research needs to be taken to check whether new versions are stable, bug-free, compatible etc. or your website could ultimately crash.
Maintenance should include regular backups and a recovery plan.
Website maintenance checklist for WordPress sites
If you maintain your website yourself, here are our suggested key maintenance tasks, although with WordPress updates these are subject to change.
- Check site pages loading correctly on multiple devices
- Things may look good on your laptop but may look completely different to a visitor on a smartphone.
- Check backup completed
- Backups are essential in case anything goes wrong. With regular backups, if you do spot errors you should be able to do a rollback whilst you get things fixed.
- Update WordPress and plugins
- Before updating WordPress, your theme, or any plugins, make a backup of the site. Some updates and plugins have a nasty habit of breaking the site!
- Double-check whether new versions of updates are compatible and if any issues have been reported.
- Test functionality of all forms
- Test the forms from the front end of your site and make sure responses are received by both you as the website visitor and as the website owner.
- Check and remove spam comments
- These are yucky and you don’t want them on your site.
- Check for broken links
- Broken links are both frustrating for the website viewer and bad for SEO.
- There are many online options to run a check such as https://www.deadlinkchecker.com/website-dead-link-checker.asp
- Check page speed and resolve any issues
- Slow page speed is frustrating for the user who is likely to give up and go elsewhere and also bad for SEO.
- Check the website speed for both mobile and desktop devices.
- There are many online options to check this such as https://gtmetrix.com/analyze.html
- Ensure you test from the correct server location such as the UK
- Review security scans and resolve any issues
- Speaks for itself
- Clear cache
- If you have made any changes to your website you will want to clear the cache so your website shows these updates to site visitors and not any old content.
If you don’t have the time or the know-how to keep your website updated, take a look at Seahorse Creatives Website Maintenance Package. We’ll do the background work for you so you can get on with the day job.