08 Oct Maintaining & Editing Your Website
Owning a website comes with certain responsibilities. You cant just create it and then leave it for the next 5 years. Well you could, but that would be if you don’t mind how successful your site is.
Regularly maintaining your website will ensure:
- Your is site secure
- Your site is backed – up
- There are no broken links
- Regular visitors have fresh, updated information and exciting news.
Here are some of the areas that will need maintaining by either you or your website developer:
The first place i feel like i need to begin is with the websites content, one thing that will really turn your prospective client off on your website is when there is stale content from 2001 where the text is riddled with errors. This just makes it evidently, clear to the visitor that you don’t put any or care into your website. This could then lead them to associate the quality of your content with the quality of your business.
You should keep your website fresh with new content on a regular basis for many reasons, but one very important reason is that, your goal should be for people to visit your website on multiple occasions. Make your visitors want to come back often, if your content hasn’t changed, you have no news, no special events or offers then why would they come back? It’s like going to watch the TV and there is only one show on repeat, everyday, forever. Would you watch it over and over again?
One of the most common and effective methods to keep your website fresh is with the use of a ‘Blog’. A blog is online personal diary that is regularly updated. It is where you can express yourself, where you can share your thoughts or passions. So basically it is whatever you want it to be.
This is your chance to establish yourself as the expert, to show people that you care and to show people what you can do.
Many people are put off doing a blog as ‘nobody wants to hear what they say’ or ‘they don’t know what to write about’. There are literally blogs on every concept available;
✓ Cute Animals (http://cuteoverload.com/)
✓ Atheism (http://skepchick.org/)
✓ DIY (http://blog.makezine.com/)
✓ Knitting (http://www.threadbanger.com/blog)
- Reality TV ( http://www.realitytea.com/)
All the above blogs have thousand of subscribers and readers, even if you have never been much of a writer before you will get better each time and might even start to enjoy it like I did. Check out http://breezedevelopment.co.uk/7-techniques-make-your-writing-go-further to get more tips on how to master your blog.
However as a word of warning, if you do start your blog and then only ever write two posts in 3 years. Don’t bother, it would just tell your visitor that you plan to do stuff that you cant finish.
It’s actually better to not have a blog on your website, than it is to have one that obviously isn’t used at all.
2) Old Information
This might be similar to the 1st point however it is so, so, so important to make sure that you are consistent when creating or taking down information.
For example, let’s imagine that you own a restaurant and for christmas you add an extra menu and have a christmas banner asking people to ‘book tables for christmas 2015’. You’re going to look very stupid when someone visits your website in August 2016 and its going to make your site (and business) lose a lot of credibility.
The potential customer starts to wonder, Is that sale out of date, too? Is that menu up to date? That could also be from last year. Now, the customer feels the need to call you to check, but cant be bothered to do that so just goes to the next restaurant that they find on Google.
Unfortunately, this kind of action (or lack of action) makes your website untrustworthy. Not good for business or the site, and the worst part is, it might not put them off using you once, but rather that potential customer may not trust your website again.
3) “Copyright © 2004” in your website footer.
On the majority of sites there is a copyright information in the footer of the page. This is completely fine, however you must try to remember, by doing this you’re time stamping your work and letting everyone know how old it is. So, regardless of whether you update your content frequently it may make them more skeptical. So make sure to update your copyright information every year.
4) Broken links.
I briefly mentioned broken links earlier but this is something you need to be aware of, as we have discussed how well your website flows and how easy it is to navigate is vitally important for the success of your website.
If someone is on your website and is then met with an error message. If they can’t get where they want to go,then they wont try again and will move to another site that does work. Very rarely you might get someone who emails you to let you know about the issue, but that’s if you’re lucky and after plenty of other people have already had the issue.
You / your web developer should be checking this overtime changes are made to your site to ensure this isn’t happening, there are also tools online that can help you find any on your site.
This is one job that usually falls under the web designers tasks however this may depend on which company you use and is something that you should definitely check.
Backing up your website should be completed on a regular basis, depending on frequently your website is used and what it is used for this might be everyday, weekly or monthly. Online many things can happen that could effect your website, updates, hackers, viruses, some bad coding and your whole website could go down.
Make sure you check with your developer who will be in charge of this and how frequently it will happen.
6) Other Maintenance Tasks:
Again many of these tasks will be completed by the development company that builds your website but make sure to check with them first or it will be down to you,
You want to be aware if your website does go down to see what you can do about it, many sites will go down occasionally even the likes of Facebook go down for maintenance occasionally but you want to be aware of this happening. If your site goes down, you want to be the first to know and not receive an email from someone else they can not access your site.
One tool I have used for this is Uptime Robot (https://uptimerobot.com/) which will check your website every 5 minutes for free.
Check your WHOIS records for what information is displayed for your domain name, ensuring that this is correct. Some people may have changed their email from when they initially signed up for the domain. This needs to be up to date because if there is ever an issue with your domain or when your expiry notice is sent out you won’t get the emails.
Test Website Speed:
We will discuss it later but your website speed is very important for not just your customers satisfaction but also for your search engine rankings as Google and their competitors take this into account.
You should test this whenever you add new features to your site as people have a short attention span and if your site takes a while to load, then they are not going to wait. You and / or your web designer need to do everything you can to improve the speed so that visitors stay long enough to see what you can do.
Many website development companies will use some kind of third party software, such as an content management system like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, they will update their software frequently. These need to be updated not just for what the update may bring in terms of functionality but also because each update will come with security aspects to prevent and hacking.
The main thing to take from this chapter is that your website will be an ongoing process, there are no quick fixes and you and your web developer will have to communicate about which responsibilities you have to do.
Your content is vitally important both to search engines and to your visitors, make sure to engage them with fresh, helpful and interesting content.