Website Maintenance Tasks – Are you Heading for a Crash?

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website-maintenance-tasks-smWhat would happen if you didn’t change the oil in your car?

What would happen if you didn’t pay attention to the gauges on your dashboard?

What would happen if you left your keys on the seat and didn’t pay any attention to making sure it’s locked up?

It would be a complete disaster waiting for an opportunity to happen and you would have no one to blame but yourself.

Your website is very much the same as your car. It needs to be serviced, it needs to monitored, and it needs to cared for every bit as much as a car does.

Take care of it, and it will do everything you want it to do.

Keeping up with traffic

Knowing about your website traffic is one of the more important considerations for website owners.

To know learn the most about your website, you need to get familiar with your website analytics reports.

These things will give you some serious intelligence on how your site is performing:

  • unique visitors – a unique visitor is an individual user who visits your website during a specific time frame, excluding search engine crawlers and duplicate visits.
  • actions – what do your visitors actually do when they get to your site?
  • bounce rate – your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who only view one page on your site and/or leave immediately after landing there. What’s reasonable for your kind of website?
  • time on site – How long do they stay once they’ve landed on your site?

Call To Action Conversions

Every website needs clear, compelling calls to action. A call to action is a task you want a visitor to complete once they’re on your site and they are crucial to the success of your site. But you already knew that though, that’s why you have them on your site. The success of your calls to action are a huge part of the performance for your website, so keep an eye on how they’re performing. 

You need to look at your conversion rates for your calls to action. Take a look at your stats and figure out what percentage of your visitors are actually engaging your call to action. 

Numbers and benchmarks can be all over the place, but it’s always important to remember when you’re looking at these things that what doesn’t get measured doesn’t improve.

That leads us to the next topic….

Search Engine Rankings

Knowing your position in search engine rankings is important because it helps you know who your competitors are, who’s competing for your keyword, and how you rank in those results.

Check your keyword ranking results. Keep track of your position for your site’s top keywords, and watch their position. 

Also pay attention to who comes up when you’re searching for terms related to your target market. You want to know who your competitors are. It could be someone you already know, or someone completely new. 

That brings us to the next important topic…

Competitive Analysis

One thing that all savvy website owners pay attention to is their competitors. There are great tools available for doing this kind of work, like Market Samurai.

Take a look and see, how do your competitors rank? What does their back link structure look like? 

Have you subscribed to their feeds & newsletters? What better way to find out what’s going on than to have their content delivered right to your inbox.

It’s also important to find out what others are saying about you. You can use Google Alerts to stay up to date on things that mention you. It helps if you don’t share a name with famous people. 

Email Open & Response Rates

Just about everybody is preaching the importance of building your list these days. There is no escaping this is a crucial tool for having a productive website.

Make sure you’re keeping up to date on your open rates and your response rates, and compare them with each other and with industry benchmarks.

A newsletter tool like Mailchimp can do a fantastic job of providing statistical data for your analysis.

Regular website house keeping

Check your website for broken links. Broken links are frustrating to users and don’t do you any favors in your search engine rankings.

Check your pages and posts and make sure you’re using alt tags for your images and page descriptions. These are things that are easy to neglect when you’re creating your content, but they deliver valuable on-page SEO opportunities.

Have a backup plan. Do not wait until your website has crashed before you decide to do something about backups for your website. I’ve seen it far too many times, where backups have been an afterthought, and they come to me hoping I can retrieve something, or put their website back together.

You want to have your website database as well as your website files backed up. 

Make sure your CMS software is using the most recent stable versions. 

This means that you’re up to date on your CMS core software, like Drupal, or WordPress. Security updates are often the reason for these updates and you could be vulnerable if you overlook them.

  • WordPress is currently in version 3.9.1
  • Drupal is currently in version 7.28

Internal link building

Make sure you’ve got a good setup for your major website categories. This is something I’m in the process of revising myself. 

Build internal links from older posts to and from newer posts. Check out your popular, evergreen, older posts, and create appropriate, relevant, links to newer posts.

It makes for a better user experience, gives user the opportunity to dig deeper in to your content, and can even help search engine crawlers to dig deeper in to your site.

Conclusion

If you’re like many website owners you’ve got a lot of time, money, and effort invested in to your website. Make sure you maintain your website so it delivers the performance that you’re looking for. 

If you run your car out of oil, it’s not going to die immediately, but it will die. If you don’t pay attention to the warning lights on your dashboard, you may not break down right away. But the likelihood it will happen is very high. 

Same thing goes for your website. If you want to see what’s possible and see a return on your investment you need to make sure you take care of your website.

Question – what is your website maintenance routine? What tasks would you add?

image by: marxmash