Website development is not a set up and forget exercise. Once the site is approved, has launched and is delivering content, there’s no time to sit back and relax and leave it be, it’s time for maintenance. But what are the maintenance essentials and how often do you need to carry them out? Read more…
Maintenance is an important part of ensuring your website’s health. There are seven main parts to it; content, comments, links, software/plugin updates, backups, and security.
Your website needs to be regularly updated to ensure it remains relevant to your readers and is correct. New content needs to be checked for spelling and grammatical errors, typos and factual correctness. Is that phone number or address correct? Is the product name spelt correctly? How about that contact person? Are they still at the company? Regular content updating is also essential for SEO and to rule the search engines. How often? Three times a week is a good baseline.
Where there’s content there’s comments, and a regular part of website maintenance is checking the comments to ensure they are acceptable, don’t breach legal standards, and that they aren’t spam links. Of course, comments also need responses, but these should be checked on a weekly if not daily basis, not left to the monthly maintenance run.
Broken links are unavoidable. The web is a rapidly changing environment and it is highly likely that some of the links you published only four weeks ago are now kaput. Broken links can severely impact your Google quality score and your website’s credibility. If you haven’t worked on your site for a while you can run links through the SEM MOZ link checking service, or try Dead Link Checker (https://www.deadlinkchecker.com/)
For WordPress websites you must ensure that the WP core software is kept up to date. While this may automatically happen at the server end, there are times that the core needs to be manually updated, or your PHP version needs to be updated. Plugins and themes also go out of date and maintaining them ensures there’s no opportunity for security breaches.
These can also be carried out automatically but need manual checking occasionally. Some websites carry out regular backups once per week and sites with high traffic or are constantly changed will need backup as often as daily.
Last but not least, security sweeps should happen as a supplement to automatic security scans. In WordPress you can install WordFence which does a great (free) job of blocking intruders and other threats, but there will always be a need to either respond to breaches or to check manually that your security is working well.
All these maintenance issues sound easy and common-sense, but it is easy to forget to do them without a regular maintenance schedule. Be it weekly, or monthly or even daily (in highly trafficked sites) maintenance cannot be ignored and must happen to keep your website presenting a professional image.
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