website maintenance and support services

You’ve got a website that you’re proud of. But to keep it humming along you need to regularly maintain it.

Website maintencance is the task of making sure your website is up-to-date, free from errors and protected from major security risks. We see too many small business owners who think that once their website is live they don’t have to worry about it anymore. But getting your business online is really just the beginning.

In this article we’re covering the essential website maintenance tasks that need to be carried out regularly to make sure your website works just as well as the day you went live.

Why is website maintenance important?

Think of your website like a piece of machinery in a workshop. Day in, day out it’s humming along, producing things that help you grow your business. 

Then one day you notice a soft clanking sound. Not all the time. But every so often. So what do you do? Do you let it go for a while? It’s not a loud noise. And your machinery is still working. Still sending out the finished product.

But then that soft clank turns into a loud bang. And the machine is no longer humming along. In fact, it’s breaking down daily. And more and more products are coming out with faults.

Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t let an essential piece of machinery in your workshop operate without regular maintenance. But too many small businesses leave website maintenance down the bottom of the list. 

It works well in the beginning. You have traffic landing on your website and sales and enquiries coming through on a regular basis.

But then the contact form breaks and enquiries are no longer coming into your inbox. An out-of-date plugin causes your website to show error messages. Then you get a phone call from a customer telling you your website is down (for how long?).

Suddenly that website you relied on for new clients and customers is no longer working.

Just like machinery needs regular tune-ups to run smoothly, your website needs ongoing updates and maintenance to protect it and keep it operating at peak performance.

What are the benefits of website maintenance

Before we get into the important aspects of website maintenance, let’s look at why keeping your website up to date is so critical to begin with.

Maintain security

Unfortunately, there are plenty of unsavoury characters out there on the internet ready to exploit security vulnerabilities for their own financial gain.

Out of date software and plugins can provide a backdoor for hackers and malware to access your website. Not only does this put your business operations at risk, it could also affect your customers’ data privacy.

And this type of threat can be costly too. In the 2021-22 financial year, the average cost per cybercrime reported by small businesses to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) was $39,000.

You might think only larger corporations are vulnerable to these threats. But really any business with an online presence needs to keep their security current. 

Regular website maintenance is one of the ways you can protect your business and customers from cyber threats. The Australian Government offers a range of resources on cyber security for small businesses.

Performance optimisation

A slow loading, clunky website is incredibly frustrating for visitors. Even a few seconds delay when loading a page can be enough to send your customers back to the search results and onto your competitor’s website.

Regular maintenance helps to ensure your website loads quickly and runs smoothly – which keeps your visitors happy.

And it’s also great for your search engine optimisation (SEO). Search engines favour fast-loading websites. So making sure your website is up-to-date helps to keep it visible in the search results.

Content updates

Inaccurate and out-of-date content can turn off prospective customers. It suggests that a business may not be focused on the little details – and that perhaps their service will be likewise.

But it’s not just about removing content that’s no longer relevant. Posting new content – such as blogs, product information and company updates – to your website on a regular basis can increase your enquiries and sales.

Whether that’s by announcing a new service or feature, highlighting an award, addressing frequently asked questions or targeting specific search terms – it all helps to demonstrate your expertise, great service and up-to-date knowledge of your industry.

Backup and recovery

If your website suddenly went offline, sure it’d have an immediate effect on your sales and enquiries. But have you ever considered the investment in time and money you’d have to put into recreating your website from scratch?

Regular backups don’t just protect your website’s day to day operations. They also mean that – if your website does disappear – you won’t have to start all over again.

While your website host may offer regular backups as part of their service, these backups are usually only held for a short period of time. And they’re only saved on the host’s side. So if something happens to the hosting service, there goes your backup too.

The straightforward solution is to regularly backup your website and save that file in a secure secondary location.

DIY vs outsource website maintenance services

If you are going to manage your website maintenance, it’s essential that you keep to a regular schedule. It can be easy to put off these tasks in favour of more urgent business activities. But leave it too long and you increase the risk of something going wrong.

Here’s our suggested monthly maintenance checklist for a small business website: 

  • Site backup – create a complete backup of your website and download the files to a separate location (or two) such as a cloud storage solution and/or external hard drive.
  • Update WordPress, themes and plugins – your website dashboard will show any available updates to your website theme and plugins. Before making these updates, check that the updates are compatible with any other plugins you use or your current theme, along with any customisations you have. After updating, make sure you test essential functionality on your website.
  • Website monitoring and security check – you should run security scans frequently to detect malware, suspicious activity or vulnerabilities.
  • Remove spam comments – check that any comments published to your website are legitimate and remove any spam comments as soon as you see them.
  • Contact form testing – you should test your contact form at least monthly and whenever you update your website software.
  • Run Google Analytics report – this can help you analyse traffic patterns, bounce rates and other relevant metrics to see how visitors use your site and options to improve the flow of traffic and conversions.
  • Upload new content – review essential website pages to make sure the content is up to date, publish any draft blogs, and check your contact information and business hours are current.

While it is quite possible to do this yourself, if you’re not familiar with the website backend and functionality, it can take some time to tick off every step.

As a website designer, a lot of our time is spent on website development. So we know how to do these tasks quite quickly. And that’s the real value of outsourcing your website maintenance. What can take you a day (or more) to complete, we can get done in a matter of hours.

Which means you can focus on your core business activities, while taking one more task off your list.

When was the last time you tidied up your website?

If you haven’t got around to it in a while, maybe it’s time to take that task off your list entirely.

Our website maintenance packages will give you the reassurance that your website is being cared for by an experienced team. 

We’ve created these packages just for small businesses. They’re designed to be affordable, starting from only $89 per month. And it takes just a few minutes to get started.

Take a look at our website maintenance package inclusions and choose which option suits you best.

If you’re not sure which plan to choose – or if there’s something more your website needs to keep it humming – a website audit is an ideal place to start.

We’ll take an in-depth look at your site to identify issues affecting your traffic, security, sales and more. Then work with you to identify a website maintenance package that’s suited to your business objectives and needs.

What's the next step?

If you’ve read through this list and know your website is in desperate need of a tune up, let us know and we can work with you to fix things up as quickly as possible.

Remember, your website is often the first point of contact a potential customer has with your business. You want to make sure you’re not leaving anything to chance.

Get in touch to find out more about our process and what’s included.Annette Camilleri

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