Keep it simple: The three step business website maintenance checklist
Learn how regular website updates in security, SEO, and content can effectively protect and grow your business
If your business is serious about its online reputation, regular website maintenance is required to keep up with the inevitable changes of search engines, constant evolution of your competition, and new security features needed to evade cyber attacks.
To protect your business and stay ahead of the curve, explore the three basic factors your team or web design partner should address regularly during your website’s maintenance.
#1: Security features
Whether your website has e-commerce capabilities or not, the importance of staying up to date on website security is a no-brainer. Companies across the globe lose massive amounts of money to cyber crime each year with the cost to recover from a ransomware attack estimated to be nearly $2 million, more than doubling from the year prior. 
Although you may think you’d be excluded from this costly risk as a small or midsize business, that’s not the case. Even businesses with 10 employees or less are vulnerable to cyber attacks, maybe even more so than larger ones in certain ways due to limited resources and less security measures to break through. 
With a recent report finding that 52% of websites contained an outdated content management system (CMS) like WordPress when they were hacked, one of the best methods to protect your business against a cyber attack is to keep your website updated regularly.  If you do not have an e-commerce site, it’s generally recommended that you update your CMS every six months instead of with every new version available.
However, it’s important to note that you and your team should not update your CMS on your live site or it’s highly likely that your website will break and no longer function.
It’s recommended that you work with an external web development partner that will make the updates on a demo server and run tests before pushing the updates live to ensure security and functionality. Although it may require a few hours of work, that truly pales in comparison to the potential costs of falling victim to cyber crime.
#2: Search engine optimization (SEO)
With 4.3 billion users globally and a 92% market share, it’s no wonder that Google is widely accepted as the leader in the search engine market. 
With so much user traffic, it would be naive for any business not to capitalize on the abundant opportunities that SEO has to offer as part of a digital marketing strategy.
Google makes updates on an almost monthly basis, so it’s beneficial for a member of your team or your outsourced SEO agency partner to keep an eye on these changes. They can make recommendations to both tailor your SEO strategy and make website updates accordingly.
As recently as last month, Google implemented a criteria that prioritizes people-first content, meaning sites with original, value-add content written by people, for people will be promoted in the Google search rankings while content written primarily for search engine traffic will be effectively buried. 
For years, Google and other search engines have been aggressively fighting certain SEO behaviors in content, design, and development that people try to abuse to increase ranking, but now only generate the opposite results. Old practices such as keyword stuffing, invisible text, and duplicate content will surely hurt a website’s page ranking as Google actively punishes such tactics.
It is important for websites to stop outdated, abusive practices, and embrace the new Google standards as they come. This doesn’t require daily monitoring, but entirely ignoring the standards placed will only result in Google ignoring your business’s website with no opportunity to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs).
#3: Content updates
One of the most overlooked, but easy and beneficial website maintenance tasks is ensuring the content on your website is up-to-date.
Outdated content is frustrating for everyone and it will quickly result in lost leads for your business. We have all experienced disappointment after clicking a link, only to find a blank page or incorrect contact information. Hopefully, a 404 error message will be displayed at the very least, letting the user know where the fault lies, yet this still leaves the visitor to find the answer they seek on another website.
Accurate content only requires validation on your company’s part. This is typically very easy to verify and just as easy to correct, but can make a world of a difference for your users.
If you don’t want to regularly check your website content for updates, an external marketing partner can take responsibility for the task and ask you for new information on an as needed basis to ensure your site visitors find the answers they seek and are easily able to reach you.
Google and other search engines will not wait for businesses whose digital presence lags behind. If your website becomes out-of-date, it will be ignored and replaced on search results with those of your competitors that embrace the future and modern standards of the web.
Need help with your website maintenance?
Our expert team of web designers and developers are well-versed in conducting routine website maintenance for our ongoing agency support clients. We follow all best practices to ensure their websites are optimally secure and functional at all times.
If you’re dissatisfied with your current website, we also offer a wide variety of website design services depending on your unique needs, including:
- Auditing and research
- Website design
- WordPress website development
- Website content development
- Site optimization for search engines
For the clients whose websites we create, they are not required to sign up with us for regular website maintenance, but it is an option. We’re also available on an as needed basis for website updates and support.
Ready to explore how we can support your business?
Learn more about our website design services.