Regular website maintenance is a crucial part of operating a website that performs well on Google and encourages leads to convert into customers. But what is website maintenance? Do you need to hire a web design company? And can you do it yourself, or is it necessary to partner with a site maintenance business?
Continue reading to learn the answers to these questions and more.
What Is Website Maintenance?
Just like your home needs periodic maintenance, your business website also needs regular upkeep. This is called website maintenance and is the task of routinely checking in on your website and making sure everything is running smoothly.
Regularly giving your website a tune-up eliminates the risk of downtime, maintains your site’s speed, prevents broken links from stacking up, and a host of other benefits that we’ll explain in a moment.
Essentially, website maintenance ensures that leads and customers visiting your site are met with a comfortable, fast, and intuitive user experience, which encourages them to sign up, buy, and come back again in the future.
- More helpful reading: https://www.fannit.com/blog/brand-design-development/
How To Maintain a Website: Tools & Skills Needed
In just a moment we’ll break down exactly what tasks you need to add to your website maintenance plan, but first, let’s quickly run through some of the tools and skills that you need in order to keep your website in optimal shape.
Website Maintenance Skills
Here are some of the skills required to stay on top of your web maintenance plan:
- A grasp of the latest SEO best practices.
- An eye for design.
- An understanding of website security attacks and how to prevent them.
Website Maintenance Tools
You’ll also need access to and know how to use some of the following tools:
- Image resizing tool (e.g. Tiny JPG)
- Website analytics tool (e.g. Google Analytics, Ahrefs, Moz Pro)
- Content improvement tool (e.g. SurferSEO, Siteliner)
- Your website’s content management system (e.g. WordPress, Squarespace, Wix)
- Your website’s cPanel (provided by your web hosting provider)
If you feel a bit rusty on the skills or tools listed above, don’t worry, the Fannit marketing blog contains dozens of helpful tutorials that can bring you up to speed on these abilities, as well as other internet marketing tips.
- More helpful reading: https://www.fannit.com/blog/visual-content-improve-ecommerce-user-experience/
What Does Website Maintenance Include?
Your website requires the harmonization of many different elements in order to run smoothly. This includes navigation, content, plugin updates, branding, sales funnels, loading speed, backlinks, visual design, security updates, and more. Because of this, quality website design and maintenance requires a lengthy checklist of to-dos.
While this may seem overwhelming at first, don’t worry, these tasks can be split up depending on how often you need to do them, making your website maintenance plan much more manageable.
- More helpful reading: https://www.fannit.com/inbound-marketing/what-is-a-landing-page/
Here’s an easy checklist to help you keep your website purring along smoothly:
Weekly Website Maintenance Tasks
- Check your website dashboard for error alerts or updates every week. Make sure you approve plugin and software updates. Failing to do so can result in functionality and security risks (especially for WordPress sites).
- Use a page-loading tool to make sure all your site’s pages are loading quickly and without errors. Tool options include Google Search Engine Console, GT Metrix, and WebPagetest.
- Review your site’s forms to ensure they’re all operating correctly.
- Backup your site and store your backup in a secure location. This is a task that can usually be automated using a plugin like UpdraftPlus.
- Delete spam comments. This can be automated using a plugin like Akismet.
- Use a tool like Screaming Frog to ensure your site doesn’t have any 404 errors. If you find some, fix or redirect them to ensure users don’t get lost on your site.
- Check your site’s navigation for broken links. This can quickly be done using a tool like Ahref’s Free Broken Link Checker.
- We also encourage you to publish at least one blog post per week on your website. Keeping your blog regularly updated helps your site rank for more keywords, grows your organic traffic, and establishes your company as an expert in your niche.
Monthly Web Maintenance Tasks
- Analyze your business site’s performance statistics from the previous month and look for optimization opportunities. You can generate these statistics and data visualizations using tools like Google Analytics, Ahrefs, or Semrush.
- Review the load speed of your entire website with a tool like GT Metrix. If your loading speed is suffering, read through the Top Issues report generated by GT Metrix and click “Learn how to improve this” to repair your site’s speed.
- When it comes to SEO best practices, your blog posts and webpages aren’t evergreen, so review your site’s content with a tool like SurferSEO to check for SEO optimizations.
- Review the security scans generated by your security app (e.g. Wordfence). If anything looks out of place or suspicious, make sure you contact a website security professional.
Quarterly Site Maintenance Tasks
- Read over your site’s forms, popups, and CTAs, optimizing and A/B testing for improvement.
- Test your website’s responsive design to ensure it looks great and works well on all devices.
- We recommend taking a few minutes every quarter to review your website’s architecture and look for optimization opportunities.
- It’s also a good idea to review your site’s meta descriptions and titles to ensure that they’re working effectively and are in-line with current SEO best practices.
- Speaking of SEO, you should conduct a website audit once per quarter to ensure your site’s overall SEO is up to date. Ahrefs and Semrush are two tools you can use to do this.
- While you’re at it, review your internet marketing strategy and overall SEO strategy to see if you need to refresh or change anything.
Yearly Webpage Maintenance Tasks
- On January 1st, search your website for all references to the previous year and update them to the current year. For example, if you have a blog post titled Best Lawnmowing Tips for 2020, update it to read Best Lawnmowing Tips for 2021.
- Verify that your website domain name is renewed and that your card info for any paid plugins is current.
- Use a tool like Ahrefs to see which pages and blog posts are driving the most traffic to your website. Take care to update pdate these pieces of content to ensure they continue performing well.
- Similarly, see which blog posts aren’t ranking and put them through an SEO tool like SurferSEO to bring them up to speed with current best practices. This will help you grow your online presence.
- Finally, sit down with your website design team at least once per year to see if you can make improvements to your site’s current branding and design. If you want your site to convert leads, it needs to look fresh, current, and intentional about its user experience.
Why Is Website Maintenance Important?
By this point you may be wondering, “Is website maintenance even important?” And we understand where you’re coming from — proper site maintenance requires a lot of time and effort and if you don’t know how to do it, it also requires training. This level of work can put a lot of people off of maintaining their site, but we encourage you to not make this mistake.
Consistent maintenance delivers more than a well-functioning and attractive website. It also generates more sales, keeps you and your customers safe, and helps you land your company on the first page of Google.
To help you understand why site maintenance is so crucial to the success of your business, let’s run through some of its benefits in more detail.
- More helpful reading: https://www.fannit.com/blog/what-is-schema-markup/
Every year, an increasing number of people are using the internet to find products and services, and of all this search traffic, a whopping 71% goes to the first page of Google. And of the sites listed on the first page, position no. 1 on Google earns 10x more clicks than the last position on the first page.
All this to say, in 2021, it is crucial to the success of your business that you not only get your company’s website on the first page of Google, but that you get it as close to the no. 1 position as possible.
To this end, regularly maintaining your web pages ensures that you stay up to date with the latest SEO best practices and increases the chances of your site landing on the first page of Google.
- More helpful reading: https://www.fannit.com/blog/personalized-marketing/
In addition to earning your website more organic traffic, following a website maintenance plan also ensures that your web pages never look outdated. A well-maintained site inspires trust and motivates people to browse your services, fill out contact forms, and join email lists.
Website Security Perks
Another huge benefit of consistent maintenance is that it helps you stay on top of software updates, security updates, and other maintenance tasks that promote the health and security of your web pages.
Allowing your web pages to sit without updating plugins and patches makes it easy for hackers to steal your data as well as that of your customers. Mitigate these security concerns by ensuring SSL certificates are functioning properly and other security measures are maintained.
As your company grows, so does your brand image. Regular maintenance helps keep your branding cohesive and maintains your brand image by eliminating broken links, slow loading speeds, and poorly written content.
Keeps You Ahead of the Competition
Keep your website updated and running smoothly to gain favor from the Google search engine, grow your rankings, and move your site above the competition in the search results (SERPs). Also, as you make it a habit to maintain your site, you’ll notice that a lot of your competitors are negligent in this regard. This gives you a competitive advantage, as your web pages will communicate a higher level of professionalism than the poorly maintained sites run by competitors.
Failing to keep your website maintained can result in costly damages. These may come in the form of security breaches or website problems that require costly emergency repairs. Avoid these financial pitfalls by investing into the well-being of your site and following a web maintance plan.
- More helpful reading: https://www.fannit.com/blog/ecommerce-platforms/
How Much Does Website Maintenance & Design Cost?
Website maintenance costs vary depending on the size and purpose of your site. For example, a personal blog can be run essentially for free using a platform like Blogger or Wix. On the other hand, professional and company sites have a bit more overhead.
Here’s how much maintenance costs for a variety of sites:
- Personal blog or website: costs range from $0 up to $100 per month depending on the hosting platform and the SEO tools you’d like to use.
- Small professional/business website: costs can range from around $50 up to $150 per month..
- Medium-to-large business/corporate site: maintenance costs can range from $180 up to $3800 per month.
- Ecommerce website: because of the data liabilities associated with e-commerce sites, monthly maintenance costs tend to start around $1500 and can increase to $3000 depending on the level of tools, security, and other services you need.
Additional Web Maintenance Expenses
When budgeting for your maintenance plans, here are some additional expenses to take into consideration:
Most businesses use a hosting provider like Bluehost, GoDaddy, or HostGator to host their website. Web hosting services range between $24 and $25,000 dollars a year, depending on the kind of hosting you need. Four popular options are:
- Using a website builder for web hosting. This includes services like Wix or Squarespace, which charge between $60 and $180 per year for hosting.
- Shared hosting. The host puts your site on a server with other sites. This is the least expensive option, making it great for new/small sites. Shared hosting can run into speed issues though if your site has high traffic or is a large site. Costs between $30 and $110 per year, depending on the provider.
- VPS hosting. Virtual private servers (VPS) also share your server with other sites, but ensures that your site has a dedicated amount of space. This can help improve web page loading speeds. VPS hosting costs between $230 and $550 per year.
- Dedicated hosting. This option is ideal for large, high-traffic sites that require optimal performance and speed. Depending on the provider and size of your site, this hosting option can cost between $1100 and $25,000.
Domain Name Renewal
Another website maintenance-related cost is domain name renewal. Depending on how much you purchased your domain name for, this can cost you anywhere from $2 to $100 per year.
Domains containing popular keywords tend to cost significantly more. Make sure you renew your domain name on time, as failing to do so can allow someone else to purchase the name.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate
If you’re using a hosting service, like Bluehost or Squarespace, you can often get an SSL certificate for free. But if you need a higher level of encryption or are self-hosting, then you’ll need to purchase your own SSL certificate. Depending on the level of protection you need, this can cost anywhere from $1 to $130 per month.
Website Maintenance Plan Options
Now that you know what website maintenance tasks are and why they’re important, the next step is figuring out how you’re going to get it done. For this, most businesses have three options:
1. Maintain Your Website Yourself
This is what most business owners start out doing and if you run a small business with a small website and have a lot of free time on your hands then this method can be sustainable.
But, the problem is that most business owners don’t have the free time necessary to learn how to correctly maintain their web pages, so when something goes wrong, they don’t have the ability to repair it, resulting in a spiral of ever-worsening website issues.
- More helpful reading: https://www.fannit.com/blog/seo-google-analytics-tips/
2. Hire Additional Employees to Manage Your Website Maintenance
The traditional response to company needs, like website maintenance, has been to hire staff to do these tasks. But because website maintenance requires such specialized knowledge and extensive training, hiring an in-house website specialist is usually far more expensive than it should be. For this reason, an increasing number of companies are choosing to outsource their website maintenance, which brings us to option #3…
3. Partner With a Website Maintenance Company
The easiest and most affordable way to secure reliable, efficient, and consistent website maintenance is to purchase a website maintenance plan from an agency specializing in website design, SEO, internet marketing, and site maintenance.
This option gets you instant access to industry-leading expertise and technology for a fraction of the price it would cost you to hire, train, and equip an in-house site maintenance team.
- More helpful reading: https://www.fannit.com/blog/colors-that-make-people-buy/
The Benefits of Paying for Website Maintenance & Design Services
Outsourcing your website maintenance delivers a number of benefits, including:
Keep Your Focus On What You Do Best
As a business owner, you receive the greatest ROI by focusing your attention on what you do best — growing your sales, networking, and keeping your customers happy.
So instead of dividing your attention by learning how to do website maintenance, partner with an expert web maintenance agency so that you can keep your focus on what you do best.
Take Advantage of the Experts
Another perk of paying for design and site maintenance services is that it enables you to take advantage of expert knowledge from the get-go and helps you skip the months/years that it would take you to overcome the learning curve of figuring out how to use website tools like Ahrefs, the cPanel, SurferSEO, and Google Analytics yourself.
How To Tell if Partnering With a Website Maintenance Agency Is Right for You
If you’re having trouble deciding whether or not you should hire a website maintenance services company, here are some questions that can help you come to a conclusion:
- Would maintaining my business website require a significant time investment in order to learn how to maintain it properly? If you don’t know how to use the tools listed throughout this blog post and aren’t sure what good SEO looks like, then partnering with an internet marketing agency is likely a worthwhile investment.
- Does my website use a lot of customized content (e.g. plugins, coding)? If so, then you should outsource your maintenance as properly maintaining custom sites can require extensive coding capabilities.
- Do I want my web pages to rank on search engines and bring in a lot of organic search traffic? If so, then you’ll need to partner with a website maintenance agency that specializes in SEO services.
Basically, if you’d like to grow your site’s rankings, bring in more traffic, and convert leads into customers, then it’s likely a good idea to partner with a company offering a quality website maintenance package.
- More helpful reading: https://www.fannit.com/blog/drone-photography-production/
Professional Website Maintenance Services
Here at Fannit, we offer a variety of robust website maintenance packages to help you keep your business site in optimal shape. Our team includes sales, IT, SEO, design, programming, and content experts who all work together to fine-tune our clients’ websites for success on the first page of Google.
If you are struggling with your website maintenance plan and would like some help, contact our team of industry-leading experts today to get started. We’d be happy to answer your questions and provide you with a pricing plan estimate for your web maintenance needs. A stronger and better-performing website is just around the corner.