As a small business owner, it’s crucial to maintain your website. This is because a well-functioning website is essential to achieving a quality customer experience, which can be the key to secure new customers and leads.
Website maintenance serves various key purposes. For beginners, it helps ensure that your website is secure and safe and that you’re not leaving the door open for hackers or possible data breaches. It’s also essential to how your website runs, as regular audits and updates ensure that you’re running at optimum speed.
Buggy, slow, and non-secure websites are highly detrimental to your business growth and SEO. So, if you don’t want this to happen, make sure to perform proper and regular website maintenance to determine any issues in their earliest stages and avoid some common pitfalls that may hold back the success of your brand.
To get started, follow the tips below:
Check For Page Errors
Page errors occur when a file name was changed, a page was moved to another folder, or the page was already deleted. They can also be due to malfunctioning web servers.
There are different types of page errors and the common ones include the following:
- 403 Error – This happens when servers don’t complete a request because users aren’t allowed to access it.
- 404 Error – This is one of the common errors that people see often, which occurs when users try to access a web page that no longer or doesn’t exist.
- 504 Error – This indicates a gateway timeout that occurs when servers didn’t get a timely response from another server when loading the page.
When any of the above errors occur, it requires immediate fixing as they can cause frustration and inconvenience to your customers. Google will also mark you down when your website links fail to work. Luckily, solving a 403 error is simple. The best solution is a continual website audit to ensure bad links or pages are removed and fixed.
Perform Formal Usability Testing
You don’t have to do formal usability testing every month or during your quarterly maintenance schedule. However, make sure to do it at least once a year. By doing this test, you’ll gain more insights into what’s working or what’s not on your website.
Aside from testing for general usability, it’s also a good idea to test for accessibility, particularly if you want your website to be usable for people with disabilities.
Perform Backup Before You Start Tweaking Your Website
Always make a backup of your current website before you start tweaking it or work with a good website design company for necessary changes. Once you do this, you’ll always have a reliable copy in case you make a mistake.
The golden rule when it comes to website backup is keeping at least three backups of your website in different places. For instance, you can store one version on your portable hard drive and the other copy on a USB flash drive. Having your backups stored in various places will save you in case one of them gets corrupted.
Use The Analytics
Punchy content and great design don’t count for much if your website fails to help you reach your core goals like better engagement rates. This is why it’s a good idea to check your website’s analytics page to assess the different engagement metrics.
If you notice some negative patterns like low average time on the page, it may mean that something’s wrong with your website. It may also indicate that there’s something wrong with the user experience your website provides.
When you check your analytics, you can easily figure out what pages should be optimized. But you have to keep in mind that it’s not advisable to update pages based on the results of analytics alone. So, make sure to check how your pages perform on the back-end as well because this will help you determine which particular pages you should improve or change.
If Google Analytics is the tool you’re using, be sure to set up filters and views. Doing so will help you prioritize what to track and take the information in a digestible way. You may also customize your reports so they can track the data you’re most interested in based on your goals.
Check For Updates
Web hosting services put out updates regularly, but most website owners often neglect their importance. In fact, it’s one of the most overlooked practices of managing a small business website. However, website owners should know that such updates can be critical for things like website function and security, so it’s essential not to get too far behind and be on the lookout for them.
After installing updates, play around on your website for a few minutes to ensure nothing has been disrupted. It’s also vital to note if any of these updates could affect your customers. So, make sure to inform your customers ahead of time and run updates when your website has the most downtime.
Website maintenance for any kind of business, but especially small businesses, can be a daunting task. However, by putting extra effort into it, you’ll be able to improve your website and avoid any potential issues in the long run. Just prioritize website maintenance and enjoy a website that performs better and offers an optimized experience for all your users.