The Importance of Regular Website Updates and Maintenance
Your website is the face of your business. And like everything else in your business, it requires frequent care and attention is required to your website to ensure long-term success.
It’s not as easy as building a website and leaving it untouched. In today’s digital space, user-friendliness is king, and it’s important to keep your site relevant over the long haul. Consistent software updates will improve your site’s uptime and help you collect valuable traffic while keeping visitors secure.
Learn how you can keep your website stable and thriving with these simple tips for website maintenance.
What is Website Maintenance?
Website maintenance involves a number of tasks aimed at keeping your website secure and functional on a regular basis. This includes performing checks on the technical factors that can bog down your website like page speed timings, software updates, and security patches.
Proper maintenance steps are essential for ensuring your site stays engaging and accessible for users.
A WordPress website should update plugins regularly to ensure full functionality and prevent downtime. For example, if your website uses a plugin to generate a sign up form, having that plugin outdated will cost you valuable leads and conversions.
Keeping an eye out for developer updates will help you keep each plugin performing at its best. WordPress delivers notifications whenever updates are available, but it’s important to act on these updates sooner than later.
The WordPress CMS will update frequently as well which can lead to plugin compatibility issues if plugins aren’t updated in time. Plus, if you are running older plugins that are no longer being updated, you might have to delete these altogether.
A WordPress management team will help you monitor software updates to keep your site current. They will regularly check plugin compatibility, test updated plugins, and ultimately delete any unused or out of date plugins.
Backing Up the Website
Lost data is a nightmare for website owners. Losing critical files can prevent users from accessing key elements on your site or even prevent them from loading it altogether.
Backups should be performed on a daily basis to provide the safest restore points in case anything goes wrong. In addition to these automated backups, your management team should perform manual backups as needed, especially when there are changes to plugins and other critical files.
Page speed is a direct ranking factor, making it a critical component for website owners who want to rank and gain organic traffic. There are many ways for developers to improve your site’s speed, including by using more optimized code, achieving better server performance, and ensuring proper mobile optimization.
Caching and image optimization are other vehicles for faster load times. These files can take up loads of space on web servers and are harder to load on mobile devices. Keeping your website mobile friendly is another critical ranking factor.
In the age of cybersecurity threats, phishing scams, and malware fears, website security needs to be top of mind for all site owners.
Top Security Vulnerabilities
Protecting yourself from security vulnerabilities will ensure your most vital data remains confidential. Keeping hackers from exploiting site vulnerabilities will keep your business and your customers safe, instilling confidence in your customers when they access your platform.
Top security vulnerabilities among new websites include out of date plugins, themes, and lack of a proper WordPress security apparatus. If you are using a base theme on your website, it’s important to check periodically with the theme’s developer to ensure you are applying updates, as oftentimes these include enhanced security measures to safeguard your site.
Injection attacks are another area of concern. This can happen by way of SQL or cross-site scripting which will inject dangerous code into the site’s input fields in an effort to gain unauthorized access and obtain sensitive information. It’s another reason to hire an experienced WordPress management team who can sniff out these threats and keep your website safer.
It might sound commonsensical, but make sure all website passwords are several characters in length and utilize a mixture of numbers, letters, and symbols that cannot be easily hacked. There are many password generation tools to help you keep your entire team safer.
Keeping users away from sensitive data is paramount. There are many user authentication practices that can prevent bad actors from reaching this data, including the use of captcha, two factor authentication, and security questions.
Session management is the next phase following user authentication, involving the user’s myriad of interactions with the website during their browsing session. If the necessary security measures are not implemented, each session could pose a huge risk to users and your brand.
Regular security updates will ensure your website stays current with the latest software updates as well as identifying any vulnerabilities before they get worse. While many security plugins will alert you of a problem, it’s better to have a dedicated team standing by to swoop in and react.
Maintaining and updating your website can have a significant impact on the overall user experience. When you’re checking the boxes, users will rejoice. You will start to see longer sessions durations, lower bounce rates, and high conversion rates.
Here are some of the top benefits of giving your audience a tip top user experience:
Better Organic Rankings
It turns out that when users like your website, it tends to rank higher. Search engines have been prioritizing sites that deliver a quality UX by looking at factors like load times, quality of content, and simple navigation structures.
Your site should be easy to comprehend from a goal standpoint, i.e. what actions do you want customers to take? And it should be accessible for people with disabilities.
People go to your website to complete an objective. This objective is called the conversion. If people can easily find what they’re looking for, whether it’s joining your mailing list or purchasing a product, they will have a higher chance of being a return visitor.
By maintaining a secure and fully functional website, you will ensure that users find exactly what they need to make informed decisions. When users know that their information will be protected at all times, they are far more likely to give you their business.
Ranking in Google isn’t as simple as posting keyword targeted content. It’s also important to have a website that is technically sound and is adhering to the latest search engine optimization standards.
SEO has evolved over the years from being a wild west environment—where you could rank for just about anything by using black hat tactics—to becoming more contingent brand metrics like expertise, authority, and trust (E-A-T).
Your ability to rank well in search engine results pages is based in the following areas.
On-page SEO includes the content written in the HTML document that’s visible on the page. This encompasses all headers, paragraph text, images, and other visuals that provide information about the page.
Website maintenance checks must monitor the integrity of new content as well as fluctuations in older content. Broken links are a common pitfall for any website, new or old, as these can lead to a poor user experience and are a bad way to relay information. These are links that lead users to dead pages (404 errors) and they can pop up whenever a website takes a page down or changes their URL structure.
Broken links and other detrimental changes to content can be monitored through Google Search Console.
Technical factors include mobile usability, site speed, and website structure. This could be negatively affected by incompatible plugins, abrupt software updates, or accidental changes to the site’s code.
A website audit is a critical component for diagnosing a site’s current state and determining what adjustments should be made to improve its search presence. This involves pouring over Google Search Console for notes on indexation and coverage issues, in addition to noting which keywords are receiving the most clicks and impressions.
Off-page SEO is related to backlinks and other off-site signals that impact the SEO standing of your website. This relates to website maintenance because it’s important to check the quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to the website as this can be a sign of brand reach and keyword rankings more broadly.
Website maintenance tasks also include looking out for toxic backlinks, which are links pointing to your site that are spam-generated or are coming from unwanted locations. If toxic backlinks appear to hinder the performance of your site, there’s an option to disavow them which essentially tells Google to ignore the links altogether.
By addressing all of these areas of SEO importance, you will ensure that your website increases its visibility and ranks well. You will also give yourself a competitive advantage over sites that don’t follow their off-page SEO signals very closely.
Keep Up With Website Maintenance
Identifying and fixing vulnerabilities should go hand in hand with routine website maintenance tasks. From a security perspective, regular maintenance and site updates will lessen the risk of downtime and improve the user experience as well.
Keeping your website current with the latest Google algorithm updates will keep you out of the SEO dungeon and encourage visitors to become paid customers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is website maintenance important for site security?
Website maintenance ensures your website remains up-to-date and avoids security vulnerabilities that can destroy it.
What are the benefits of keeping your website up-to-date?
Benefits of website updates include better visibility on Google search result pages, an enhanced user experience, and compatible plugins.
How often should I update my website?
Website backups should be performed at nearly a daily cadence if possible. This ensures a consistent restore point should anything get broken on the site. Hiring a WordPress management team will ensure your plugins, code, and other technical components remain current.
Why should I hire a website management team to update my website?
A website management team will make sure that all critical components get updated without sacrificing downtime or website quality. It’s a large set of tasks that can be offloaded from your shoulders so you can focus on your day-to-day business operations.