WEB MAINTENANCE: WHEN AN OPTION REALLY ISN'T AN OPTION
Buying a car? Everyone knows that in order to keep a car running and protect that investment, yearly inspections, oil changes and tire rotations are required.
Buying a house? Mortgages generally take 30 years to pay off, which instantly makes it an even more significant financial investment. During that span of time a dedicated homeowner is responsible for cutting the grass, weeding and trimming back trees and other vegetation on their property. He or she will need to eventually replace windows and the roof and inside the house, he or she will need to address the electrical system, HVAC, plumbing and a large number of appliances that each have their own maintenance plans. And don’t get me started on additions or expansions…
Digital products, such as landing pages, campaign microsites and full websites are no different. They’re significant investments that require ongoing adjustments and optimizations in order to stay relevant, operational and secure.
The biggest misconception facing clients who advertise online today is that after the long and arduous process of project discovery, site mapping, wireframing, designing and developing their website, the day it launches is the end of their journey. In reality, maintaining that online property post-launch to maximize ROI and push its life expectancy is the real challenge. Here are four key areas to focus on when maintaining your website:
You’ve all heard the saying, “Content is king.” That should be a clear indication that one of the most important maintenance tasks is to update your website with new, engaging and relevant content. Regular content updates help with SEO, while drawing new users to the site and bringing previous users back for more.
Content and SEO updates go hand in hand. It might surprise you to know that most website SEO tags are never adjusted or updated after the initial launch of the website. This is a relatively simple maintenance task that can take your site a long way and help promote organic search results.
In addition to standard SEO, Oxford can employ Schema to further maximize your search results. Instead of having Google attempt to understand what your website is all about, we can use Schema.org to detail everything that we want to tell Google about a site and serve it up to them in an easy to understand format.
The majority of Oxford-built websites use our proprietary business management software known as the Oxford Enterprise Portal, but we do have quite a few clients who are using open source CMS platforms like WordPress and Drupal. It is imperative to make sure CMS versions and plug-ins are kept up to date. Most modern hacks or cyber attacks happen due to ignored update notifications, so stay persistent and backup website files regularly just to stay safe.
We mentioned keeping SEO up to date, but what about using Analytics to identify parts of the website that aren’t achieving the client’s goals? Event tracking involves tagging important calls to action (CTA) throughout the website to provide insights into user flow and behavior. Interpreting results and making adjustments could increase user engagement or lead generation.
Here’s a word of advice: the next time your inspection is due on the car, or you have to buy a new washer or dryer, remind yourself to take a look at your business’ website. Set yourself a monthly reminder, or every other month, depending on your bandwidth and budget.
Maybe it’s a good time to update the home page or post a new blog article. It might be a good time to review the analytics on your contact page and see how you could increase lead generation. And maybe … just maybe, there’s a security patch or update for your CMS.
Most importantly, do what you can, when you can, in order to get the most out of your digital products.