How To Best Maintain Your Website
You invested handsomely in your website, making sure your design and content are an accurate reflection of your brand and optimized to drive maximum organic traffic. But now what? Whether you are a small local business owner or a nationwide enterprise—you must maintain your website, or your investment goes to waste.
I Thought My Website Was Perfect, What Else Do I Need To Do?
Your website may very well be perfect or have been at one point in time—but like anything, you must invest in keeping it that way. This means you must stay on top of your back of house maintenance and updates. For starters, WordPress releases periodic security and feature updates. You will be alerted in your dashboard every time a new update is available. You must also keep an eye out for plugin and theme updates—both of which will improve upon your current features and functions.
LEVERAGING WHAT YOU LEARN THROUGH ANALYTICS
Every website owner must keep a close eye on their website analytics tools. This goes beyond the basic traffic information found in your control panel. If you haven’t yet done so, set up Google Analytics and Tag Manager, both of which are free. Google Analytics provides you with the in-depth data required to understand who your target audience is, what pages and blog posts are most effective, where your website traffic is coming from, and much more.
Tag Manager is a must as it empowers you to add tracking pixels without modifying your website code. This helps you determine which marketing tags are the most effective. This is essential for building upon your current marketing strategies and shifting gears when your strategies are no longer working.
THE KPIs YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING
Yes, you want to check to ensure a steady stream of new customers and want to assess what cities, states, countries they are coming from. Even the devices desktop, laptop, smartphone visitors are viewing your website on. However, there are many other KPIs you want to keep a close eye on, including:
Bounce Rate—this is your percentage of single-page visits. For example, when someone clicks on a Facebook ad that links back to your website, do they only read the blog post they land on or do they continue to browse your entire website? An ideal bounce rate is somewhere around 40 percent.
Unique Website Visitors—these are the first-time visitors to your website, which are required to further build your business. Yes, you want plenty of returning customers too, but you need a steady stream of new visitors.
Pages Viewed Per Session—if a customer performs an online search for “spas in Atlanta, Georgia” and your spa comes up in the search results, do they click on your site then browse your services? Or do they back arrow to check your competitors? If they only view one page, you may not be providing the best impression to them.
Average Time Spent On Page—ideally, you want visitors to stay on your website for a minimum of two minutes. Any shorter, and they are less likely to convert to a sale or later return to your website.
Top Landing Pages—this will be your Home page or highest performing pages and blog posts. Knowing what these are can help you improve the pages and guide your decisions when making new landing pages and online marketing material.
Top Exit Pages—on the flipside of your top landing pages are your top exit pages. You want to know what page you are losing the most websites visitors on, so you can tweak the layout, text, and images to improve.
SEO AND WEBSITE TRENDS
Assuming that your website was built with the latest website design trends, with SEO optimization built-in. It was also built with the top industry and local keywords. However, these are all things that change over time. Without updating your website design, mobile layout and keywords, your organic traffic will suffer. Speaking of mobile layout, if your website is not yet mobile responsive, it’s definitely time for an update. Even if your website is mobile responsive, look at it from a variety of different mobile devices like Android, iPhone and notebooks. If the layout is responsive but not clean, intuitive, or consistent it’s time for a redesign.
WEBSITE SECURITY AND BACKUPS
Websites are susceptible to virus, malware and hackers. Performing the periodic WordPress and theme updates will help with security, your website may need additional security built-in—such as a custom firewall or purchasing an SSL certificate to increase your website security. Even with http vs. https, websites still need to be backed up just in case. Otherwise, you may run the risk of needing to have your entire website built from scratch, losing your entire inventory database, and maybe even years of website content. None of these are fast, easy or inexpensive to resolve.
SHOULD YOU MAINTAIN YOUR WEBSITE IN-HOUSE OR HIRE A MANAGEMENT COMPANY?
Keeping up with SEO and website trends is complex, because they change frequently—and not every trend is right for every website. For example, a retail website will have vastly different trends to follow than hair salon or an executive services website. Therefore, many businesses have a trusted website management team they turn to for their periodic updates.
Hiring a management company ensures all the website maintenance above is managed in a timely manner. While there is a monthly maintenance cost, the time and money saved for trying to research and do it yourself is well worth the fee. Not to mention, a website management agency does more than just update your website—but optimizes it for performance and conversions.
Now that you know the importance of maintaining your website, you are ready to get started!
Cider is a Software Development Company based in the heart of Silicon Valley. We combine business domain knowledge and technology expertise of more than 50 development studios spread around the world. We specialize in Software maintenance services to ensure the highest levels of your website or application performance and business-critical levels of service.
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