12 Point Website Maintenance Checklist

Phil Dossett 06 February, 2018 Tags: Web Design, SEO, 

If you want to optimise your website’s return-on-investment, provide the best experience for your customers and maximise lead generation, then your website needs to be maintained regularly.

If we care for our vehicle, we’ll follow the recommended maintenance plan and have it serviced regularly. It’s not that we expect it to run radically better the next day but we know that regular maintenance will keep it running at its peak and as efficiently as possible. It will pick up any issues early and hopefully mitigate more expensive break-downs. And we’ll tweak and replace items like tyres, brakes and wipers that wear out.

Unfortunately, the maintenance program on business websites is seldom as thorough! After investing the price of a vehicle, on a professional website, it’s surprising that many clients are reluctant to fork out the funds for a regular maintenance programme.

Check 1 – Website Backups 

Make sure that your website files and database backups are being automatically performed on at least a weekly basis. Restore from backup at least once every six months to ensure the backups are valid. Verify that backups are also stored off site or include a cloud backup system.

Check 2 – Website Errors

Check all error log files and messages at Google Search Console to make sure there are no major issues.

Check 3 – Software Updates

Apply available security patches for any software your site relies on (e.g. PHP, content management systems, ecommerce carts, etc.) Ensure you have a full site backup before applying updates. Check website and extension functions after applying updates. Evaluate non-critical software updates to see if they’re worth applying.

Check 4 – Broken Links

Run a link checker to crawl your site and look for broken links that can annoy users and reduce search engine rankings. Use a free tool like Online Website Link Checker or a website auditing and SEO app like SEMrush.

Check 5 – Site Speed

No one likes slow page loads including Google. Use Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to check how quickly your website pages load and get actionable recommendations. Ensure that website editors loading appropriately resized images and that the website itself is adequately optimising images.

Check 6 – Sitemaps

Sitemap files tell search engines the structure of your website and help incorrectly indexing your site with Google. Check the sitemap to ensure that it is up to date. Check for broken links to deleted legacy pages. Also check to ensure links to newly added and important pages are updated within the sitemap. Check that the sitemap.xml file is automatically updating. Submit it to search engines if necessary.

Check 7 – Website Forms

Forms are usually an important part of lead generation and need to be checked regularly for script errors or changes in destination emails. The connection to automation apps and email lists should be tested as well.

Check 8 – Analytics & Conversions

Check for active tracking scripts on all pages particularly on static sites with automated Content Management. Check and test Goals and conversion data in your analytics reports to confirm that key actions and events are being recorded for analysis.

Check 9 – Search Engine Optimisation

Use a website auditor tool like SEMrush to find structural problems with your site that may affect how search engines view your site like missing meta titles, poor responsive design or duplicate content. Correct critical issues and plan a time to address other issues.

Check 10 – Content Grammar & Readability

Over time, errors can creep into your site content as changes are made by numerous people. Read and correct all content on the site. Check often forgotten “thank you” pages. This could include checking ALT text associated with images that search engines use to index what that content is about.

Check 11 – Website Technology

As new CMS platforms and code technologies like AJAX evolve, many website scripts need to be altered or added to keep up with compatibility and the competition. All make for improved function, performance and animation.

Check 12 – Website Design

Over time, a website’s design will date and become less competitive. While graphic elements can be changed to refresh the site, at some point you need to consider a full website redesign.

Takeaways

Many clients under-estimate the importance of regular website maintenance and complain to the website development agency when it breaks! If you’re not booking your website in for a regular service then we know who is really at fault when traffic comes to an untimely halt.

It’s vital to keep your website asset purring and performing. Grand offers affordable website maintenance packages for any business, whether we built your website or not.

Contact us here, if you’d like to discuss website maintenance or performance boosts.

Phil Dossett

Digital Strategist

Phill Dossett is the strategy director at Grand, helping clients succeed by implementing clever digital tactics; including conversion optimised website development, advertising campaigns and marketing automation.