High-quality websites are imperative to good brand awareness, user experience, search engine rankings, business reputation, retention efforts, and more. But building a website is just the first step; website maintenance is what happens next.
“A website can make money for you while you are asleep.”
What is Website Maintenance?
It’s easy to get to the ‘end’ of a web development project and think, “It’s done! Finally! Now we can rest.”
But it’s really not true. Think of your website as a living entity that needs regular nourishment, grooming, and attention. Because there isn’t really an ‘end’ to web development, a website is never ‘done.’ It’s always in motion, it’s always changing, and it always needs attention.
Website maintenance is just as important as your regular dentist appointments. It keeps your website updated and compliant with the latest developments. Here are some example of what maintenance can involve:
- Check for 404 errors and setup 301 redirects
- Update plugins and website software
- Check for broken links
- Monitor the latest Google Algorithm updates and make related changes
- Test contact forms
- Analyze security and website statistics
- Test the loading speed
- Update metadata
- Look for duplicate content or keyword cannibalization
- Updating best performing content pieces
These tasks — some of which are small and tedious — can be performed weekly or monthly depending on the structure of your website. However, adding and updating relevant content may need to be done frequently and can require more strategy and coordination.
Why is Website Maintenance Important?
Here are several reasons why you should maintain your website regularly.
- Customer satisfaction — well-maintained websites are easy to navigate. They contain relevant and up-to-date information that brings value to your clients. Refreshing content, re-addressing pain points, checking for missing pages, and similar actions improve customer experience.
- Corporate authority — a properly maintained website helps establish your brand as an authority in the industry. It can become a reference for your potential clients and even competitors. By keeping the information updated and regularly available, you are maintaining your reputation.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) — SEO is an ongoing process, which relies heavily on the fresh content and updated website structure. By keeping the website maintained, you are raising its chances of showing up on the top pages of Google search.
- Compliance — Search engines are constantly changing their requirements to improve the research process for the user. Following these changes is imperative to stay on the consumer’s radar.
- Website performance — your top-quality website is an underdog unless it loads fast, has visual stability, and offers high interactivity. Without maintenance, these parameters may worsen over time, making the rest of your efforts useless.
- Revenue — a well-maintained website does a good job attracting new visitors and helping them through the sales funnel. It works around the clock to build your company’s revenue.
What Happens if You Stop Maintaining Your Website?
As soon as you stop maintaining your website, it will start declining. All the benefits you’ve been reaping from its integrity are going to disappear. Eventually, such a website will undermine your reputation.
Search engines don’t like poorly maintained websites. If you don’t update the content or adjust the structure regularly, your rankings will drop, making your business harder to find online.
The lack of maintenance turns your website into an easy target for hackers. The reasons why they may attack your website range from blackhat SEO campaigns to credit card skimming.
Open-source software like WordPress and Drupal get a lot of attention from hackers and require regular updates. Software versions become obsolete and aren’t supported, which means no security updates, etc. This happens in just a matter of years not decades. For example, Drupal 8 was released in late 2015 and won’t be supported past 2021.
Eventually, your website may be banned by Google or even sued for improper visitor information protection.
If your website has broken links, poor navigation, slow loading page time, and inactive contact forms, you are losing clients.
Without a high-quality user experience, visitors are likely to leave your website without converting, thus increasing the bounce rate and hindering your reputation.
Pulling teeth is always more painful, costly, and challenging than brushing them.
If you stop maintaining your website for the sake of saving time and money, remember, reviving it will cost more. Bringing your website back up, especially if it suffered from hack attacks, is tough, time-consuming, and costly.
If your existing customers notice the lack of website maintenance, they’ll stop coming. This will undermine your retention efforts and result in lost revenue.
Since 80 percent of your future revenue is likely to come from 20 percent of your existing clients, this consequence could be the toughest for your company.
While you are building a reputation of an authority in your industry, an outdated website is bringing it down. The website is the digital face of your business. If it’s poorly maintained and outdated, the customer can’t expect you to offer relevant and secure services.
Because there isn’t really an ‘end’ to web development, a website is never ‘done.’
How Should You Plan Your Website Maintenance Budget?
The maintenance costs for your website depend on its size and functionality. Here are some really rough estimates to consider.
Maintaining a custom-built ecommerce website can cost anywhere from $300 to $5,000 per month. On average, an SMB business website costs around $500 per month to maintain. To keep a corporate website in top shape, you would need to spend about $1,000 monthly.
The costs can also depend on whether you are planning to outsource website maintenance or can do the work in-house.
The common website maintenance costs include:
- Domain renewal
- SSL certificate
- Hosting services
- Content creation
- SEO services
- Structure and design updates
- Website analytics
Maintaining a large website can be costly. However, as a lead generator, a stellar user experience provider, conversion driver, and a reputation builder, a well-maintained website can have an impressive ROI.
Keep Your Website in Top-Shape
Regular website maintenance is an integral part of your company’s success. No matter how little you rely on the website to generate revenue, when it’s in poor shape, it turns against you.
Incorporating website maintenance into your monthly operation budget can help your company grow, develop, and achieve desired goals.
So if you want your website to work while you are asleep, give it sufficient attention when you are still awake.