Website Maintenance Checklist To Help You Increase Your Web Traffic
Do you have a website?
How often do you check it?
Are you sure that all the links, images, graphics, codes are working fine?
One of the biggest reasons why most websites are not getting enough traffic is because their website is not optimized and maintained well.
Website development does not end once the website has been launched. You need to do monthly and even weekly checkups to make sure that everything is working fine. Don’t wait for your customers to call you out and inform you that something is not working right on your website.
A disabled button, a wrong link, a 404 page, are just some issues that make your website lose its place on Google Search.
Moreover, if your customer visited your website via direct search and found that the link or button to contact you is having some hissy fits, it is easy for them to leave your website and look for more options.
So don’t waste all your efforts in developing a very beautiful website only to leave it to rot.
Website Maintenance Checklist
Here is a website maintenance checklist that you need to do regularly to make sure your website is running well so you won’t lose valuable leads and ranking on Google Search.
1. Do website backups
One of the best practices in website maintenance is having your website backed up at least on a weekly basis. You can back up your website files and database automatically. Then restore your backup at least once every six months to ensure the backups are valid.
Make sure that your backups are stored off-site.
Having backups will give you confidence and prepare you when something bad happens to your website.
2. Check website errors
You should check all your error log files and messages. If your website is connected to Google Analytics, you can connect your website there and use Google Search Console to make sure there are no major issues on your website.
There are different website errors that your website can encounter. These website errors are three-digit HTTP status code.
Here are the website error codes that you should know:
- Error 400: Bad Request: Error 400 is a generic request when the server doesn’t understand the request from the browser. This may be because there was an error on the way it was sent or simply because it is corrupted. Common factors that cause an Error 400 are a bad internet connection, caching issues, or browser malfunction. To avoid this error, you need to check your internet connection, your browser settings, clear your cache, or retry to a different browser.
- Error 401: Authorization Required: This error occurs when you try to access a web page that requires a password. The only solution for this is to get the password and logins right.
- Error 403: Forbidden: This is an error you get when you load a page you don’t have permission to access. With this, you need to get an account or an authorization to access the page.
- Error 404: Not Found: This is a common error on websites. This error shows that the page is no longer existing or you entered an incorrect URL. Make sure you double-check the URL if you encounter this error. If not, you may check with your admin if that page has been deleted.
- Error 405: Method Not Allowed: This error means that the server understands what the browser is asking for but refuses to fulfil the request.
- Error 500: Internal Server Error: This is a common server error. Try reloading the page and clearing your cache. Try also to delete cookies and restarting your browser.
- Error 503: Service Unavailable: This means that the server is unavailable to process the request. This could mean that the server is undergoing some maintenance or is overloaded with requests. Best to do is to try accessing the URL after some time.
Make sure to check your website for these errors. These errors can decrease your website traffic, affect your conversion, and lose your ranking on search engines.
3. Software Updates
These software updates are usually security patches for the software your website is using. This can be a PHP content management system, eCommerce carts, plugins, etc. Updating your software can help you optimize your website better. But before you do any software updates, make sure you have a full site backup. This is to protect your website should anything bad happen as you apply the update.
You also need to check your website and extension functions after applying the updates.
For non-critical software updates, evaluate if you need it or if it is worth applying.
4. Broken Links
Broken links are bad for your website and your business. It annoys your customers and it can reduce your search engine rankings. That is why you don’t want to have any broken links on your website.
5. Site Speed
Everybody hates a slow website, most especially your customers. If they find your website too slow, they will leave right away. And that is lost money for you. Google also hates slow websites. If it finds your website below their recommended speed, say goodbye to your Google ranking.
That is why you need to regularly check the speed of your website. Videos and images can slow it down. So make sure to check the things that you are uploading to your website. If you want to check your website speed, you can use Google PageSpeed or GTmetrix. You can also get recommendations on how to optimize your website using these tools.
Here’s how Google PageSpeed looks like:
This one is from GTmetrix.
6. Website Forms
Website forms are an essential part of your lead generation. That is why it needs to be checked regularly. You need to regularly check your script for errors or changes in the destination emails. If you integrate your forms to automation apps and email lists, you should check and test these regularly as well.
Error on forms is a common problem for most websites. We often experience this too. But since we have an inhouse web developer to maintain our website, we are able to fix this type of issue right away without affecting our website traffic and lead generation.
Here is a sample form from http://savviaccountants.com/
7. Analytics & Conversions
This is one of the most important things that you need to check regularly. You need to know if your tracking scripts are active and working. If your website is linked to Google Analytics, check and test your goals and conversion data. This is to confirm that key actions and events are being recorded for analysis.
One of our clients forgot to install their tracking scripts when they revamp their website. So when they turned over the website to us for maintenance, we noticed that they lost 3 months worth of analytics and conversion data. We were able to install tracking scripts and it is now working well.
To avoid happening it again, we are now assigned to regularly check and track it. Part of the website maintenance we are doing is the website traffic report that we send to them every month.
This is a month’s worth of data after we install Google Analytics tracking script on the website. It is now tracking steady website traffic.
8. Search Engine Optimisation
Website maintenance is not just about the technical things on your website. Search engine optimization is also a part of it. When checking for SEO of your website, you should look into missing meta titles, poor responsive designs, duplicate content, and how search engines view your site. Once you find out the critical issues, you need to correct them immediately so it won’t affect your search ranking. On the other hand, schedule or plan a time to correct other minor issues.
If your website is well-optimized, you will easily have a place in search engines that can help you increase your web traffic and can result in improved conversions.
Your website’s meta titles and meta description should look like this.
9. Website Design
Trends in website design continue to change, over time. Some of these trends are often focused on functionality. If your website has been 5 years old or more, perhaps it is time to revamp your website to make it look more updated. Revamping the look of your website will not only help you stand out in your industry but will also help you boost your website speed and functionality, user experience, and your search ranking if done well.
That is why part of your website maintenance checklist is to see if your website design is up to date. If not, perhaps you need to think about updating it.
Here are some of the websites that we have revamped:
Many of us underestimate the importance of regular website maintenance. Not knowing that it should be a part of your business process or plan. That is why when a website breaks, you go to the web development agency and complain about it, where in fact, you only hire them to build your website and forget about them when it is launched.
Given the above website maintenance checklist, it is really important to have someone to look after your website to ensure that it is serving its purpose. If you have an inhouse web developer who helped you build your website, then you are lucky because you already have someone to look after your website. On the other hand, if you just asked a company or a freelancer to build it for you, then you are left alone to maintain it yourself once it is done. And that can be a lot of work especially for business owners who are busy looking after their operations.
This is the main reason why we offer website development with at least a month FREE of website maintenance to ensure that the website is running well after it is launched. After a month, we give them reports about its performance and traffic and some recommendations that they can do to further improve performance.
If you think your website needs a checkup and maintenance, you may chat with us for a FREE consultation. Our chat bubble below is always active and we reply immediately to any inquiries.
Cheers and more website traffic and solid leads to your business!
The Digital Strategists Team