For many business owners, creating a company website is a one-time thing. They simply put up a few pages with the basic information and contact details and call it a day. It is no wonder then, that there are reputable companies with websites dating as far back as 2010.
These business owners don’t know any better and think that this kind of approach is enough to keep their companies relevant in 2018. However, website maintenance is crucial if you want to get the maximum out of your online presence. Here are some of the reasons why it’s absolutely imperative to keep your website regularly maintained and updated.
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Your Business will Keep Changing
If you have your own company, do you want it to stay the same in the years to come? Of course not, each business owner hopes for growth. More revenue, more employees, more customers – good companies are never stagnant in any way. Along the same lines, your website needs to grow with your company. As time goes by, you will add new category pages, products, new staff members, new points of contact and many other details.
Similarly, there are business where it’s practically impossible to have a site that’s not regularly maintained. For example, ecommerce business owners have everyday tasks to take care of, such as:
- Adding new products
- Editing product descriptions
- Updating stock
- Processing orders etc.
Even if your business does not change, it does not mean that the rest of your industry won’t. For example, the latest change in data regulations called GDPR has shaken the web completely. By May 2018, all websites that wanted to stay compliant had to change their data privacy policies to be in line with the General Data Protection Regulation – otherwise they’d have to pay hefty fees. Legislation changes like these can happen and it’s imperative to keep your site up to date.
Google Loves Sites that are Updated Frequently
In order to get as many new visitors and customers as possible, it’s critical to stay relevant in Google’s search engine results pages. With a proper content strategy in place, you will attract thousands of visitors looking for useful advice online. Trouble is, lots of business owners rely on old content, thinking that’s enough to keep visitors coming to their site.
Even if you have a few posts from five years ago that are performing well, you should not use that as your one and only strategy for getting new visitors. Google’s algorithm is pretty clever, and it favors those websites that are constantly updated with fresh content. The more regularly you blog and put up new pages – the more likely it is that you will rank higher in search results.
Besides, Google also memorizes how often you post new content and uses this information when crawling. This means that sites that are more static are crawled less frequently and have a smaller chance of achieving success in search engine results pages.
When they hear the word content, most people think of blogs. However, there are lots of interesting content formats to consider, such as:
- Case studies
Not all types of content work equally well across industries and businesses. It’s best to try your hand at each and do some split testing to see what works with your specific target audience. One thing is certain, maintaining your website by investing in content will keep your visitors coming back and provide excellent return on investment for your marketing efforts.
You can find inspiration for great content all around, but if you get stuck – no worries. You can always repurpose your existing content and turn eBooks into blog posts, blog posts into videos, whitepapers into infographics and much more.
You Need to Keep up with Google
When it comes to SEO, ask anyone who’s been in that business for a while about the exact factors to rank high in Google search results, and they most likely won’t have a clue. Even though SEO experts can give some excellent advice on what to do to make your site perform better, no one knows the precise factors that influence how Google sorts results. Except for Google’s employees, perhaps.
One thing is for certain, Google keeps making changes to their algorithms. How do we know this? Every time they roll out a new update, thousands of websites online see huge drops or jumps in rankings, according to the actions they’ve taken.
Although unpleasant, situations like these happen and it’s good to have an SEO expert at hand to help you remedy the damage. In case the algorithm change benefited you – great news, but this too may change.
To ensure you’re safe from algorithm changes, it’s great to invest in website maintenance. Besides keeping your pages up to date and looking fresh, a team of professionals can also ensure that all your pages are optimized to reflect the latest algorithm updates.
Well-Maintained Sites Keep Users Coming Back
Continuing with content, it’s one of the best ways to keep users engaged. While it’s not always likely that someone will keep coming back to check out your latest products, they will come back to get useful information and advice.
This is where content wins and having a stream of posts that can somehow benefit your customers is an investment for the future. You can keep your visitors informed about your latest posts by using a newsletter or posting on social media.
The second reason is more practical. Have you ever gone to a website and noticed that their last post was years ago? This does not inspire confidence in visitors and it makes them think you’re careless with your website. If they see that you’re active on your blog and social media profiles, they’ll be more likely to stick around on your website and visit again.
As it turns out, it’s very unlikely that a visitor will become a paying customer upon their first visit to your website. This is why conversion funnels are created – a set of pages that guide users exactly where you want them to be – on your product page, ready to purchase.
There’s only one problem – people won’t come back if you have nothing to offer. Once again, maintenance comes into play. Ensure you have a steady stream of new content, landing pages, product pages and email campaigns to fuel the customer journey.
If you can find a website that was built a decade ago, you may notice that it’s not very… Pretty. Website design trends change as quickly as every few months, and a good website needs to stay up to date. This is not to say that you should invest into a complete website redesign every other month – but once every 2-3 years should suffice.
While some business owners may think of website design updates as unnecessary costs, it’s wise to make these investments, especially if their business relies heavily on web traffic and online sales. Put simply, as some features become standard (live chat, social media integration, new payment methods…), visitors will start expecting them from your website as well.
By having a static website, you’re doing your business a disservice that may take years to recover from. For this reason alone, it’s important to stay on top of new trends in design and keep your website updated.
One of the major design trend changes is the mobile-ready or mobile-first website. At the moment, there are more mobile users online than any other device, and this trend only seems to be growing. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, a huge chunk of your existing and new visitors will have trouble viewing it properly.
By opting for a website maintenance plan, you can ensure that there’s a team of designers always ready to implement the latest changes and make your site mobile-friendly.
You Need to Keep Your Website Secure
Very few business owners give much thought to the notion of hacking. Every day, you hear of websites and businesses hacked and compromised, with damage in millions of dollars and tons of confidential data stolen. The majority of these attacks come from poorly protected and outdated websites.
Your website runs on a content management system. At ADSpirine, we suggest WordPress for its ease of use, versatility and availability of plugins and addons. Every CMS has frequent updates rolling out every now and then, including security features, among others. In case you’re not regularly maintaining your website, hackers could potentially exploit the older version of the CMS and get ahold of your website. This can be solved by running a simple update.
WordPress is also familiar for its plugins – addons that allow you to integrate all sorts of great functionalities to your site. Plugins also get updated pretty frequently, and you need to download and install the updates immediately. Outdated plugins are one of the most common ways for hackers to compromise your website and data.
One of the best-known security features is a HTTPS certificate, which is absolutely necessary for your website. In the past, you could get by without HTTPS. However, Google announced in 2016 that all sites without an HTTPS certificate would be flagged as untrustworthy.
This means two things – your search engine ranks drop significantly without HTTPS, and visitors won’t even be able to open your pages if they came from Google. At the same time, this is one of the easiest maintenance task to take care of, so there’s no reason not to do it.
You Absolutely Need to Have Backups
Speaking of security, there’s one more aspect of website maintenance that should not be forgotten – backups. Say that your website gets hacked tomorrow and potentially all of your data is lost. Even worse, all of your customers’ data gets stolen and compromised. Luckily, you can safely back it up.
Think of backups as a form of insurance for your website. It’s not always necessary, but once you need it, you’ll be glad you have it as it will save you lots of money and nerves you can lose in the process. You can set your website to be updated automatically so that you don’t have to be involved in the process.
Note that you can have the original website files on your hard drive or stored in the cloud, but this won’t mean much in case an attack happens and you need to get the website back online. If you make frequent changes to your website, or if you have a forum or blog, you need to restore the latest version of the site – not the original.
Speaking of which, not having backups can do vast damage to your SEO. If you lose all of the content you’ve been working on, Google will pick it up the next time they crawl your site. This means that all of your search engine results page rankings will be gone at once – ouch.
Get Some Professional Assistance
Are you aware of all the benefits of website maintenance but you just can’t get yourself to get started? We understand that with a business to run, you may not have much time to worry about your website and maintaining it. This is why at ADSpirine, we have the Be Online package that has everything a modern business needs for website maintenance and online presence. Don’t fall behind the competition – ensure that you’re leading the pack in your industry. Reach out to us today and get started!