Your website is a 24/7 marketing tool.

It is often the first connection prospects make with your business.

According to Sucuri 50% of hacked websites are outdated.

One of the biggest misconceptions about your website is that once it is online you can forget about it.

To get the most out of your website, it must be maintained.

Websites that are outdated are at risk for:

  • Loss of sales.
  • Hack attacks. Outdated websites are more likely get hacked.
  • Slow performance. Slow sites have lower conversion rates.
  • Loss of credibility.
  • Poor search engine results.
  • Malware infections.

If you want maximum website performance, you have to take the necessary steps to maintain your website.

This article assumes that you have a WordPress website. Even if your website isn’t running WordPress you can still benefit from reading the following article.

Backups

It is important to backup your website daily. Backups should be set up, so they are done automatically. The backups should be stored offsite. We recommend Google Drive or Dropbox.

You can use automated website backup plugins like Backup Guard. It is important to regularly backup both the website database and content.

Updates

Update WordPress every time there is a new update released. Also, update all of your plugins. Delete unused plugins.

Content

The website content should be updated regularly. If you have old articles, update them for inaccuracies.

Remove old content that is no longer relevant. If you have web pages created for old events, remove them.

Broken Links

Broken links or dead links can hurt the credibility of your website. Broken links are easily fixed. Check your links with a tool like Link Checker. Remove all inactive links.

Speed

Your website should load under three seconds. If you can get the load speed under two seconds, you are way ahead of the curve.

There are several easy ways to improve the speed of your website:

  • Reduce the file size of your images.
  • Use a content delivery network like MaxCDN or CloudFlare.
  • Use a fast web host. The cheapest website hosts are not the fastest.
  • Use a caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache.
  • Delete all plugins that you don’t use.
  • Use a good WordPress theme.
  • Clean up your database.
  • Block random bots.
  • Compress your website with gzip.
  • Turn off pingbacks and redirects.

SEO

Make sure there you update the robots.txt file as needed. Use the Google Webmaster Tools to check for crawl errors.

Continue to add new content focusing on your target keywords. If your target keywords change, make the updates to your web pages. Tweak page titles, headlines, meta descriptions and alt tags to move your rankings up.

Analytics

Create a free GA (Google Analytics) account. Make website adjustments based on the trends you see. For example, if your website has a high bounce rate you must make changes. High bounce rate means low-quality traffic. The traffic your site gets might be unrelated to your target keywords or the traffic could come from irrelevant sources.

Spam

Require a captcha for all forms to reduce spam. Spam can put a major load on your resources. Use a service like Disqus to reduce spammy comments.

Malware

Scan your website for malware. At least once a week your website should be scanned for malware. Malware destroys the credibility of your website. Malware can also get your website penalized. Scan for malware regularly. Remove malware immediately. One of the best ways to avoid malware on your website is by regularly updating your website platform. If you have a WordPress website keep it updated.

Renew Domain Name

Many businesses forget to renew their website domains. The result is that they lose the domain name they have used for their website and their marketing materials. Letting your domain name expire is not only embarrassing, but it will also hurt your business financially.

When you let your domain name expire you might not be able to get it back. Even if you do get your domain name back it will cost you money. You might have to hire a lawyer and pay a premium to buy back the domain name you used to own.

I recommend that you register your domain name for at least three years when you first register it. Then, every year, renew it for one more year. This is a simple way to make sure that you don’t let your domain name expire.

photo credit: Masa__Israel masa_internships-4 via photopin (license)