Having a beautifully designed website that highlights your products and services provides a business owner with a sense of accomplishment. When well-designed and with great content, the site will certainly drive online business and move up through the search engine rankings, at least for a brief period of time.
Then, without constant maintenance in place, those standings will begin to reverse the upward trend and start heading back down the page. There are many different reasons this can happen from outdated and now irrelevant content to obscure technology and just a very old look to the site that will never be mistaken for chic retro.
Keeping your website maintained and upgraded may be a small or a large task depending on your online presence and how extensive the site may be. By developing a schedule to maintain the site you can easily distribute this work over the time needed, or even hire an outside website company to do some or all of the tasks for you. The key point to remember is that without maintenance, the site stops being effective and starts negatively impacting your brand.
Website styles and designs change, just like fashions change and hair styles change. Old style elements on your website are going to stick out to those that spend a lot of time online, or even those that are relatively new to shopping online.
Updating the style of the website by getting rid of old animations and old technology will give your website a new look. This makes the site relevant again without the need to completely change the look if it is still what you want.
Browsers and Devices
Websites even a few years ago weren’t designed to be viewed on all the various devices available today. Smartphones were not as common, tablets were not a major factor and even laptops had a fairly standard screen size.
To add to this, people were pretty much using standard browsers which made testing websites relatively simple. Today, there are hundreds of possible combinations of devices and browsers, so testing your site on each is essential.
This can be done through most web hosting sites and, if you are using responsive design technology, much of the work is completed for you by the web designers. Routine checks to make sure everything is still working is all that will be required.
Broken Links and Missing Pages
Sometimes there is a good reason to remove a page from your website. When this happens, it is critical to remove or change any hyperlinks or to set an automatic redirect to another relevant page on the website. Any and all of these basic maintenance steps will prevent people on the site from getting the very annoying 404 error message that is a clear indication the site is not routinely checked.
Broken links, either internal or external, are another issue for customers. This often makes a site look like it is not secure or safe, particularly if it happens more than once or on the home page or a landing page.
For just a few links in a website, it can be a good idea to just check them once a week or once a month depending on the specific links. For large websites with multiple links, there are link checking programs that will run tests constantly and send a report of any broken links found.
Dates and Dated Content
Any type of date in an article, blog or on the website needs to be removed when it is no longer relevant anymore. Simple thinks like a copyright date on the bottom of the page can give away the last time the website was upgraded or worked on by your company.
Dates in the written content can also be dead giveaways that the website is old. Text that refers to a specific incident as “recent” should also be modified or moved to the article archives and something new replaced once time has passed.
While some websites may avoid specific phrases and using dates to get around this, your customers and clients will also expect to see a website that changes over time, not one that stays the same with regards to content and blogs.
As blogs are typically posted by date and have relevant and timely information, they can quickly become obsolete and irrelevant. Make it a point in your maintenance to add new content on a regular basis to avoid this issue.
New information, new blogs and responding to questions or comments lets those browsing the site know they are valued and important, which is what a well-maintained website is designed to do.
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