Website maintenance can help small businesses boost their online presence and ultimately grow their customer base and sales.
The vast majority of US shoppers, or 87%, conducted online searches before they “considered” or bought a product, as suggested by a 2018 Salesforce research.
Despite the consumers’ prevalent use of the Internet, it is surprising that about a third of small and medium enterprises or SMEs don’t have a website. And for those who do, 21% had low traffic, and 43% suggested they need to improve their snail-paced or unresponsive website.
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Lack of Website Maintenance Leads to Its Demise
One of the most common mistakes of SMEs is failing to maintain their website, thinking that creating one is enough to boost their online presence.
If you don’t maintain your website, it becomes prone to frequent crashes and ultimately dies–literally.
But before its ultimate demise, it will run slowly, stop attracting traffic/customers, or worse, become hijacked by malware that can compromise your business and your client’s data. In addition, Google and other search engines will stop showing you in search results because their algorithm prefers websites with updated content.
Failure to update your software and plugins can also result in poor user experience (e.g., the buttons are not working properly), a mistake that Google penalizes gravely.
What Does Website Maintenance Include?
Eric Lay, CEO of LOJO Marketing, a digital marketing and SEO company that caters to small and local businesses, explains that website maintenance should consist of the following tasks:
Web hosting is a service that allows companies to post their website onto the Internet. The “host” provides the services and technologies so the website can be viewed and accessed online.
One way to look at web hosting is that it is similar to a landlord that rents you an apartment. The apartment is your website, the amenities are the technologies and services that allow your site to be accessible online, and your landlord is the web host provider.
Custom Theme Updates
The only way for companies to survive is to adapt to the ever-changing business landscape and consumer sentiment and behavior. The same principle also applies to websites, which require constant theme updates.
Website security is a proactive measure that protects your business and your client’s data (e.g., bank account, address, and personal details) from malicious cyber attacks. The best way to protect your sensitive information is to purchase an SSL certificate, which you can install on your hosting server.
With Google’s recent algorithm updates, SSL certificate is no longer a recommendation but a necessity. Not only does it warn users if a website has no SSL, but it also marks them down in the search ranking results.
Also, websites that accept credit card information must comply with the Payment Card Industry standards, which require an SSL certificate.
This involves checking your website for broken links (a web page that users can’t access), reviewing if the information is accurate (office address, contact details, product pricing, etc.), and ensuring all forms and checkout processes are working.
The general checkup should also include inspecting the software updates to ensure that your website is secure, fast-loading, responsive, and above all, user-friendly.
Adding Fresh Content through Blogging
While blogging is not traditionally considered a part of website maintenance, it remains an excellent addition to your site because it can drive search traffic to your business, boost your authority and relevance, and strengthen your brand.
In addition, generating fresh content means more indexed pages on your website, making it easier for your business to rank higher on Google search results.
Maintaining a blog can also help you manage your online identity and strengthen your brand. For instance, if you are a clothing company that targets yuppies, a better way to reach out to this market segment is to create content that reflects their lifestyle and values.
Reviewing Key Metrics
Just like blogging, conducting key metric reviews is not traditionally considered a part of “core” website maintenance, although with today’s fierce market competition, it is a powerful tool that can help you grow your customer base and ultimately boost your sales. After all, how can you adapt to the changing consumer sentiment and business landscape if you don’t even know where you stand?
These are the key performance indicators or KPIs that you should closely monitor:
- Number of visitors (newsletter subscribers vs. organic searches vs. social media)
- Ratio between new and returning visitors
- Pages viewed per session
- Bounce rate, which is the percentage of single-page visits
- Top landing page
- Top exit page
- Sales conversion rate
- Onsite search queries
- Time before purchase
- User behavior, which shows how the users interact with the site’s content
- Average web page loading speed (1-2 seconds or less is the “sweet spot”)
In-House Vs. Outsourcing Website Maintenance
While there is no clear-cut answer that determines which one is the right fit for a business, for the vast majority of SMEs, outsourcing website maintenance makes more economic sense than having their own in-house team. This is particularly true for companies with a limited marketing budget.
Provided that you work with a reputable agency, outsourcing website maintenance offers more benefits than having your in-house team that comes with hiring costs, training, and other financial liabilities.
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Word of Advice About Website Maintenance for Small Businesses
Partnering with a reputable service provider also allows you to access high-quality talents at a fraction of the cost.
To learn more about website maintenance services and different plans specifically designed for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs, visit LOJO Marketing or contact us at (916) 303-4080.