An ocean wave and surf board exploding from a laptop screen

Your new website is finally live. Congratulations! After several months of strategic planning, building, and content development, you’ve launched a site that directly connects visitors to the information they’ve been searching for. Now that your site is up and running, it will require ongoing upkeep and maintenance to remain as valuable and viable as the day it launched.

Maintain Your Domain

Much like a newly built or purchased house, moving in is just the beginning. Ongoing maintenance is necessary to keep your home and long-term investment safe and intact for years to come. Similarly, regular maintenance will ensure that your website remains a trusted and reliable resource.

Keeping your site relevant to its purpose with fresh content is something users — and Google — will appreciate. Beyond your latest press releases, products and services, your ongoing maintenance should also include continuous checks for issues and errors, per LinkedIn.

If you’re lucky, the average user will spend about one minute on your site. Within that short window of opportunity, it is up to you to capture their time and attention. Broken links and error messages (‘error 404 not found’ look familiar?) interrupt the web browsing experience and quickly drive visitors away.

Periodically checking your site for these and other common web-browsing roadblocks will improve the user experience and your bounce rates.

Basic Maintenance

Much like getting your oil changed, some periodic maintenance must be done for every site. There will be security and software updates for the many pieces of software that work together to make a website, and you will need to update your CMS and its components, such as PHP. Be sure to also check for updates to the small software modules that enable extra functionality to your site. Software updates come out frequently, and critical ones like security updates should be done as soon as possible. You should be looking at your CMS back-end at least weekly for those updates; they aren’t something you should put off doing until you have a little extra time.

Update for Safer Surfing

At launch, your website was likely tested to function on the latest versions of the most popular browsers. To ensure the platforms run smoothly for the billions of people who use them daily, Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and the like are frequently updated to address bug fixes and security concerns.

While these updates are critical, they can unfortunately introduce code that conflicts with your website.

Google Chrome, for example, is updated to fix minor bugs every two to three weeks and every six weeks with more significant revisions. That means in two years, the platform will have been updated 26 times. That’s also at least 26 times your website will potentially be exposed to risks.

If your website integrates with other technology such as Salesforce or Marketo, be aware that when updates are made to these systems, they can also impact the functionality of your site.

Outdated websites with less stable coding and modules are most vulnerable and susceptible to hackers and security breaches. Adhering to various software, code and module updates is the best way to protect your site and its visitors from potential harm.

Build a Dream Team

Despite your best efforts, you can’t plan for everything. It’s inevitable that at some point, an unanticipated need will arise for your website. Meeting this need may require a new page template or functionality to be developed. 

Like home maintenance, some website upkeep you can do yourself, and some you should leave to the experts. Discuss possible scenarios with your internal team, your web development team and your web host to determine who will have responsibility for these areas.

Your internal team’s comfort level with technology will determine how to structure your relationship with vendors. When it’s not best to D-I-Y, you may want to have the experts on retainer to proactively check your site for problems or opportunities for optimization.

With your website’s dream team in place, your internal team can focus on publishing fresh content that will draw in users. Looking for a place to start? Here are five ways to make your web copy more engaging.