Once the website is deployed, as in seconds after, it’s time to maintain the website. This includes the backend, the frontend, and content. This is also when you should start implementing additions that were not ready or available during the first four steps. A maintenance schedule with items in a checklist can help keep the schedule on track.
Under the Hood
It’s important to keep your WordPress installation up to date. This includes the WordPress core, themes, and plugins. The majority of updates are security patches that fix holes. A website that hasn’t been kept up to date will be a security risk for the server and anyone that visits the website. If the server gets malware the website can be blacklisted.
First, always keep an updated backup. Never perform a software update on your live website without a recent backup. I prefer to perform the updates on test sites first. Once you’re sure the updates are safe it’s time to update the live site.
I recommend running periodic tests for speed and usability to ensure your website is loading correctly.
The frontend also needs to be maintained. This includes colors, styles, design elements, images, animations, etc. You don’t want your visitors thinking they just stumbled into the way-back machine (unless it’s a retro design on purpose).
Not only do design elements need to be maintained, but also calls to action, button arrangement, colors, etc., need to be changed as needed in order to get the best results. I don’t recommend changing at random though. One of the best ways to know what to change and how to change it is to use a/b testing. This will show you which colors, styles, buttons, etc., are the most productive for your website.
News, products, offers, prices, images, articles, ads, etc. should be kept up to date. Your site would not look very professional if product prices were several years or weeks old. How many times have you driven by an old gas station with prices from years ago on the sign? What are your thoughts when you see that? You automatically assume they’re out of business. A website with old content looks like it’s out of business.
The same goes for articles. How many websites have you seen where the last post was “I’m Back!” and that was three years ago? You don’t have to post every day, but the more often you can post the better. Set a schedule and stick to it. At least 4 posts a week is ideal for the best traffic results.
- Do you use a maintenance schedule?
- Do you implement updates on a test server first?
- Do you use a/b testing to see what is effective?
- How often do you post?
Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading. Please subscribe if you haven’t already.
Featured image by Igor Ovsyannykov
Good article Randy. This is the part of website development that my clients do not understand. It is difficult to explain the technical details about why they need to have their sites backedup and update monthly.
Thanks! Very true. This article could have been 20x longer 🙂