According to Google’s guidelines, websites that update their pages’ content will rank higher than those that don’t.
Yet, adding fresh and relative information isn’t the only website maintenance tip to boost a site’s search engine position. Google also checks loading times, if the site is mobile-friendly, and if it provides an excellent user experience.
To help identify the different types of maintenance we’ve put together this guide to keeping a website up to date.
Learn how to update your WordPress plugins and keep your site secure. Discover why 404 errors can damage your SEO and how to fix them. And why checking your backup files is critical before things go wrong.
Read these 5 website maintenance tips to make your site a success in 2021.
1. Check Your Backups
Backing up your website files, images, media, and databases should already be a part of your maintenance schedule.
Losing information through accidental deletion or a hacking breach can cost your business money. A recent survey found that one-quarter of retailers lost critical data because they didn’t have a backup plan in place.
But even if you backup your website how often do you check that those files actually work?
One of our website maintenance tips is to periodically test a backup file before an emergency occurs.
YZ DESIGNS allows you to test your WordPress database backups to examine their integrity. As all our hosting plans include unlimited MySQL databases, you can simply import the file and check it online.
Get in touch with us for further information and to learn more about our maintenance service.
2. Review Your Analytics
How often do you check your website’s statistics? And how often do you edit your site in response to those results?
Website stats show how many users visit your site, where they came from, and what they did. Free services like Google Analytics break down traffic sources including search keywords used.
Unfortunately, many site owners don’t pay attention to what their customers want. They add content that no one searches for and type text based on low-ranking keywords.
Search engine optimisation includes creating interesting blog articles or product descriptions. But the copy on those pages must stem from real-life statistics including the search phrases your customers use.
Combine the data from your website analytics account with Google Keyword Planner Tool for the best results. Then write content that will benefit your site the most.
3. Update to the Latest Version of WordPress
YZ DESIGNS is a big proponent of WordPress. The software lets anyone edit their own site with relative ease and it has SEO built into its core.
Yet WordPress requires regular maintenance to keep the site running smooth and secure. Fortunately, you can do this with a few clicks within the Admin Dashboard.
Log in to your site and you may see a notice at the top of the screen saying ‘a new version of WordPress is available’.
These new versions contain code fixes, security improvements, and extra features. It’s always a wise idea to upgrade to the latest version.
However, upgrading comes with a warning to backup your database first.
Even if you perform a regular backup, make sure to do so again before continuing. phpMyAdmin is an excellent tool to export your data and save it to your computer. If you don’t know how this process works, contact us for advice.
The updating process takes several minutes and you’ll receive a notification when it’s complete. Then you’re fully up-to-date to offer your customers a safe and speedy experience.
4. Update WordPress Plugins and Themes
Not only do the core WordPress code files require updating but so do thirty-party plugins.
Notice that on the dashboard’s navigation there’s a link for ‘Updates’ and ‘Plugins’. If either contains a circle with a number this means that new versions are available.
Click on ‘Updates’ and WP will display all the new releases in a list. You can choose to update each one individually or as a group. Batch updates require less work so select that option and click on ‘Update Plugins’.
WordPress will notify you of the installation progress per plugin. But what about themes?
A theme customises how your site appears. That includes the layout, colour scheme, fonts/typography, and more. But before you update your selected theme take note.
Because you can alter a theme any updates could overwrite those edits.
Once again, backup all your files before continuing. Or contact us for advice.
5. Check for 404 Pages and Errors
A 404 error code means that a web page is missing. The reasons behind this can include:
- The page was deleted
- The page was moved to a different folder
- The file name was changed
- The web server isn’t working correctly
Other error codes like 503 state that there’s something wrong with the code behind the page. That needs fixing before the content is served to the user.
All these errors lead to bad business.
Customers cannot find what they want and leave in frustration. Google marks you down when your site links fail to work. Your site falls down the search engine rankings and you lose credibility.
The solution lies with a continual website audit.
YZ DESIGNS offers a full SEO site audit that includes checking for 404 errors. We know the impact of missing pages and work to ensure bad links get removed.
Small Business Website Maintenance at YZ DESIGNS
These five tips for maintaining a website will guarantee a more user-friendly and SEO optimised experience.
However, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Other factors like security audits, A/B testing, and reviewing legal disclaimers need carrying out. And not all business owners have the time or expertise to do this.
YZ DESIGNS is a Bristol-based design agency that understands small business website maintenance.
We recognise the importance of daily backups and security checks. As WordPress developers, we appreciate the need for updating plugins to keep everyone safe.
Why not contact us today to discuss our website maintenance packages?
Let YZ DESIGNS keep your site and customers safe online. And gain the added benefits of better SEO to improve your site’s search position.