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Fresh Laundry

Website maintenance

Just like a car, a well running website needs to have some maintenance every now and then to keep things running smoothly. There are many things you can do to keep your website working hard and achieving results for you but here are some that are key:

Your content management system

Most websites these days are built using some kind of Content Management System (CMS). This is an application containing a lot of functional code that will be regularly updated by the software group behind it and it is important you keep up to date with these changes.

There are 2 main reasons for keeping your CMS system up to date. The first, and most exciting reason is so that you can reap the benefits of the latest and greatest new features being added into your CMS. Most CMS applications are updated regularly with new features and improved processes so this can greatly improve your site or content editing process.

This however is not the most important reason. Even if the latest new whiz-bang features of your CMS do not apply to you it is still very important you keep the codebase up to date for security purposes.

All content management systems, or any website for that matter, are vulnerable to ‘hacking’. No matter how well written a piece of software is, there will always be human-error mistakes made or new ways of ‘hacking’ not even dreamt up yet that will not have been taken into account by the developers. Keeping your CMS up to date with the latest bug fixes and security vulnerability patches keeps your website ahead of the curve in terms of known bugs and code exploits within the CMS code itself. Many of these code exploits and bugs are actually published publically in the form of release notes for the application so they are always out there for anyone to see and take advantage of. Nobody wants to wake up one morning to discover that their website’s contact form has been used to send spam emails to millions of people and your hosting account has been terminated!

Keep your front-end code in check

Websites are traditionally broken up into two areas of code. The back-end code is the functionality working behind the scenes on the server and the front-end code compiles the user interface that your visitors see. It comprises mainly of HTML, CSS and Javascript code.

Every now and then it is worth looking at your sites front-end code to ensure it is performing as well as it should. A typical review may look at asset and code loading times, javascript performance and whether you are keeping up with new browser technologies and are supporting the tools and devices your customers are using to browse your site. Have you checked to see what your website looks like in the soon-to-be-released Internet Explorer 10 yet for example?

Review your content

Like most things our businesses always move forward and are in a constant state of change. This is of course exciting but keeping our customers up to speed with the changing nature of our business or product details can be a challenge. One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to achieve this is by keeping your website content up to date.

A good website should have some form of blog or news area that is kept updated with the latest goings on in your business that will both inform your customers and give your company a personality to the world. Additionally, a regular review of general page content, product information and pricing will ensure that the information your customers are reading is always up to date and sending out the right key messages for your business.

Imagery and design

This is perhaps the hardest to do on a regular basis but at least every 1-2 years we recommend a design refresh of your website. Just like your wardrobe of clothes at home, website design goes through phases and trends which can be important for you to keep up with in order to stay current and look active to your customers.

If you can’t afford to update the overall design of your website, then definitely look through the imagery used throughout and see if anything there can be updated to give your site that ‘fresh coat of paint’.

So how can I ensure my site is maintained appropriately?

We are all busy all of the time so for most of us the list above may seem daunting and far too hard to fit in. The best approach to ensure your site is maintained appropriately is to have a support and maintenance plan in place with your website provider.

A support and maintenance plan should at a minimum include not just good quality support service and response times but regular code updates and scheduled website reviews. Additionally you can think about scheduling regular meetings with your provider to talk about how your business has changed and what areas of your site potentially need work to match.

Talk to your website provider today about what their support offerings are and what plan can be put in place to keep your website performing now and into the future!

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