If you’re a website owner, especially a business owner, you know how important it is to have a website that’s up and running smoothly.
However, just creating a website is not enough. Your website is often the first point of contact that potential customers have with your business, and it’s crucial that it’s up-to-date, secure, and functioning properly. That’s where a website maintenance plan comes in.
In this article, I will discuss most aspects you need to know about a website maintenance plan:
- How to develop one
What is a website maintenance plan?
A website maintenance plan is a set of ongoing services and tasks that ensure your website is functioning properly and up to date.
It involves regular checks, updates, and backups to regularly check a website for issues, ensure that it’s up-to-date, and optimized for the best user experience.
What does a website maintenance plan include?
A website maintenance package should include all the tasks that keep your website functioning properly. Here are some of the most important things that should be included in a website maintenance package:
1. Security updates
One of the most critical aspects of website maintenance is ensuring that your website and user data are secure. Especially if you have an e-commerce website, the data your website stores are even more important.
Websites can be vulnerable to various cyber threats, such as malware, hacking, and phishing. Security breaches can damage your website and your reputation.
A website maintenance plan should include regular security checks and updates to address any security vulnerabilities that may exist in your website’s software or plugins.
So make sure you implement measures such as data backup and recovery plans, user authentication, and access control to keep your website secure.
2. Regular backups
You probably update or add data to your small business website quite regularly. Imagine if there was a sudden cyber attack or server issues. You would lose all that data!
That’s why regular website backups are critical components of a website maintenance plan.
A backup is a copy of the website’s files and database, stored in a safe location. If your website crashes or you lose data, a backup can help restore the website to its previous state.
I use a plugin called Updraftplus to back up my WordPress site regularly.
Besides, Siteground, which is my web hosting for this site, also backs up my site every day.
However, I have a small site and no e-commerce. So these methods work for me. If you have more data and/ or e-commerce data, you should definitely take more measures to schedule complete backups of your website.
3. Software and plugin updates
If you use WordPress for your website, you probably use quite a few plugins that need regular updates.
Even if you don’t use WordPress but a different CMS or custom website, it still needs to be updated regularly to ensure they are compatible with the latest software versions and to prevent security vulnerabilities.
This is why one of the most important components of a website maintenance plan should be regular checks and updates of your website’s software and plugins.
4. Performance optimization
One of the key components of a website maintenance plan is performance optimization.
This involves regularly analyzing the website’s performance and implementing changes to improve its speed and efficiency. Website speed, particularly, is crucial for user experience and search engine rankings.
Performance optimization may include tasks such as image compression, code optimization, server configuration, and caching.
5. Content updates
Both Google and your audience love websites with fresh and relevant content.
You need to regularly update the content on your small business website to keep it fresh and engaging for visitors, which can lead to increased traffic and engagement.
That’s why one of the critical components of a website maintenance plan is content updates.
Content updates can include developing a content strategy, adding new pages, blog posts, or articles, as well as updating existing content with new information, videos, or images. It could also include removing outdated information or content, measuring content performance, and optimizing for SEO.
This can help to establish the website as a reliable source of information and build trust with visitors.
6. Mobile optimization
92.3% of internet users access the internet on their mobile. So it just makes sense that your website needs to be optimized for mobile.
If your website is not mobile-friendly, it can lead to a poor user experience, resulting in fewer website visits, a higher bounce rate, and a negative impact on SEO.
Even if you have a responsive theme from WordPress or any other website platform, not all functionalities may work perfectly on mobile.
That is why mobile optimization is a critical element to include in a website maintenance plan.
The website should be optimized for various mobile devices and screen sizes so that users can easily navigate and access the website’s content.
7. Broken link checking
Broken links on a website can be frustrating for visitors and can negatively impact user experience. They occur when links to internal or external pages on a website no longer work, resulting in 404 errors.
Broken links can also affect a website’s SEO ranking, as search engine bots may see them as a sign of poor website quality.
Website maintenance includes regularly checking for broken links and fixing them promptly. This can be done manually or through automated tools that can scan the website and identify broken links.
8. Search engine optimization
Organic traffic has enormous benefits for your website, especially if you are a small business owner.
You can include SEO within your website maintenance package or treat it differently and more regularly. You can even break it up.
For example, you can work by yourself or with your team on your content SEO and include technical SEO or the technical health check of your website in your website maintenance plan.
9. Analytics and monitoring
Website analytics can help you understand how visitors interact with your site, such as which pages they visit most, how long they spend on the site, and where they are coming from.
You can opt for your website maintenance plan to include regularly analyzing your website’s traffic, engagement, and other key performance indicators to identify any areas of improvement.
This will help you identify areas of improvement and take action accordingly.
Why is it important to have a website maintenance plan?
Here are the key benefits of having a website maintenance plan:
1. Enhances security
Websites are vulnerable to hacks, and small businesses are particularly at risk because they often don’t have the same level of security as larger companies.
By keeping your website up to date, you can address any security vulnerabilities and prevent breaches before they happen.
2. Improves website performance and traffic
Regular maintenance ensures that your website runs smoothly and efficiently, loads quickly, and provides a positive user experience.
Besides, it helps you quickly fix any errors that arise on your site.
Over time, your audience will come to recall your site as a pleasant browsing experience and will visit it more.
Over time, your website traffic and search engine rankings are bound to increase.
3. Reduces downtime
Website downtime means simply that your site is only partially accessible or completely down. This usually happens because of technical reasons.
Website downtime can be costly for small businesses. It can lead to lost revenue, decreased productivity, and damage to your reputation.
With a website maintenance plan, you can minimize the risk of downtime by ensuring that your website is always up-to-date and functioning properly.
4. Improves user experience
Regular updates and performance optimization for your website can significantly enhance the user experience.
If your website is slow or difficult to navigate, potential customers are likely to get frustrated and go elsewhere. Regular maintenance can help ensure that your website is running smoothly and that users can find what they need quickly and easily.
5. Improves search engine rankings
Search engines like Google prioritize websites that are fast, secure, and up-to-date.
Your website maintenance plan can include optimization of your website’s content, structure, speed, and more factors that help in search engine optimization.
This can help you to get your website noticed and drive more traffic to your site, increasing your business’s visibility.
6. Saves time and money
By investing in a website maintenance plan, you can save time and money in the long run.
When you have a website maintenance plan, you can ensure that you prevent or fix website issues quickly before they become too big, and that your website is always running smoothly.
You don’t have to pay a technical person huge sums to fix big errors, saving you money.
Besides, it can also save you time. Because if you don’t have to spend hours maintaining your website, you can focus on other important aspects of your business.
How to develop a website maintenance plan
Creating a website maintenance plan can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are some steps you can take to develop a well-structured website maintenance plan that works for your small business:
1. Set goals and priorities
Before creating your website maintenance plan, you need to determine your website’s goals and priorities. What are the objectives of your website, and what do you want your website to achieve?
What are your business objectives?
Once you have established your goals, you can prioritize the maintenance tasks accordingly. Setting goals also sets the foundation for ongoing website maintenance and ensures that tasks are completed regularly and efficiently.
2. Perform a website audit
Start by assessing your website’s current state and identifying any areas that need improvement. Do you need to update your software? Are there broken links that need to be fixed? Are there pages that need fresh content?
The first step in developing a website maintenance plan is to identify the important parts of your website. This includes pages that get the most traffic, forms that visitors use to contact you, and any other features that are crucial to your website’s performance.
Some areas to focus on during a website audit include:
- Website speed and performance
- Website security
- Content quality and relevance
- Broken links
- User experience
A website audit will help you create a targeted plan that addresses the specific needs of your website.
3. Create a maintenance schedule
Once you’ve identified the tasks that need to be done, set a schedule for when they will be completed.
This can be a monthly, quarterly, or yearly schedule, depending on your website’s needs.
Once you have identified the important parts of your website, you need to determine how often you will need to perform maintenance.
Some tasks, such as updating content, may need to be done on a weekly or monthly basis, while other tasks, such as security updates, may only need to be done every few months.
4. Find a website maintenance provider
Unless you have the expertise to handle website maintenance yourself, you’ll need to find a provider who can help.
Look for a provider who offers the services you need and has experience working with small businesses.
5. Evaluate your plan regularly
Your website maintenance plan should be a living document that you evaluate regularly. As your business grows and changes, your website maintenance needs may change as well.
Regularly review and update your website maintenance plan to ensure that it is effective and up-to-date. Make adjustments as needed based on changes to your website, business needs, or any feedback you receive from users.
How much should you pay for website maintenance?
The cost of website maintenance varies depending on the size and complexity of your website, the frequency of maintenance, and the level of support you require. Some website maintenance providers offer monthly packages that include a set number of hours of maintenance and support, while others charge an hourly rate.
Monthly website maintenance plans typically range from $50 to $500 per month, depending on the scope of services provided.
Hourly rates can range from $75 to $150 per hour, depending on the expertise and experience of the provider.
When selecting a website maintenance provider, it is important to choose a provider that offers the level of support you need at a price you can afford.
Look for providers that offer clear pricing and service level agreements, as well as good communication and responsive customer support.
Website maintenance plan example
Here is an example of a website maintenance plan for a small business.
- Update plugins and other functionality features
- Backup website data
- Test website functionality
- Check for broken links
- Optimize website performance
- Review website security
- Review website analytics
- Test website forms
- Review website design and content
- Check domain registration and hosting
- Review website goals and strategy
Managed website maintenance plans can be a good option for small business owners who do not have the time or expertise to perform regular maintenance themselves.
They can also be a good option for businesses that rely heavily on their website for sales or lead generation.
Do you currently have a website maintenance plan for your small business? Do you do it yourself, or hire someone? Any elements you include that I missed? Share in the comments!