8 Steps to Successful Website Management
What is Website Management?
Successful website management is the recurring process of maintaining and updating your website’s core systems, overall structure, and content. Doing so allows your business to stay at the forefront of your industry and grow your online presence. While choosing to not manage your website has the opposite effect. It leads to poor user experience, dropping in the Google search results, and worst of all leaves an opportunity for your competitors to build a better online reputation. Now that you know how important website management is, let’s talk about what it takes to be successful.
Frequency of Updates
First and foremost, it’s critical to understand the frequency at which your website will need to be managed. Truthfully, successful management is made up of a variety of different tasks that all take place at different frequencies. For example, if your website runs on WordPress, it’s recommended that you update your plugins on at least a weekly basis. However, another key is backups, and you should run those daily. As we explore the various keys to website management, we’ll also label their frequency.
01| Security and Monitoring
Every website should be secured and be monitored 24/7, period. With the speed at which vulnerabilities are uncovered and websites are hacked, without monitoring, your website could be compromised and it could take weeks to notice. While a website with monitoring will notify you the moment something happens. Luckily, there are programs out there like Sucuri and WordFence that can help. Both options offer free and paid subscriptions that can secure your website from attacks. If you don’t feel comfortable using these programs yourself, check out services like our secure hosting plan that take care of it for you.
02| Website and Database Backups
Another critical component of any website is a backup. Both your website files and any associated databases should be backed up on a daily basis. Why? It’s inevitable that at some point your website will go down. An attack, bad update, misconfigured plugin, user error, the list goes on. When disaster strikes, you’ll be glad you had a daily backup that you can restore and bring your website back online. In our opinion backups are the responsibility of your hosting provider. However, not all providers offer backups as a part of their plans. For example, Godaddy, Host Gator, and Blue Host only offer backups in their higher-tier plans. Regardless of your provider, ask if your plan offers backups and confirm they are taking place daily.
03| Updates – Plugins, Themes, etc.
If your website is built with a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, Shopify, Wix, etc. you have updates that need to be done weekly. These CMSs are made up of plugins and themes that are constantly evolving. Updating these pieces keeps your website safe and operating at peak performance. Alternatively, not preforming these updates on a regular basis can lead to your website being hacked or even crashing if you try to update it at a later date. Pro tip: Always make sure your daily website backup has completed successfully before updating your website. Sometimes updates lead to conflicts that can crash your website.
04| Updates – Content
It’s an absolute fact that the content of your website needs to be updated. However, the frequency of those updates is widely debated. Some companies say daily while others go as far as to say once a year. I say, base the frequency of your content updates on your company’s marketing strategy and goals. Want to rank for a new keyword every week? Then you should be building a page, writing an article, or updating existing content every week to do so. Maybe you just want to use your website as a brochure and make updates when you start a new service. That’s fine too. Create a marketing strategy first. Determine your goals. Then create a content development/update schedule that helps facilitate them.
05| Review Analytics
Frequency: Monthly at minimum
It’s nearly impossible to manage a website and make appropriate updates without checking in on the analytics. Make sure you are using programs like Google Analytics or Kissmetrics to track your website visitors and Google Search Console for page insights. This data will serve as a roadmap to help guide you through future updates and changes to your website. Without it, you’ll find yourself writing content and making updates blindly. Likely taking you farther from your goals.
06| Responsiveness and Device Compatibility Checks
If you hired a professional website design company or learned the ins and outs of great web design on your own, then your website is probably already responsive. However, over time updates to plugins, content, and other areas can cause issues that break your responsiveness and lead to poor user experience. I strongly recommend checking your website on a tablet, Samsung, and Apple phone on a monthly basis and/or any time you make major updates to your website. Don’t have all those devices? Don’t worry. Google has developer tools and programs like xCode from SwiftUI can emulate those devices so you can perform your checks with ease.
07| Speed Optimization
08| Make A Plan
Hopefully, you have made it this far because this is by far one of the most singularly important things you can do that will lead you toward success. Make a plan. Just like a marketing strategy can guide content updates, it’s critical to have a more robust company plan that guides your decisions. As we discussed at the beginning of this article. The frequency, as well as the tasks involved in successful website management, should all be based on a bigger plan that moves you toward your company goals. Without it, you may just find yourself experiencing some of the issues we discussed.
You Got This!
At first glance, managing your website can seem like a very intimidating task. In fact, I’ll venture to say this alone keeps most small business owners from doing so. But don’t worry. By following these steps and creating a solid plan you’ll be managing your website like a pro in no time.