Website maintenance is the act of keeping your website up to date, secure and operating & converting at the highest possible level.
There are lots of areas of a website that need to be maintained, here’s a few key areas of what to keep up to date and how to maintain your website:
Platform – If you use a platform such as WordPress to power your website, then one of the many benefits of using WordPress is that it comes with automatic updates to help you keep your WordPress platform up to date and nice and secure from hackers.
There are always new security vulnerabilities being found and by keeping your platform up to date, with WordPress it’s a 1 click process, then it makes maintaining your website a breeze.
If you have a custom built website, it may be a little harder to keep your website platform maintained, although built on a core programming languages there are elements of code that can become depreciated and cause security issues so it’s best to speak with your web developer about that.
Security – Tying in with keeping your platform secure there are elements of code that can be protected, and security analysis carried out.
If you have a WordPress plugin then a plugin such as Sucuri will help keep you safe – It also provides logs so you can see any failed login attacks and block the IP/country that may be attacking you.
You can also check your server logs as well for similar information and again speak to your web host who can help advise on how to make your website more secure.
There are areas of your server that can be locked down such as protecting it from malicious crawling bots, protect folders from malicious uploads and preventing brute force attacks on your administrator login pages. To mitigate risks and reduce performance-related incidents and outages, perform a sever monitoring from time to time.
Speed – A metric used by Google as part of their Search Engine Algorithm, Page speed is important for a great User Experience and is something that can be worked on, on a regular basis.
There are lots of different areas of page speed for you to maintain such as:
- Coding issues – Poor code can slow your website down
- Database – Poor database optimisation can slow your site down
- Images – having images that are large in file size or dimensions will and is often the biggest reason for slowing websites down.
Luckily speed issues are relatively easy to fix.
Firstly, it’s best to use a tool such as www.gtmetrix.com to measure the speed and to check their waterfall to see what’s taking the longest to load – 8 out of 10 times its due to large image file sizes.
To compress your images using a tool such as TinyPNG is highly advised, this tool will allow you to compress in seconds without losing too much quality.
Another thing that could be slowing your website down is having too many outgoing connections, this is basically when your website links to too many images, CSS, JS files and other third party scripts such as live chats or review widgets, the more of these you have the more connections your website has to connect.
Connections can be easily drilled down by firstly removing any plugins not required and where possible merging your Java script files to bring the number of them down.
If you have a live chat that you never use, then consider removing it as it will be taking up valuable connections and contributing to a slow load time.
A great plugin to help with page speed is WP Rocket – This plugin can help reduce load time, server connections and compress files to enable your website to load faster.
Website maintenance tasks can go further and include general things such as:
- Changing images
- Changing text
- Adding new pages
- Changing prices
Or even bigger things such as bolting on new bigger functionality and taking your website to a new level.
In very simple terms that’s how you maintain a website and some of the website maintenance services that need to take place to ensure your website is efficient.
How much does website maintenance cost?
There are lots of different website maintenance packages and various costs for website maintenance, so it’s best to speak with your web designer about on-going maintenance costs but a reasonable level is around £50-£75+ vat per hour so its very difficult to answer how much website maintenance will cost.
Maintenance depends on the exact tasks that you would want to do, so it’s always best to speak before to get an estimate of hours with your web agency.
Remember if you have a small retainer of say 10-20 hours a month with your website designer then depending on how efficiently that they work those hours could be used to make some serious improvements to your website – It’s highly unlikely an ecommerce function for example could be bolted on in 10 hours, but maybe a payment gateway could, it’s best to work things out and plan them in advance to get the most out of your hours.