By Daniel Pearson, below, CEO, KnownHost
In today’s digital age, your website is often the first point of contact with potential customers. Merely creating a website and leaving it stagnant won’t suffice. Consistent website maintenance is essential to keep it running smoothly, secure, and engaging for your audience. Here, I’ve outlined five vital steps to ensure your website remains in order and continues to boost your online success.
Keeping your audience engaged
Fresh and relevant content is the lifeblood of every website. Whether you’re running a blog, an e-commerce platform, or an information hub, regularly updating your website is imperative. Think of it as a dynamic conversation with your audience, where you constantly offer something new and engaging.
Why is fresh content so crucial? For starters, it keeps your visitors coming back for more. When people find valuable, up-to-date information on your website, they are more likely to trust your brand and return. Frequent updates can also improve your search engine rankings. Google and other search engines favour websites that regularly produce high-quality, updated content.
Website owners should focus on various types of content, including blog posts, product listings, and informational guides relevant to their industry or niche. Providing value to your visitors should be the primary goal.
The type of website you have will play a big role in how often you need to update it. For instance, if you run an e-commerce site, showcasing new products, offering in-depth product descriptions, and publishing customer reviews can be beneficial. If you have a blog, regularly posting well-researched articles on topics of interest to your audience can keep them engaged.
On the flip side, outdated or irrelevant information can deter visitors. It can create a negative impression of your brand, causing potential customers to look elsewhere.
Protecting your digital assets
In the ever-evolving digital landscape, website security is a paramount concern. Cyber threats are on the rise, and your website could be a prime target. One in three UK businesses (32%) reported suffering an attack or breach in the last year.
To protect your online presence, you need robust security measures in place. Regular checks for security vulnerabilities are imperative. It’s not enough to set up security measures once and forget about them. Websites are constantly evolving, and so are the tactics of cybercriminals. Regularly update your website’s Content Management System (CMS), plugins, and themes to patch security holes and enhance your site’s defences.
Hosting platforms play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of your website. They can provide automated security scans and offer SSL certificates to encrypt data transmissions. This helps safeguard sensitive information and transactions on your site, earning the trust of your customers.
Owners can also take additional steps to safeguard their site and sensitive data. Implementing a robust firewall can help block unauthorized access attempts. For instance, over 90 percent of all passwords found in data breaches are weak or reused, so using strong, unique passwords and encouraging your users to do the same can prevent unauthorized account access.
Routine security audits are a must to identify potential weaknesses in your site’s defences and address them promptly.
Enhancing user experience
A slow-loading website can frustrate visitors and negatively impact your search engine rankings. In fact, the probability of bounces increases by a third (32%) as page load time goes from one second to three seconds. Speed matters in the digital world, where everyone is seeking instant gratification.
Regularly optimising your website’s performance is essential. This can include compressing images and code formatting, along with choosing good providers for hosting, content caching and load balancing. These actions reduce the loading time of your web pages, providing a seamless and efficient user experience.
Conducting regular speed tests allows you to identify and address any issues promptly. There are various tools available to help you assess your website’s speed and when webpages load faster and more reliably, they not only offer a better user experience but also tend to rank higher in organic search results.
Web page views from mobile phones accounted for 47 percent of web traffic in 2022, so it’s imperative that websites are mobile-responsive. Ensuring that your site functions well on various devices and screen sizes is not an option—it’s a necessity.
Regularly testing your website’s responsiveness on various devices and screen sizes ensures that the site is accessible to all platforms. This way, you can cater to the diverse preferences of your audience, whether they’re using a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Responsive design not only enhances user experience but also plays a significant role in search engine optimization. Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites, so neglecting this aspect can harm your rankings.
Backup and disaster recovery
Data loss or website downtime can be catastrophic. Surprisingly, 13 percent of UK businesses don’t have backups in place. You don’t want to be part of that statistic. Ensuring your website’s data is backed up and protected is essential.
As technology advances, business owners need to set up automatic backups of their website’s content and databases. These backups should be stored securely offsite to prevent data loss in case of server failures or cyberattacks. Having these backups readily available can significantly reduce downtime and prevent the loss of critical information.
Additionally, it’s a smart move to create a disaster recovery plan outlining steps to take in case of a breach or other critical issues. Currently, only 19 percent of businesses have a formal incident response plan.
Being prepared for the worst can make all the difference in recovering from a catastrophe and minimising the impact on your online presence.