Your website is often the front door to your organization and even though technology has made website maintenance easier the web is also a very complex place. Provided below are our top five musts for website maintenance.
1. Create a standard protocol for maintenance.
Who is implementing the updates and how updates are made must be clearly defined. Your website is a complex tool, often built with strategies and brand standards that when broken can destroy the return on investment. We recommend defining a clear protocol for how and when updates to your website are implemented. Ask yourself these questions:
- Does the update follow the corporate brand standards?
- Does the update align with the goals of the organization or the goal of the website?
- If website maintenance is being done for security updates or software updates, what are the potential conflicts this will cause?
- How do your updates affect the visitor? The experience or ability to find information?
- Do the updates or website maintenance needs affect search engine optimization and page rank?
2. Create a backup of the site and database.
Even the most careful of us can make mistakes. You would be amazed at how many times our agency is called to pull down a backup to replace an accidentally deleted page or content. Most modern content management systems have backup capabilities.
3. Mobile - Responsive Design & Browser Testing
Many times an update to text, graphics and layout can affect the rendering of your website on mobile devices and in different browsers. Make sure you thoroughly test every update in all applicable browsers such as Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome and Firefox. Better yet, test in legacy versions of these browsers as well to ensure your visitor is getting the best possible experience. Once this is complete execute a review of your website on applicable mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
4. Implement, Test then Deploy.
Perhaps one of the most important rules for website maintenance is to create an offline or private development site. This is basically a duplicate of your website on a privately accessed server that allows you to make updates, implement new features and functions and test them prior to publishing to the World Wide Web.
5. Have an "approver" in place prior to publishing the update.
This "approver" should be a separate set of eyes with a checklist that must be reviewed before even the most minor of updates are pushed live. The "approver" should be the person responsible for the sales and marketing in your organization to ensure the updates are in alignment with your strategy. The checklist should include:
- Spelling and grammar review
- Visitor experience review
- Mobile adherence
- Brand standards adherence
- Legitimacy and alignment with the strategy
- Do all links work?
- Were best practices in development followed?