You have a website. You either paid someone money to create it or you paid with your own time to put it together. Now what? This is one of your company’s main vehicles for communicating your brand. Are you doing all you can to keep it in top shape?
Just as we maintain our cars with oil changes and car washes to keep them spiffy inside and out, our online vehicles need regular tune-ups as well.
1. You’ll need insurance
Most people have heard the horror stories of companies that were hacked and lost their entire website or saw their whole online presence wiped out with the press of a button. Don’t be this vulnerable. A backup for your website is like having insurance on your car. You don’t want to have to use it, but it’s there if you need it.
There are several incredibly affordable backup systems on the market, that are easy to install and activate. All of them routinely create a copy of the website files stored to a location of choice, in case the unthinkable happens. Ask anyone who has paid a developer to get a site back online: some prevention on the front end is far cheaper than the cost of recovery.
An added perk: Having a backup of your website comes in incredibly handy when transferring a website from one hosting company to another.
2. Preventive maintenance is vital
The software that makes up websites is ever-changing and (in most cases) ever-improving. Just like changing the oil in an automobile allows the engine to continue revving away smoothly, websites need updates performed to operate at their best. And by all means, update your plugins: they need love too. If you don’t change the oil in your car, eventually your engine will seize up. The same applies to a website. Software and plugin updates keep everything effortlessly moving along. You wouldn’t ignore your “check engine” light, right? So when you get that notification that an update to your software or a plugin is available and ready, pay heed.
3. Lock it up
You lock your car, don’t you? Lock your website. A good security system should perform regular scans, send a report detailing the results and alert you if something nefarious takes place. On the same topic, make certain your username and passwords are secure. And this is very important: NEVER, under any circumstances, use the username “Admin;” that’s the digital equivalent of leaving the keys in the ignition.
4. You need to polish it regularly
A website that never offers updated content is like that old clunker with “Wash Me” written in the dust that covers it. It has clearly been parked and forgotten. New content makes your website shine and gives visitors a reason to return.
5. Now go pick up some friends
If you have successfully performed steps one through four, it’s time to show off your hard work. Use social media to draw visitors. Post an update to your Twitter or Facebook page, pin some of your content to Pinterest and take a screenshot to post to Instagram. Conversely have social media “share” buttons in place to allow viewers to easily populate links to your content across their own social platforms to their followers. And don’t forget to hashtag the topics appropriately; that can open a door to another subset of potential visitors.
Do that simple maintenance for your website and it should keep running smoothly. Ignore it and you risk a breakdown, allowing competitors to race by and leave your site in the dust.