We all know (or should) that our website is not a static entity. Like a garden, there are parts of your website that need regular attention. Like a house or a car, it has parts that can break or become outdated. The day to day demands of running a business make it easy to lose track of this stuff … it can seem like we just updated something, when in actuality it’s been months (or years!). Neglected maintenance can unexpectedly pop-up as an annoying bug that takes away an afternoon to a full-blown site failure that can take your business offline for days.
If you don’t have a plan, here’s a basic plan to get you started. If you have someone or a team that’s managing your site for you, this is a good benchmark to help you ensure things are properly taken care of. You can use my template to set this up.
Start with a web account inventory
Get a list of all of your web accounts in one place. Document who owns the account, who has access. For paid/licensed accounts, document renewal frequency, and whether or not renewals are automated. Automate as many renewals as you can so nothing slips through the cracks.
Domain names and web hosting accounts
- Domain name registration
- Web host
- DNS Service
- Email host
- Web platform / Content management system (SMS) e.g. WordPress
- Framework / Theme
- Additional web functionality
- Social media accounts
- Ad accounts
- Email marketing
- Files and creative assets
- Audio/Video hosting
Schedule site review and updates
Now that you know where everything is – go through all the tasks for keeping your site healthy and up to date, and determine how frequently they need to be done. Then make sure it’s on you and your team’s calendars.
Automate what you can
The more you can automate the better as it reduces the number of things you need to track. Web hosting plans with more frequent automations generally cost more, so determine the frequency that best meets your business needs.
- Site backup
- Security scanning (not needed if your site doesn’t store sensitive information)
- Software updates (this may need to be done manually for more complex sites).
Business leaders need to know that important maintenance is happening but shouldn’t need to get lost in the details. That said, it can be easy for leaders to lose track of what’s happening on their site, so the following should be reviewed every month.
- Get and review summary reports monthly or quarterly. Decide what information is important so you aren’t overwhelmed and skip this.
- Set up a regular reminder to review your entire website regularly. As your business evolves, you’ll begin to see what’s on your site differently. Make note of things you want to change.
Keep tabs on the site in light of how you’re supporting the needs of your audience and your marketing efforts.
- Review Analytics and KPIs
- Review / update content schedule
- Test automated campaigns
- Check for of date content
- Thorough site review. Test every page on every device.
- Check/test sign up and contact forms
These tasks are generally the responsibility of your web developer and other technical team members. If you’re managing your own site, many of these updates are within your grasp with some training, but make sure you have a developer give your site a check up regularly.
- Update plugins and site core software
- Generate and review monthly or quarterly report – flag any concerns for management review
- Plugins/software updated
- Update website core, modules, and theme
- Scan and update website security
- Check website performance
- SEO Checkup
- Security processes and compliance
- Test on all current browsers and devices
- Check for broken links
- Check for 404, 500 errors
Get Started Now
I’ve provided a template spreadsheet to help you set up your account inventory and schedule and track regular updates.
Download the template »