Definitive guide

Website maintenance basics

The Importance of Website Maintenance for Small Business Owners

What is the importance of website maintenance for small business owners? If you are among the 73% of small business owners who own a website, congratulate yourself since you experience the benefit of being discovered by 99% of consumers who use the internet–mainly through Google–to discover businesses in their area.

But having a website is not the end to a means. It is only the beginning. Website maintenance comes next. Why? Here are the reasons why:

1. Website Maintenance keeps a website in tip-top shape

A website is much like a company’s office online. Seeing a website as a piece or form of property makes it easier to appreciate the importance of maintaining it.

An office space would require daily cleaning and protection. It also requires regular checkups for electricity, plumbing, fire safety, and what-have-yous.

Over time, there’s the need to improve the interiors to make them more convenient and inspiring not only to those who are working in it but most especially to visitors and clients. But, more often than not, needed repairs in furnishings and fixtures or areas in the office prompt an actual interior makeover.

A company’s office space—facade, interiors, furnishings, and ambiance—must always emulate the spirit of its values and persona. It should be decent, presentable, and efficient at all times. This affects the impressions formed about a company by its clients, future personnel, business partners, and the general public. It should also be kept safe at all times.

Similarly, a website needs regular upkeep. It, at times, may also need a rehaul in design or features to keep up-to-date in features that actually serve the needs of its visitors and to keep a business’ credibility online. This means the website should work efficiently at all times.

There should be no dead links or broken links on it. Dead links or 404 errors encountered by users while browsing your website could be frustrating, especially if the page contains information they really need or is part of your online shopping process. That could mean a loss of sale, a visitor leaving, or both.

While broken links are often the reason why photos or images do not display accordingly on a page or section of the website. The same goes for videos and audio files that do not show where they are supposed to in a website.

These things affect user experience, which must be kept positive at all times. Statistics show that 90% or 9 out of 10 visitors to a website will not revisit it if they had a negative experience browsing it. Thus, it is important to keep your website in tip-top shape at all times to ensure a smooth and pleasant browsing experience for visitors.

How to find dead links

Speaking of dead links, how does one find dead links or page 404 errors in a website? This could be easily done by checking a website’s analytics report. In my case, I get to see this through Google Analytics. So here’s how to find it if you are using the same analytics tool:

1. Log on to Google Analytics

2. Go to the Behavior Tab (not the one under Audience Tab but the separate section on it on the side menu of Google Analytics)

3. Click on Site Content and choose All Pages

4. You will see a list of webpages once the page loads. Click the Page Title tab above it.

5. After the Page Title page loads, put “404 Page” on the search bar aligned to it and hit the magnifying glass to initiate the search.

6. A list of pages will be listed after the search results load. These are the dead or broken links on your website. Of course, if no search results show up (just like in my website as you can see in the screen capture I have included in this article), there will be no pages shown.

Say, for example, there are pages that showed up on the search result. How do you fix it? Well, just copy the pages or download the report and copy it to an excel link so you would know what to repair on your website.

Another way to easily find the dead links in your website is to use software such as Xenu, Sitechecker, and Semrush. There are many available and free online that you can download based on your budget.

2. Website maintenance refines a website’s features

Another aspect a website’s analytics can provide small business owners on is to identify what areas, features, or content of the website need improvement. This is in the aspect of a website’s loading time, copywriting, navigation, and interactivity.

a. Slow loading time

Statistics show that almost half or 47% of online users will close a website if it takes longer than two seconds to load. While almost a quarter or 15.40% o mobile users who access a website will leave it if it takes longer than three seconds to load.

A website that has a high bounce rate on its landing or homepage is a reflection of this. If visitors to your homepage or website landing page stay for only seconds, then it shows that your website has a slow loading time.

It would be good to check if the video or images you use on your homepage or landing page are optimized. You might also need to put an option in the homepage for the video to play only if the visitor wishes it to.

Statistics actually show that slow loading websites has resulted to online retailers to lose annually at USD2.6 billion in sales. Looking at the bounce rate for the other pages of your website is a good way to see as well were else you need to optimize images and videos used in your design. This is a good way to avoid visitor frustration that often lead to losing potential customers.

b. Poor copywriting

Another reason a website may have a high bounce rate is its poor written content. This is in hard-to-read fonts or difficult to understand writing. Misspelled words, too wordy sentences, or incorrect grammar can also be a turn off for visitors.

Statistics indicate that online users only take 5.59 seconds to read the written content in a website. It is imperative that written content is easy to digest, concise as much as possible, and easy to read. It should also be written in a way that provides smooth user flow within a page and a website. Small business owners must make sure their message is communicated efficiently and easily in their website.

The Importance of Website Maintenance for Small Business Owners

c. Cluttered navigation

A website with high bounce rate may also mean that the website has a cluttered navigation menu, which in turn shows a lack of order. Statistics also show that online users take only 6.44 seconds on average to look at a website’s main navigation menu. It is necessary then that small business owners take the time to constantly check if information they have online can be easily accessible by online users.

Small business owners can even strategically highlight information that visitors to their website look for. Looking at the website’s analytics, checking what keywords refer online visitors to your website and which pages they often view are indicators on which to highlight on your homepage.

There may also be a need to decrease the options on your top menu so it would look cleaner on the onset. Sorting your website’s content accordingly into a maximum of four to five sections is a good practice along with removing unneccessary sections to ensure a better user experience.

Then use a DHTML menu or dropdown menu to expand navigation content for big sections. While using visual hierarchy also helps big time in improving website navigation.

d. Lacking interactivity

Sometimes visitors only stay for a short time because a website is boring. Studies show that online users stay longer by 88% on a website with videos on it. Videos provide not only entertainment but also improve user engagement and experience. Knowing where to specifically place these videos are important.

The trend nowadays is to use videos as backgrounds to website headers on the homepage, which studies show helps keep visitors on a website six minutes longer. This may work for you so long as the video is relevant to your business and conveys your value proposition, which helps connect with visitors to transform them into potential customers. Again, make sure the video is optimized before you use it in your design for a positive user experience.

Adding other multimedia components to your website including podcasts, accessibility features, and animation is highly recommended. Just remember to keep the user in mind and to always check if this improves site traffic.

In addition, making sure your website is mobile-responsive is another way to tinker with its interactivity. The trend is really going in this direction—more people are projected to be on mobile by the end of this year—and it is a must that your website is able to adjust to the needs of the times.

3. Website maintenance keeps consumers updated on a company

A practical importance website maintenance has for small business owners is it ensures their customers and potential clients, as well as, business partners are updated on them. Your website should always have fresh information about your activities, products, and services. Regularly updating the website’s content is very important.

It is also important to ensure that the website is updated on whatever marketing campaigns you are undertaking. People often go to a website to look for more information about an advertisement they saw or an activity about your company that they would like to participate in such as contests, raffles, and other promotional drives.

A website that is up-to-date with company information helps build loyalty with customers, as well as, strengthen their relationship with them. Keeping your website’s content updated is also a good search engine optimization technique.

4. Website maintenance protects from security threats

Finally, website maintenance is important to protect the website and its users from security threats. Statistics from GetAstra show that more than 50,000 websites are attacked daily, of which 18% have become infected by malware that in turn will infect online visitors.

The majority of security breaches or 97% attack WordPress plugins yet only less than a quarter of administrators of WordPress websites or 22% spend an hour monthly to check for security breaches.

Making sure your website is updated with security plugins and is migrated immediately to hosting versions to avoid security threats. Websites with increased security against malware and other security threats are often ranked higher in search engine results. Thus, it is also a good technique for search engine optimization.

Website Maintenance In A Nutshell

Website maintenance is important to small business owners for it helps them keep abreast with competition, enhance user experience, nurture relationships with customers, improve conversion rates, and enhance business profits in the long run.

FAQs

1. I am a small business owner and really do not have the time to maintain my website, what alternatives do I have?

I understand that not all business owners have the time to maintain their own websites nor have the technical skills to do so. It is highly practical to outsource this aspect of your business to a third-party provider. I do recommend award-winning website designers who can assist you on this matter. Feel free to check them any time. Their portfolios will give you a better idea of which one would be right for you.

2. As a newbie small business owner, I am fairly new at search engine optimization. Can you help me out with this?

By all means, I would love to! I’ve been into search engine optimization for years and have written a couple about them here in my website. I suggest you take time to look at the following: The SEO Iceberg, SEO Case Study, SEO Audit, and SEO Analytics. Then you could also read about adding meta-tags and choosing keywords for your website. If you have further questions, feel free to reach out at any time.

3. Could you give a rough estimate of how much it costs to maintain a small business owner’s website?

Surely! The monthly cost of maintaining websites for small to medium businesses ranges from $35 to $500. This may increase depending on the complexity of the content or features of the website, such as if it has eCommerce or online shopping and multimedia effects. eCommerce Website costs a minimum of $750 per month while websites with multimedia features cost a minimum of $300 per month.

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