After weeks — maybe months — in development, your new website is finally done.
The website creation job is over. You can sit back, relax, and watch your website work for you while you rest on the sidelines.
Well, not exactly.
Don’t forget to water your new website
Watching your website site go live is a victory, but it’s not the end of the battle.
Maintaining, updating, and monitoring your website is a job that will last as long as your business.
Your new website is not a stagnant entity that you build and leave standing against the test of time. It is a growing, evolving organism that needs regular updating and support to thrive.
Neglecting your new website is like planting a new bed of flowers but failing to water them.
Your website needs someone to regularly check in, monitor growth, and provide nourishment so it can live up to its full potential.
Set a schedule for maintenance
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in your business that you can forget to perform maintenance or even check in with your website.
As soon as your new website launches, set a schedule to remind yourself to check in.
A maintenance schedule will be different for each business. Set dates that match your business and relate to the following categories.
1. Time-sensitive content maintenance
When do you need to update the copy or graphics on the site that relate to timely promotions or offers? When will you launch a new product or service that will need to be highlighted? Do you have a seasonal theme on our site? Any time you add time-sensitive content to your website, schedule a time to revisit the material.
2. User experience maintenance
Schedule a bi-weekly or monthly review of your website. These regular site reviews will help you identify places where you can improve your site, revise your copy, and create a more streamlined user experience. It will also help you identify inconsistencies that you may have missed or forgotten to update (change in staff, hours, product prices, features, etc.).
3. Framework update maintenance
Most website are built using a framework that requires regular updates. It’s important to keep these updated to the most recent version.
4. Website evolution maintenance
Best practices for websites continue to change. So schedule a time to review trends in website functionality, SEO, and design and make sure that your site is following those best practices. You can do this quarterly.
5. Online business maintenance
If your website supports an online business where your goals and needs are more demanding, you will need to schedule additional maintenance checks related to those unique needs (such a product updates, database management, user management, etc.).
As you add these dates to your calendar, schedule the time with any team members (especially if they are freelancers) so they are ready to work when you need them.
The secret is in the support
One thing is certain. In the ever-evolving online world — your website will need support.
Plan ahead to make it easier to deal with the problems when they arise.
Keep a record of all your login information and the contact details and support email addresses of your web host. If you use a developer or designer, keep that person’s information at hand.
If your site goes down or something isn’t working right, don’t panic. Take a deep breath, and search your contacts so you can reach out for help.
Your website will be one of the most powerful tools you have for marketing your business. So don’t neglect it or overlook its demands once it goes live.
Use these tips to support and maintain your site so that it can grow, flourish, and help you build your business.