An effective website can be one of the most powerful marketing tools available. It is the best way to advertise your business and to reach customers and prospects searching online. A great website creates a professional image and conveys your brand story. However building a fantastic website is the first step. It's not something you build and then are done. Just like a car, websites require regular maintenance to ensure they run smoothly and continue to be that powerful marketing tool every business needs. From what your audience sees to the mechanics behind the scenes, website management is an important aspect of any business.
What the Customer Sees
The most successful websites are constantly being updated with fresh content and photos. This includes content update on website pages, blog posting and addition of new photos. Google prioritizes websites higher with fresh content. It tells google the website is loved, and being maintained! Plus it shows your customers and potential customers that you are active and engaged!
Behind the Scenes
Keeping the inner workings of the website healthy and safe is an important aspect of website management. There are several components to consider:
Backups are a way to insure against damage to your WordPress website. Any number of undesirable events can happen to a website including software updates that don’t run properly, mistakes or hacking. Having a backup to restore the site is your insurance policy that should the site disappear or break, you can always restore it and get it back online and ready for business.
WordPress and plugin developers are constantly releasing free software updates that fix bugs, add new features, improve performance and enhance existing features. These software updates ensure a website stays up to date with industry standards.
Sandbox Test Environment
It’s important to create a clone of a WordPress website to be able to test updates, as well as to make changes to plugins and themes without affecting the user experience. That way you can be play around with the site (ie the sandbox) and make changes behind the scenes before they go live.
This is a digital certificate that creates an encrypted connection between your visitor’s browser and your website’s server. Websites without an active SSL certificate show a “Not Secure” message at the top of the page, which negatively affects the user experience. Google also values sites with active SSL Certificates more highly and therefore ranks them higher in search results.
Website hosting is what makes your website accessible via the world wide web. Website hosting companies provide space on a server for a website to sit and internet connectivity to make the website accessible.
A website’s domain is the name of the website or URL. Domains names are purchased for a period of time. Should the subscription lapse, it would cause the website to go offline and could risk the domain being purchased by someone else.
A Few Important Notes to Consider
Template sites like Wix and Squarespace often have premium versions that include things such as backups, software updates, SSL certificates and hosting fees. So, if your website is on one of these platforms, check what package you have to see if this is included
While the above services are comprehensive for website management, they do not include full SEO services. SEO services are much more advanced and require continually optimizing the website for purposes of making it friendly for search engines. See our article on SEO.
This is an important component that is often overlooked. Keeping the website visible to customers and healthy behind the scenes is all well and good, but understanding how the website is performing is equally important. Free programs like Google Analytics can be installed, and goals setup in order to evaluate the website’s performance monthly. Based on these evaluations, you can determine changes to the website that would benefit the business. This service is not included in most website management programs; however websites are a marketing tool. And therefore, they should be maximized as such!
A good website gives you the opportunity to tell potential customers what your business is about, and why you deserve their trust and confidence. Make sure this valuable marketing tool is tuned up and ready!
Thompson Marketing Partners can be your one contact that connects you with an entire team of website marketing experts, web designers, developers and programmers to manage your website. We develop customized website management plans to meet each client’s individual needs in order to support your website infrastructure.