Website Maintenance Schedule
Posted by Charlie Recksieck
How Often, What To Do, When
Since we are at the hallway mark of 2022 right now, I thought it would be nice for us to share the items on our own website maintenance calendar - and what we set up for clients.
In the modern era, there shouldn't be an excuse for flat out forgetting to do something. If it's important, then it should be popping up electronically.
Whether it's on your phone, in Outlook, a service like Follow Up Then or the always-useful If This Then That - you should be setting up recurring reminders for things that, if forgotten, could come back to bite you.
* Backups - These should be automated. Check with your host or your IT administrator but there should be daily (nightly) backups of your website and online databases, at minimum.
* Uptime Logs - You need to know when your site is down. An uptime monitoring service will let you know if your site is down - trust us, you need to know ASAP. Read our blog post on uptime monitoring.
* Respond to Every Email - This isn't a web issue. But even if you don't have much time, write folks back to let them know that you're busy but "we haven't forgotten about you." It's unbelievable how much goodwill this will buy you and your business.
* Other Backups - Even if you have those Daily auto-backups going, a weekly backup of all office related computers and phones is recommended. Fridays are slow anyway, so adopt our policy of Backup Friday before heading out for the weekend.
* If You Have A Forum - Hop on to remove spam comments.
* Reply To Any Contact Form Submissions - It's easy to ignore an email with an unimportant query. But any new person is a potential new customer. One week is pretty much the end of the grace period to be considered a timely reply.
* Check Visitor Statistics - There's no downside to having Google Analytics on your site, unless you have a deep mistrust of Google. Browse around your stats once a month. I guarantee you'll find something new every time. We include statistics review with a couple of our clients in our monthly review meetings.
* Database Backups - This is an extra level of paranoia, just in case your hosting service promises backups. We had an incident with an Australian web host in 2005, so we can speak to experience from this one.
* Look At Your Error Logs - First question: You have error logs, right? Have your web designers look at them once in a while. This might be the first you're seeing that some features are not working for some users.
* New Content - If you have a blog or news site, you cannot have your most recent post be over a month old. That can make your site look completely abandoned and turn people away. Even if your site has fairly static content, put SOME new content up and give people are reason for coming back to the site. If you can't think of something, then try updating one of your photos.
Every 3 Months
* Broken Links - Even links from your site that once worked can disappear out there. Use a free tool like Broken Link Check every three months to stay on top of things.
* Check Your SEO and Google Status - We don't need to tell you that doing best practices with your SEO is important. If you use Chrome, here's a great tool on Chrome. There are other good SEO audit sites out there like https://www.semrush.com. You always will see things to improve on your SEO and marketing side.
* Reach Out To Your Mailing List - If you have any kind of regular contact with customers or a newsletter, make sure you find a reason to remind people that you're there. I'm sure there's something worth mentioning from the prior three months.
* Update Platforms or Software - If you're on WordPress, see if there are any updates to WP and/or your theme. If your site uses PHP or ASP, check for an update. If anything is out of date, you can schedule an update to be overnight and/or on the weekend.
* Forms on Your Page - Fill out one of the forms on your site and make sure it gets to you. This might seem silly but it's even money that you learn something from doing this next time.
* Speed/Performance Audits - These are so very useful, that we're tempted to recommend them more. But you are going to see so much useful feedback from sites like this (instead of us endorsing one, google "website performance audit free" and run one that looks good) that the report is going to inspire some serious site repair and improvement.
* Check Linkbacks - Backlinks are huge, perhaps the biggest part of your organic SEO efforts. Run a free test like this. Getting more people to link to your site really helps.
* Browse Your Own Site - Go through as many pages as you can from your navigation menu. See if something glaring pops up. Or if any info you have up there is now out of date; you'd be surprised how often that can happen.
* Optimize Your Database - Databases naturally tend to occupy too much memory and they can slow down your site. Whether via phpMyAdmin or WordPress tools, optimizing your database can speed things up.
* Domain Name Renewal - If you don't pay attention to this one, you're gonna wake up one morning not getting email, eventually checking to see your website gone and wonder what's happening. It might take you 90 minutes to figure out that your website expired. Look up your expiration date RIGHT NOW, and set a reminder to deal with it a week in advance.
* Hosting Renewal - If you pay your web host annually, do what I just mentioned above for domain name renewal.
* Test Restore From Backups - You might be overconfident since you have backups. Have you ever tried a full restoral? Once a year, do one extra manual backup of databases and web files (just to be extra safe). Then wipe out the old databases and put the copies in. Does everything run ok?: Same thing for the web? If there's a failure then it sounds like you're missing some source code or something new in your database schema is messing things up.
* Copyright Year - It's a hallmark of a neglected site to see "Copyright 2022" in late January 2023. One of these years, once and for all, you can include easy code to have the copyright year listed automatically - our instructions are here.