Does My Business Need a Website Maintenance Plan?
In the past few years, we've seen major advances in website design and development. Sites have begun abandoning traditional stock photos for vibrant illustrations. The number of smartphones has exceeded the number of personal computers. Having a mobile-friendly website has become essential for having an online presence. Also, Google has been forcing online businesses to install an SSL certificate on their site. With this dominating trend, online security has become a necessity.
In other words, if businesses want to reap all the benefits of having a website, they must adjust to the changing trends and standards. One way of doing so is by putting together a thorough website maintenance plan that will improve a site's:
- User experience
If you want to learn more about website maintenance, this article is for you.
Why do you need a website maintenance plan?
Let's imagine that you bought a home plant. You placed it in the corner of your living room to bring freshness to the indoor space. However, being caught up in day-to-day activities, you forgot to water it regularly, so it soon withered and died. The same will happen to your online business if you don't care for it properly.
A website brings your business to life. It drives traffic, and it convinces visitors to become paying customers. Just like a plant, you can't just build a website and walk away from it. It requires proper care and maintenance.
What can happen if you neglect your site? Well, the site will start to look outdated, which will impact the company’s credibility. Or maybe the site will begin loading slowly because of un-updated code. Or even worse, there could be serious security gaps that will make your site a haven for hackers.
Ultimately, you'll start noticing a drop in user engagement and online sales, which will lead to the decline of your business.
For that reason, it's critical that once you launch your site, you must keep it up-to-date and secure. You must stay current with changing trends and standards if you want to survive in this highly competitive market.
What Are Website Maintenance Plans?
Website maintenance plans are an ongoing service that supports the overall health and the performance optimization of your website. The services these plans include can vary, depending on the provider.
The majority of the plans offer services such as content, SEO, user experience, and security. Many plans also offer website backups, regular website updates, and uptime monitoring services.
There are many providers to choose from that offer a range of site maintenance plans. You can trust your online business with the one that best suits your needs, budget, and preferences.
The majority of web maintenance providers offer three types of plans, including:
- Monthly plans. Your company will be charged on a fixed monthly basis.
- Hourly plans. The hourly plans are perfect for any business that doesn’t need the routine maintenance of a monthly package. You’ll be charged by the hour.
- After-hours plans. If you need maintenance 24/7, most web maintenance providers offer after-hours support plans.
What’s Included In a Website Maintenance Plan?
Website content services
One study by The Manifest has found that 22% of small businesses plan on investing in an improved content strategy.
High-quality website content can help you build a stronger relationship with your audience, capture their attention, and improve engagement.
By optimizing your content to be SEO-friendly, you're increasing your site's chances of appearing on the first page of search results. Your content will appear in relevant searches, which can help you attract new leads to your website.
A report by Hootsuite showed that businesses use an average of 8 types of content, including:
- Long-form content
- Case studies
- White papers
- Template and checklist downloads
For example, a blog can help you educate your customers about the benefits of your product or service. Ebooks are perfect for providing in-depth information on a relevant topic. And videos are a dynamic type of content that you can use for tutorials, interviews, webinars, etc.
It's been found that the majority of people are more worried about cybercrime than violent crimes. Nearly 71% of Americans said they worry about the hacking of personal data, and 67% about identity theft.
And they have a reason to be worried. A study was made that stated that there is an attack every 39 seconds on average on the web. Even worse, 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses.
A recent report by the National Cyber Security Alliance showed that 60% of small businesses shut down their business in less than six months after a cyberattack.
Online users today have more trust in websites that are safe and secure. One way of knowing whether a site is secure is by checking for an SSL certification.
Not only customers want to do business with a website that's secure and trustworthy, but having an SSL certificate installed on your website can also increase your ranking position.
Maybe that's the reason why 17% of small businesses plan to invest in security updates. You should do the same.
User experience services
One research by American Express discovered that 60% of customers are willing to pay more for good customer experience. Maybe that's the reason why nearly 89% of businesses compete primarily based on customer experience.
You might have the most innovative product and offer the most competitive prices, but if you don't provide seamless customer experience, you'll have a hard time competing on the market.
Positive customer experience includes a few essential ingredients:
- a user-friendly website
- an attractive site with a modern web design
- a fast checkout process
- personalized shopping experiences
- clear product pages
- friendly customer support
As more and more consumers are actively looking for brands that provide exceptional customer experience, businesses are going to invest more in keeping their customers happy.
A good site maintenance plan includes SEO services that are crucial for ranking well on Google. As Google keeps on changing and updating the ranking algorithms, companies must stay up-to-date if they want to compete.
Outdated websites that don't pay attention to their technical SEO rank poorly on search engines and their customers will have a hard time finding their site.
Driving relevant traffic to your website is the core of your business. A quality site maintenance plan will make sure everything is properly optimized.
A good SEO plan includes:
- Keyword optimization
- Competitor analysis
- Conducting site audits
- Fixing error pages like poorly done redirects and duplicate pages
- Mobile optimization
- On-page and off-page optimization
By strategically improving elements like responsiveness, mobile-friendliness, clear navigation, menus, and website speed, you can increase your visibility in the organic search engine results.
Many maintenance plans include regular automatic and manual backups of your website. If your website is hacked and deleted, you can easily retrieve it instead of building a new one.
Plugins and themes need regular updating. If not, your website will start slowing down and become vulnerable to hackers.
Site monitoring services include checking for speed issues, 404 errors, broken links, etc.
Analytics services involve using tools for analyzing your site's traffic in order to come up with suggestions for improvement.
Who can help me create a website maintenance plan?
The same study by The Manifest found that small businesses mostly rely on four types of providers for website maintenance. It showed that:
- 52% of small businesses primarily rely on in-house staff
- 36% of small businesses rely on web builder software
- 35% of small businesses rely on freelancers/consultants
- 27% of small businesses rely on design/development agencies
Hiring an in-house team, although the most widely practiced option, is also the most expensive. You have to pay for each employee's salary, benefits, overhead costs, etc.
Hiring freelancers to take care of your website maintenance is another option. However, keep in mind that it requires good coordination and communication from both ends. The main problem here can be that freelancers work independently and might struggle to see the bigger picture of your business.
According to experts, website builder software is the ideal choice for small businesses that are looking to refresh and upgrade their sites. A website builder like Exai can help your business deliver a modern website experience to your customers by offering:
- Hosting services
- SEO updates
- Plugin updates
- Managing website up-time
- 24/7 Security and malware scans
- Full mobile compliance
- Content updates
- System and software updates
By relying on a website builder software like Exai, your small business can get a modern look for a reasonable price..
Maybe a decade ago, you could have hired a designer to create a website and be done. Your site could have just sat on the net, and leads would come in. But today, things have drastically changed. With more brands competing with quality content and cybercriminals hacking vulnerable sites, a proper maintenance plan can make or break your online business.
To sum up:
- Websites require proper care and maintenance. Without it, they become outdated, unsafe, and a haven for hackers.
- Website maintenance plans are an ongoing service that supports the overall health and performance of your website
- The majority of the plans offer services such as content, SEO, user experience, and security. Many plans also offer backups, regular updates, and uptime monitoring services.
- Small businesses mostly rely on four types of providers for website maintenance services, including in-house staff, web builder software, freelancers, and design/development agencies.
According to experts, website builder software is the ideal choice for small businesses that are looking to refresh and upgrade their sites.