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Maintenance
“To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult.”
– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Launching a website is the first step in transferring your business skills and strategy into a manageable and far-reaching virtual business front. It is quite analogous to the construction of your long-awaited dream storefront. The sum of your hard toil and dreams will be contained in that paramount trophy, yet every stone that you place towards that goal is another moment closer to that broken electrical circuit or if you are not conscientious, your first break-in robbery. Maintenance is essential whether it applies to your store or your virtual business website. Any individual who has ever spent significant time with managing a business is well aware of this all-important key component: Do not overlook preventive maintenance. The basics, such as sturdy materials, able employees, and top-notch security systems allow you to find issues before they turn into disastrous problems. Likewise, a successful website requires ongoing maintenance so it can attract, educate and expand its client base; uphold security and customer confidentiality; and generate profitable revenue for your business. Simply having a website is not enough. If it is to serve as a productive tool, it must be a constant work in progress. Here are eight crucial activities needed to ensure the operational integrity of your website:

  1. Security Checks

    In a world quickly advancing in the technological field, security for you and your customer must be a top priority. Frequent and thorough security checks can be scheduled and automated to uphold the highest in “best practice” routine. Secure web application improvements ought to be upgraded by applying security checkpoints and methods at ahead of schedule phases of advancement and also all through the product advancement lifecycle. Unique accentuation ought to be connected to the coding period. One must always keep in mind that the only perfectly secured web server is the one that is turned off; and so preventative security should always be determined by preforming potential threat assessments and comparing them to the amount of effort it would take to prevent the threat. Capable and adaptable applications are required to run complex procedures which are actually more subject to web security issues.

    In order to properly safeguard your virtual business front and the security of your customer’s private information, one must implement a web security defense strategy and run periodic web security audits. These would include daily automated checks and scans, as well as careful checks by security specialists.

  2. Update Your CMS, Plug-ins, and Software
  3. The importance of an update strategy cannot be overemphasized. Updates are necessary for a multiplicity of reasons including security, problems in inefficient code, or failing operations. If you are using a popular content management system (CMS), the chances are that you will need to upgrade sooner rather than later. However, it is important to note that the upgraded version of your CMS will not necessarily support all of the plugins that you have carefully installed and customized when the site was initially launched. As part of your maintenance routine, make sure you search for newer versions of plugins or else replace them with reasonable alternatives before upgrading your CMS. When forming your personal update strategy, keep in mind that many platforms allow for easy push button updates. Beware; these must be tested as updates have the ability to crash entire sites. Updating your site is analogous to buying a blue-ray player for your 2000 home entertainment center. Assuredly, you will need additional tools or adaptions done to your old equipment to ensure that your new player is compatible. If not, the player will fail to work or worse yet break your entire system. Likewise, one must be careful that the systematic updates to your system are compatible with your other operating tools. Nevertheless, updates are crucial and you cannot be skipped. Some crushing consequences of negligence of updates can include unwittingly advertising less than desirable pharmaceuticals, the taking down of your entire site, or the compromising of your customers’ confidential information.

  4. Update and Maintain Links

    Try to build strong, incoming links. Incoming links are very important for ranking higher in the search engine marketing game. Keep track of all these incoming links and perform frequent checks on these links regularly to make sure they still have your link on their webpage. If you have outgoing links on your website to other sites which no longer work, search engines will often penalize you for broken links.

  5. Keep Your Content Fresh and Up-to-Date

    Drawing your visitors back and attracting new consumers is one of the main goals in website maintenance. If your site is not updated regularly, visitors will not bother to return. Increase the magnetism of your site by adding fresh, new content regularly to your website. This will not only prompt readers to return, but will also incentivize search engines to crawl and index your website and increase your social media mentions. Creating a forum, allowing your visitors to interact with each other and to connect with new people, can significantly increases the popularity of your website. An e-newsletter, containing articles, tips and tricks, is another successful way to connect with your visitors and inform them about special deals, and any promotional, educational or newsworthy events. A recent study has shown that the time young adults spend online has tripled since 2005. In total, the average adult spends over 20 hours a week online. Take a bit of time each day and ensure that your site is one of the sites they see!

  6. Analytics

    Another essential element is keeping track of your visitors’ activity on your website via analytic software. This advanced and readily available software will compile useful information such as:

    • Pages entered on and left on
    • Time spent on the site
    • Bounce rate
    • Referring sites
    • Countries your visitors are from
    • Keywords/phrase that were used to find you

    Website traffic analysis and statistics should help you plan more systematically for future business offerings and online activities. Take advantage of these statistics to improve the pages and features that consumers are visiting the most.

  7. Backing Up Your Website

    Frequent backups are critical, whether you are using the online interface of your store or a blog to make changes. Even though web hosting companies will claim that they backup the sites on their servers, their last backup could have been before your last edit. In the event of a server crash or a hack, your edits will be gone if the web hosting company restores what they had backed up. Imagine loosing an entire month’s work, just because you failed to take a few minutes to backup the site.

  8. Feedback

    Providing a form where all web users have the opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions for your site allows you to produce targeted content and continually improve your website. Not only with this enhance the general functionality of your site but it will also improve customer retention.