If you’ve followed me for a bit you’ve probably heard me say that your website is like a puppy, not a microwave.
Puppies need daily care and feeding, regular exercise, and check-ups. When you bring home a new puppy this work is expected –it factors into your decision to get one.
Unfortunately, most organizations treat their websites like microwaves. Something they sit on a shelf, use everyday, and don’t clean often enough. And when it stops working, they toss it and buy a new one.
Why do websites need maintenance
When you mistreat your website like this it’s really expensive, as I described in the UX Yo-Yo: The True Cost of Redesigning Your Website Every Few Years.
If you don’t spend time taking care of your website, the user experience will deteriorate. It’s like a car depreciating as soon as you drive it off the lot. There are 2 reasons why.
- Technology changes. New browser versions, the latest iPhone, updates to your content management system…they just keep coming. There’s no guarantee your website is going to look and function the same on the next version of any device. Remember when smartphones came out?
- Your customer changes. Maybe they use your product or service differently and you don’t know about it. And due to technology, or maybe the improved user experience they are having on other websites, their expectations have increased. Your site doesn’t look so good anymore.
As a result, your once beautiful site is now a liability that is costing you business.
Website care plan
So how do you keep the user experience as fresh and performant as the day you launched?
Simple. You need to invest in doing maintenance and care activities on a regular basis.
What does a website maintenance checklist include?
When you think about taking care of a puppy, there are daily, weekly, seasonal and annual activities to keep them healthy. Your website is no different.
Here are 6 actions you should take regularly to maintain the user experience on your website.
- Update your CMS and your plug-ins /modules to the latest versions.
- Check for broken links. External sites may have changed their URLs and not redirected them.
- Fill out the forms on your site and verify that sender and receiver emails are being sent. You don’t want to miss out on any leads!
- View your site on the latest browsers and devices and see if everything still works the way it should.
- Run an accessibility audit. 20% of people identify as having a disability. Accessibility is good business sense!
- Update the copyright date in your footer. It’s OK, go check your site right now, just come back 😉
This is a handful of the items you should be carrying out.
I’ve put together a website maintenance checklist to help you plan and execute 24 different activities. And it’s in a handy spreadsheet, so it isn’t just a checklist but a tracker. You can record:
- External tools you use (I provide some recommendations)
- Date completed
- Next due date
- Who is responsible for
- Space for notes
- And most importantly, WHY each action is important.
I know you spent a spent a lot of time and money on your website. Protect that investment (and your reputation) and keep your customers’ user experience from degrading.
Get the Website Maintenance Tracker
There are Excel and Google Sheet formats.