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How do you know whether your website needs maintenance? Well, most people reading this guide are here because their website currently has:

  • Slow-loading pages.
  • Links leading to errors.
  • Spam comments.
  • Occasional downtime.

If your website checks off some items on this list, it’s not doomed. In fact, website maintenance exists to resolve and prevent those issues. Additionally, it’s important to bring your website up to par with user expectations and industry trends.

In this guide, you’ll learn what web maintenance is about, why it’s important and how to maintain your website.

What does website maintenance include?

Website maintenance is a routine that involves monitoring key aspects of your website and ensuring everything runs smoothly. The biggest concerns are security, content and performance. To execute site maintenance consistently, make a website maintenance plan.

A website maintenance plan strategically outlines the goals, activities, responsibilities and resources needed to keep your website on track. This often requires help from various personnel since maintenance affects different facets of a brand.

The reasons website maintenance is important

Three reasons web maintenance is important.

There are countless reasons to maintain your website, but let’s cover the three most important ones.

Earn trust from your audience

In 2022, ISACA surveyed more than 3,000 consumers in the U.S., UK, Australia and India about their perspectives on cybersecurity. One out of three consumers revealed they’d cease interacting with a business that failed to protect their personal information.

The takeaway is that most of your audience cares about the security of their data.

The beauty of website maintenance is that it’s a consistent opportunity to keep your website secure by backing up your data, updating your security programs and running scans for malware and intrusions.

Web maintenance time is also great for installing new features that add security to user identity verification, transactions and data transfer.

Get exposure for your business

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality of your website’s content so search engines, like Google, are more likely to recommend it in results. When search engine users click your webpage, it’s labeled as organic traffic; for most popular websites, it’s a main source of visitors.

A 2023 study showed that across six huge industries, nearly 40% of website traffic is organic. In the same study, 93% of survey respondents said that SEO improved their website performance and marketing goals.

Your website maintenance routine is an opportunity to uphold SEO best practices. Namely, optimize your images’ alt text, aim for backlinks from established websites and write compelling titles and meta descriptions. You’ll gradually get more visitors.

Use metrics to improve your website’s efficacy

It’s essential to tune your website so its features align completely with your business objectives. The key is measuring your efforts by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs).

Web maintenance time is your cue to review your KPIs and identify areas needing improvement to meet your goals effectively.

To illustrate, imagine you’re focused on acquiring new customers. During web maintenance, you can review your website traffic, bounce rate and session duration to identify pages with flourishing features.

The success factor of those features can then be replicated in other places to attract more visitors, increase your engagement rates, lower your bounce rates and increase session durations. In other words, your website becomes more compelling.

How to maintain your website

  1. Perform backups and disaster recovery.
  2. Conduct performance monitoring and optimization.
  3. Update your content.
  4. Run security updates and scans.
  5. Check links for issues.
  6. Test your website’s browser compatibility.
  7. Review key performance metrics.
  8. Renew your domain name and hosting plan.
How to maintain your website.

Use the steps above as a starting point to prepare a website maintenance checklist tailored to your goals. It will make your life easier and smoother.

For more context, let’s discuss the specifics of each task. Generally, they cover four core categories: security, content/SEO, web design and website performance.

1. Perform backups and disaster recovery

Valuable data gets lost due to unforeseen events like human error, power failure, hardware failure and malware. When it happens, you’ll be glad you saved consistent backups.

Consider making a disaster recovery plan to save critical data like user accounts, customer emails, delivery addresses, product catalogs, sales figures and source code.

Websites built on different platforms will have different backup mechanisms. For example, backing up a WordPress website can be accomplished with a plugin — owners of custom-built websites may have to find another way.

Bluehost clients can back up their files using the control panel with added features for your convenience.

2. Conduct performance monitoring and optimization

Think of performance monitoring and optimization as a perpetual quest to improve your website in distinct ways, like user experience and website design.

Install tools that help you work on specific areas. For instance, optimize website speed using GTmetrix or Google PageSpeed Insights. Monitor your website’s uptime with a tool like AlertSite, which will catch website performance errors and track your uptime proactively.

Web maintenance time is when you check in with the tools that manage your website. Look for any notifications and reports to review for improvement opportunities.

3. Frequently update content

In an online world where trends change quickly and standards steadily rise, it takes consistent effort for your content to convey you’re on top of your game. Polishing up your posts goes hand in hand with staying relevant.

How do you know which content needs updating? An analytics tool like Google Analytics can help you identify pages with low engagement or high bounce rates. These are signs of content in need of an update.

Another approach is to review individual pieces and evaluate their relevance in today’s market.

Refreshing your content can entail re-recording a video in higher definition, updating the information in a blog post, changing the numbers on an infographic, replacing broken links, updating content publish dates and providing newer product suggestions.

Search engines and people gravitate toward better and newer releases. Hence, updating old website content will help you grow your online presence, generate new leads and get more conversions.

4. Run security updates and scans

In the U.S., over 422 million people were victims of data breaches, leaks and other compromises in 2022 alone. It’s vital you develop a robust security strategy that detects threats and closes loopholes hackers use to launch cyber attacks.

Unprotected websites have vulnerabilities to malicious tactics such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS). Use vulnerability scanners like Acunetix and Burp Suite to prevent intrusions.

Installing security patches and regularly updating your scan tools goes a long way to increase your website’s stability and security.

5. Check links for issues

Visitors and search engines use internal links to navigate your website. Visitors use them to find related information they’re interested in. Search engines use them to index webpages and understand the greater context of your website.

If you link to a webpage that later receives a URL change or gets deleted, your link will break or lead to an error. Web maintenance is your time to detect and correct this, making a better experience for your audience and for search engine bots.

Use a tool like Ahref’s Broken Link Checker to find and fix any broken links on your website. Then, ensure all your links lead to relevant and up-to-date content. Why? User experience and search engine optimization.

Search engines now recognize when a link is misleading — in other words, when the linked text doesn’t align with the content of the page it links to. For the best search engine rankings, use descriptive and highly relevant text when you link to something.

Also, consider your website visitors. The best user experience involves seeing relevant and satisfying results when they click a link. By using reliable link text, you provide a higher quality service and build trust with your viewers.

6. Test your website’s browser compatibility

Browser compatibility testing is a key item on the website maintenance checklist. Different browsers use varying configurations, which can cause rendering issues on some people’s devices.

As part of your ongoing efforts to improve user experience, aim to maintain your website’s functionality on all relevant browsers.

Tools like BrowserStack, Browserling and LambdaTest will test your website’s appearance and function on multiple browsers and devices.

7. Review key performance metrics

Key website maintenance metrics.

Peek under the hood to see what’s driving — and not driving — conversions on your website. Learning and implementing key web metrics will drastically improve your website’s conversion rates and subsequently grow your business.

Metrics show you how customers interact with your website. Imagine running an online marketing campaign; you’d want to know how many visitors your campaign drives to your website, right? You’d also want to know how interested people are.

A popular tool to get you started is Google Analytics. With it, you can analyze metrics like page views, bounce rate, traffic sources and unique visitors. Review analytics reports during your web maintenance routine to stay on track with your goals.

8. Renew your domain name and web hosting plan

Keeping your website online involves recurring payments. To avoid service interruptions, occasionally log in to your domain name service and web hosting provider to confirm your payment info is correct.

It’s a simple task that takes less than five minutes but will save you frustration, so it’s worth having on your website maintenance checklist.

However, domain name registrations typically last a year or more with one payment; revisiting it every month is pointless. This illustrates another level of nuance we’ll consider now: How often should each web maintenance task be done?

How often should you do web maintenance?

Standard recommendations for web maintenance frequency.

Some website maintenance tasks require frequent execution, while others don’t. Since each website and owner is unique, consider the guidelines below and adjust them to what works for you.

Weekly tasks

The following are worth doing every week to avoid build-up and downtime.

  • Back up your entire website, including the database.
  • Remove spam comments and approve relevant comments. Use a tool like Akismet to manage this.
  • Run all available software updates to gain stability and security.
  • Ensure all pages load correctly. Google PageSpeed Insights will help you here.

Monthly tasks

These are most effective when tackled monthly to realign your goals.

  • Review the overall security of the website using tools like Acunetix.
  • Update any website content that has become outdated.
  • Check the load speed of critical webpages using a tool like GTmetrix.

Quarterly tasks

Once a season, give these big-picture tasks your attention to improve incrementally.

  • Review prevailing web design trends to ensure your website looks modern.
  • Use a tool like Burp Suite to ensure all your website’s interactive components work correctly.
  • Analyze and optimize your content strategy to gain exposure for your brand.

Annual tasks

Every year, set aside some time to cross these tasks off your list.

  • Renew your domain name, SSL certificate and web hosting plan. Double-check your payment info.
  • Renew plans for the website tools you subscribe to. Double-check your payment info.
  • Review your terms of service and privacy policies. Add updates as needed.

How much does it cost to maintain a website?

Factors determining the cost of maintaining a website.

Website maintenance costs differ from business to business. The determinants of the final cost include:

  • How much bandwidth you use.
  • The total cost of your website tool subscriptions.
  • The type of website (e.g., personal, small business, corporate or eCommerce site).
  • Your web hosting plan, website platform and domain registration.

Despite these differences, certain costs are typical for businesses in specific categories. For example, someone making a personal website can typically expect modest traffic and function without eCommerce integrations.

Therefore, personal website owners only pay for their domain name, web hosting plan and maybe a professional email. All these combined can cost between $5 to $30.

On the other hand, costs are slightly higher for a small business website (think $50 to $100) due to higher bandwidth usage and premium plugin subscriptions that facilitate doing business online.

Finally, making an eCommerce website or corporate website will incur more expenses because they’re more resource-intensive. Total prices range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.

How to choose a website maintenance services provider

How to choose a website maintenance services provider.

A website maintenance service provider is an individual or company hired to keep a website up to date, secure and performing optimally.

Here’s how to choose a reliable provider with website maintenance packages that fit your brand.

Assess the services they offer

First, map out the tasks you need help with. Then, contact a service provider to inquire about their precise execution of those tasks.

Learn more about their experience and expertise

Service providers with significant experience and expertise will bring the most value. Their procedures will be smoother and quicker, they will be more current with best practices and their strategies will have proven results. Go with a provider you can tell is experienced.

Research their response time and support

A reliable service provider should respond swiftly to your concerns, questions and requests. They’re a key player in helping your business maintain a good reputation. To understand how they respond, seek out reviews on them.

Consider their scalability

When your business grows, you need a provider that will grow with it. Can your preferred service provider maintain the stability and responsiveness of your website during your peak traffic? What if that peak traffic doubled by next month?

The best website maintenance providers offer solutions like load balancing, which distributes processing tasks across several servers so none get overloaded. Contact Bluehost to discuss the most efficient way to scale your web hosting on demand.

Ask about their pricing plans

Price is an important factor when choosing a service provider. On the other hand, ensure you get the most value from supported features; a slightly higher price can be more than worth it when you use the extra features and superior quality.

Find references and reviews

The service provider you pick must come highly recommended. Lean on your networks for recommendations and visit review websites like Trustpilot to check the ratings of a potential web maintenance services provider.

Final thoughts: Website maintenance checklist and guide

There’s no doubt that website maintenance is imperative — and usually, the process is a breeze. Sometimes, website owners run into hurdles or simply find the routine too time-consuming. You need a reliable team to fall back on.

Your first line of defense is your hosting service provider — that’s where Bluehost comes in. With a team of experts on standby 24/7/365, rest assured we’ll have your back when you need it.

And to shave some tasks off your web maintenance checklist, our hosting plans come with a free SSL certificate, automatic backups and automatic malware scans.

Website maintenance FAQs

What is the difference between web design and website maintenance?

Web design involves creating visual elements that represent a brand and provide new features. In contrast, website maintenance includes monitoring functions to ensure things run smoothly; this includes optimizing site speed, reviewing analytics and fixing broken links.

Should you hire a professional or maintain a website on your own?

Assuming you’re financially capable, outsource website maintenance services so you can focus on activities that increase your revenue and outweigh the cost. In contrast, maintaining your website is more sensible if your budget is tight and you have the time.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Education
    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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