Website Maintenance in New Zealand
Website Maintenance in New Zealand, or anywhere else, usually refers to the routine tasks done to keep a website functioning correctly.
Because we are local and regularly work with New Zealand businesses, we know that some of the challenges business owners face with website maintenance include:
- Technical knowledge development; Maintaining a website requires ongoing development of skills across broad areas of technology.
- Time: Website maintenance can take time and resources away from core business, so can get de-prioritised without a set plan in place.
- Search Engine Optimisation: This is a moving target, as search engines regularly change the way they prioritise results, and competitors are also working on SEO in an attempt to outrank others in organic search results.
What exactly is Website Maintenance?
The extent of maintenance required will depend a lot on the complexity and size of the website.
Here are a few of the tasks that website maintenance could include:
- Checking the current state of the website for problems that need resolving
- Backing up the website
- Updating themes, plug-ins, or other software.
- Checking the function of integrations and making adjustments where required
- Security checks and updates
- Acting on feedback to make small improvements to UX
- Checking server performance and making adjustments where required
- Creating fresh content
- Updating existing content
- Performance Optimisation
- Checking and fixing broken links
- Documenting site structure and changes
Why is website maintenance important?
A website exists in a dynamic environment, the internet. Software and hardware devices are constantly changing over time, as are security threats.
Website Maintenance is important because it helps to keep your website secure, and compatible with current technology. This, in turn, improves customer experience and increases customer conversion and retention.
For example, if your customers are visiting your website on their brand new smartphone, but your website only works well on your ancient desktop computer, that customer is likely to leave the website and find another. They probably won’t pick up the phone to tell you there is a problem with your website!
Your website should have a responsive design that allows it to display on a variety of devices, and it should also be kept up to date as new technology is released.
Another example; if your website has integrations, changes on one side of the integration may cause your website to stop functioning as it should. These changes should be pre-empted so that you are not left with a sudden loss of functionality.
By staying up to date with maintenance, you can provide a better user experience for your customers.
Website Maintenance with Easy Web Things
We love maintaining the sites we build. Because we care, and because we want to see the website flourish and grow.
We specialise in WordPress maintenance, but we can provide maintenance for most platforms.
At Easy Web Things we prefer to provide ongoing support for sites we’ve made, but we understand that sometimes businesses want to handle maintenance in-house to save costs.
In this situation we can happily provide a detailed maintenance plan for staff to follow.
Factors to consider when deciding who will maintain your website.
If you are choosing an in-house staff member that already has other responsibilities, will they have time to complete all maintenance tasks? If choosing an external maintenance provider, check that they are able to schedule maintenance at a regular time that works for you, and that planned outages will align with your customers needs.
Access and Trust:
The person conducting maintenance will need admin access to various data and technology, and potentially your server. When choosing someone in-house, make sure the person is responsible, level headed, reliable, and has good security practices. You are giving this person power over your company’s data and public image, so choose wisely. When choosing an external business, also consider trust. Discuss security with them, and what security checks they do when hiring staff that may end up with have access to your site and data.
Find someone with the experience and expertise of the platform your site uses. If your site is custom built, maintain a good relationship with the business that built it, and ask them for recommendations on maintenance. If you can’t afford their maintenance rates, be honest, and ask if they will help you come up with a plan that can be partly completed in house.
The old saying, you get what you pay for. We do a great job, and we charge for our time. If you can find someone promising you the world for a dime, be skeptical. But sometimes, you can bring in a bit of that kiwi DIY attitude, and save some money. Here at Easy Web Things we believe in working together to find a solution if the budget for maintenance is tight. That could involve putting together detailed maintenance plans for you or your staff to complete. Yes, it means less ongoing work for us, but in the long run what matters is a happy client, and a functioning and flourishing website that we can be proud of.
DIY Website Maintenance for WordPress
WordPress is a really popular platform, for a lot of reasons. It’s easy to start with, it’s flexible, and you can find a plug-in to make WordPress do nearly anything you can imagine. So here are 10 tips to get you started with DIY WordPress Maintenance.
At least once a month, and preferably on a regular schedule so it doesn’t get forgotten:
- Back-up your website. There are a bunch of different ways to do this. Your hosting service probably provides some great options. You can save a backup locally on your server, and download a copy just to be on the safe side.
- Get ‘eyes on’ and take a look at your main pages to check the layout and design is still working responsively, on computer, tablet, and phone. It can be handy to keep screenshots from launch or a copy of the original design, to make comparisons.
- Check all essential functionality is working, such as forms, integrations, and ecommerce pages
- Check security reports and recommendations, check that your list of admin users is as expected and that all admins have 2FA set up.
- On a fresh staging site, complete plug-in and theme updates. Test that the site still displays correctly, and that all functionality is still working.
- Time this part for a period of low use, or warn your users of a short outage for planned maintenance.
- Put your production site into maintenance mode.
- Complete the same updates that you have tested on the staging site. (You can push a staging site to production, but for certain kinds of sites this can cause a loss of user progress.)
- Take the production site out of maintenance mode.
- Check again that everything looks and functions as it should.
Thanks for reading!
I hope this has helped you make a decision on how to maintain your Website.
If you have any questions or feedback, do get in touch!
We would love to help you with Website maintenance, in New Zealand and beyond.