Search engines like Google continue to put pressure on older technology and older websites. Bottom line = If your website is not continuously maintained, your results will decrease. This usable Website Maintenance Checklist is designed to guide you to the best search results possible with better page performance! (Without taking too much of your time)
So what? You’re probably wondering how this affects you. It affects you directly because page performance is a major search engine ranking factor. If your site is old or slow or outdated, your rankings will decline. (If they haven’t already)
But not to worry. We’re here to help. Just follow the steps in this checklist and start getting the results your business deserves!
The 4 Pillars of The Website Maintenance Checklist
The four pillars of the website maintenance checklist are: One = The Foundation. Two = Performance. Three = Security. Four = Content Cleanup. Next, we’ll summarize each in easy-to-understand language. In addition, this article will empower you with how-to tips to save you the time you would spend trying to figure it out yourself.
One = Website Maintenance Foundation
Let’s start with the foundation of your website = usability and analytics. Do you even know how your website is performing? No need to be embarrassed if you don’t. Tracking the end-to-end journey from a website visitor to a paying customer is not easy. Here are a few tips to make the tracking process easier.
- Usability: Visit your website! Is it functional? Does it clearly state the 3 most important things you should tell visitors? 1) Here’s what we do. 2) This is what’s in it for you. 3) Here’s what to do next.
- Testing: Test your website internally and by a 3rd party. Have someone else look at it and ask them if they get it.
- Content Layout: Format all pages so they are easy to understand and congruent.
- Analytics: Set up analytics. We recommend Google Analytics and Jetpack Stats.
- Plugins: Remove any unnecessary or unused plugins. (They slow your site)
It’s amazing what you can find out simply by asking a few friends to give you feedback on your site. As long as the feedback is open and honest, it will be priceless. You will probably be surprised what they uncover for you.
Two = Website Performance
Page performance and speed are major search engine ranking factors. If your site is slow and clunky, not only will Google not like it, neither will your visitors. Here are a few tips to increase your website performance.
- Performance Testing: You can test your website’s page performance on tools such as Pingdom or GTMetrix. (Check the tools section for links)
- Powerful Hosting: You don’t need to break the bank to get powerful WordPress hosting. A small monthly investment of $30 can triple the traffic to your website in 1-2 weeks. (We know because we migrate our clients to WPEngine hosting and see those increases all the time)
- Stay Up-to-Date: Perform regular updates of all of your plugins and themes to ensure bugs are fixed and your site is performing optimally.
- Submit Sitemap: Be sure to submit your sitemap to the search engines so that you can actually show up in their search results. You can do this through the Yoast plugin or through your Google Search Console.
- Content Cleanup: Cleaning up your content can dramatically boost page performance. More on that later.
Sometimes getting more traffic to your website can be as simple as following the 4 tips above. Unfortunately, not many people know about these simple tips. But now you are fully informed. It’s up to you to take action on these tips.
Three = Security
The question isn’t if your website will be hacked, it’s when. These 3 tips will not only make your website secure, they will also boost traffic generation.
- SSL Certificate: Make 100% sure your website is SSL secure. If it’s not, Google is penalizing you RIGHT NOW! If your website URL has the S in httpS://www.yourcompanyname.com, then it’s secure. Or if your web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge) says “Secure” or has a green lock icon. Otherwise, get an SSL Certificate today. SSL Certificates are free with our hosting provider WPEngine.
- Backups: Perform regular backups of your website just in case. Again, WPEngine does this automatically. But you could simply export your WordPress files about once per month too. (Or every few months if you don’t change your website often)
- Add a security plugin: We use Shield and iThemes Security, but there are plenty of great WordPress security plugins.
Again, not many businesses know that simply adding an SSL Certificate can have such a dramatic effect on your results. You can usually get your SSL Certificate for free or for a nominal investment through your hosting provider.
Four = Content Cleanup
Cleaning up your content can be a time-consuming process. But it’s worth it. Some of our clients have seen 10 times more traffic simply by cleaning your content. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Delete: Remove out-of-date content. Remove distracting content. You can do this either by unpublishing your WordPress pages and posts. Or simply delete them.
- Optimization: Ensure all pages are optimized for search. We recommend the Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin to optimize all your pages and posts. (Hint: It’s free)
- Clean up old blogs: Put them into 3 buckets = 1) Keep 2) Remove 3) Consolidate / Improve. Create “Cornerstone” content pieces that are the most relevant to your business.
- Readability: Sounds obvious, but check spelling, grammar, and the readability of your content. Again, the Yoast plugin helps with this.
We recommend that you plan your content cleanup and create a strategy. Focus on improving your most visited pages and get rid of any pages or posts that don’t produce any traffic. Because this is a time-consuming process, you might consider starting slowly by cleaning up one or two pages per week.
Next Step = Take Action!
What will happen if you take action and follow through on all the tips in this checklist? I’m confident you will see at least 2-3 times more traffic.
How confident am I? Confident enough to put my money where my mouth is. If you take action and do NOT see at least 3X more traffic in a 1-month after implementing these tips, then I’ll give you $100! But I’m not worried. These tips and tactics just flat out work!
To your continuous success,