A great website is about more than just a successful launch or redesign. Just like a machine needs consistent maintenance, your website needs to be a well-oiled machine to perform optimally.
Website maintenance is about regularly checking for performance issues and keeping the content updated and relevant.
A healthy website with fresh copy and visuals underscores the value of your association and brand, encourages traffic growth, and strengthens your Google rankings.
This article takes a look at what is involved in website maintenance. We’ll step through the six resources you need to ensure your newly rebuilt site continues to operate at peak performance.
1. Analytics Insight
Analytics insight is the area that we most often encourage our clients to prioritize. You want to make sure your website visitors are happy, right?
To do so, you either need to understand how to set up, monitor, and respond to user behavior, or you need to outsource your website analytics.
One of the worst things you can do is save up and budget to redesign your site, then just walk away and have to do it all over again five years down the line.
Rather, continuously monitor user behavior and make constant, incremental mini changes to your site to respond to users’ needs.
For example, your team should be leveraging Google Tag Manager with Google Analytics to create and track conversion goals and make decisions accordingly to improve engagement and conversions on your website.
You also want to keep tabs on the competition. That means doing some competitive analysis on relevant sites to check out their traffic, new post types, and lost rankings on a regular basis.
2. New Content Development
It’s vital for your website content to be fresh and engaging.
Developing new content will allow you to earn new website traffic, boost your ranking for target keywords, and convert visitors into regular users and even members.
Continuous keyword research is needed to find relevant related topics and important subheadings to include on a page or post.
You can maintain this information on a content planning sheet or whatever system works best to organize your content and publishing schedule on your website and other marketing channels.
Maintaining a master sheet of your content also helps in identifying content gaps and opportunities.
3. Content Maintenance
You not only want to continue publishing new content, but you also want to refreshen, republish, and repromote old content.
In fact, a growing number of brands have also seen astronomical success from reviewing and updating old content, like this company who saw a 75% increase in website traffic after updating 24 old blog posts, and this company whose traffic grew 1,800% in 14 months.
Updating old content is a low-hanging fruit opportunity for your content marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) presence.
When you update an existing URL with new information, stats, and examples, you get new ranking signals on top of old ones. However, be sure to do your due diligence when updating content to not negatively affect keyword impressions and rankings.
4. Graphics Support
Just like your content, the visuals on your site should also be fresh and relevant to each page. Fresh graphics tell users your site is current and active.
All multimedia should be:
- Consistent with your branding, style guide, and messaging.
- Optimized for fast page loading speeds.
- Accessible for people with disabilities (i.e. comply with ADA and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).
Read More: Association Website Design Trends
Visual content such as infographics receive backlinks more often than other content formats. Infographics and the highly citable data they contain are great for increasing backlinks to your website and thus improving your off-page SEO signaling.
Plus, infographics and videos can be easily embedded in blog content (or landing pages and online lead magnets) to further increase the chances of acquiring links to your site.
Embedding videos also makes the page more dynamic and engaging. And the more views your videos get, your brand image increases too. Videos are also excellent for increasing shares on social networks.
5. Marketing Support
Marketing support from someone who understands personalization is a critical resource to have for continued website maintenance and optimization.
We recommend our clients start small with personalization when a new site is launched. This way, you’re not over-personalizing to the point that visitors are missing out on things they might be interested in, or that your organization wants to directly promote.
But you need someone on staff that can dedicate time to identifying ways to tailor personalization and drive engagement based on your website analytics.
Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Websites for Associations
6. Other Resources You May Need
We try really hard to ensure that we don’t launch a site for our clients that will require dedicated technical resources to manage. But of course, larger organizations do require IT staff and/or tech-oriented minds to support ongoing website maintenance and growth.
IT Website Maintenance & Support
Depending on your website/CMS plan and whether you’re using a Managed Service Provider (MSP) like Brightfind, you may or may not need server maintenance and support from IT.
If you have an MSP like Brightfind, ongoing software and security updates and site backups are often included to keep everything running optimally and protected from downtime or loss of data.
It’s wise to keep tabs on your page loading speed, Core Web Vitals, dead links, and errors using Google Search Console or an SEO Spider Website Crawler like Screaming Frog, browser compatibility, and search rankings.
You should also continuously refer to Google Search Console to find underperforming posts with content issues as well as pages with lots of keyword impressions but low rankings. Then, have your content writers refresh and republish the post to bring it current and ensure it’s SEO-friendly.
Also, use Google Search Console to see which pages and posts have high keyword impressions but low check click-through rates (CTR). Then, look at the competition and what’s driving CTR and update your meta description tag and/or title tag accordingly.
Here are the main SEO tasks your marketing support team, content writers, and/or digital people should focus on:
- Keyword Research - identifying high traffic/high intent keywords to optimize.
- Content SEO - aligning keyword research with evergreen & blog content creation.
- On-page SEO - tags, site performance, errors, URL structure, etc.
- Off-page SEO- link strategy, building, and disavowal.
You may also consider having someone dedicate a couple of hours per week to doing outreach to get strong backlinks to your website.
The goal here is to get links from relevant industry authorities and diversify your backlink profiles. Backlinks are essential to outperform your competition in the SEO game and continue to grow your website traffic.
So...how do you update and maintain a website?
The amount and types of website maintenance you need really depends on your CMS, whether or not you have an MSP, and the goals your organization has for your website.
You have to think about what you’re wanting to get out of your website. What’s the purpose?
Do you want to use your website to drive qualified leads and reach/attract potential members each month? Or do you want to increase your web visitors, rankings, and visibility in order to increase brand awareness?
Do you want your website to delight your members by providing exactly what they want, when they want it? Or maybe you’re mainly sending your email recipients or social media followers to your site.
Determining the long-term and short-term goals of your website will help you determine if you need to invest in things like content maintenance, SEO support, and the type of analytics insight you need to track.
If you need help with ongoing site maintenance, get in touch with us. We can take all the technical stuff and analytics off your hands, or get you set up to minimize your ongoing IT needs.