Set up a small business website
Website maintenance: options and requirements
Maintaining your website is crucial. As a website provider, you have the responsibility to ensure that the content of your website is accurate and up-to-date and that your visitors' data is protected from misuse.
Reviewing your website
Reviewing your website regularly is the best way to ensure that your business website is up-to-date and error-free. You can schedule a review calendar or carry out ongoing checks to manage:
- your content - including spelling and grammatical errors and out-of-date information
- internal and external links - including irrelevant links, broken links or redirects
- advertising or sponsorship banners - eg merchant's links in affiliate marketing
- compliance with advertising rules, if applicable
You can use many free and paid-for tools to help you maintain your website. These tools can identify broken links, missing images, spelling mistakes and other problems that can damage user confidence and adversely affect your search engine ranking.
Updating your website
Keep your website content as up-to-date as possible. Archive any out-of-date content and make sure that you provide something new for your users to come back to. Fresh content will also help you secure better search engine ranking. If relevant, you can use user-generated content to help keep your website engaging and up-to-date. You can integrate your social media accounts to keep your website current - see more on social media best practice for business.
If your website has a lot of dynamic content that changes frequently, consider using a content management system. This software can help with collecting, arranging and managing content on a website, an intranet or an extranet.
Website maintenance options
Four main options for carrying out website maintenance are:
- Do it yourself - use tools such as WYSIWYG ('what you see is what you get') editors, graphics software and various online validation services to maintain your site.
- Pay for ad-hoc updates - eg to your internet service provider (ISP). This is viable if the changes are relatively infrequent. However, as your site grows it will become less cost-effective.
- Use content management software (CMS) - you can use such tools on their own or as part of a general maintenance contract. Some CMS tools are free, although there are many for which you may need to pay an annual fee or monthly cost.
- Set up a maintenance agreement - with your ISP, a website developer or a digital agency. This may suit if you need to carry out regular and frequent updates to the content, monitor activities, or patch and maintain your content management software. Maintenance agreements involve a fee, usually on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Website maintenance budget
No matter how you decide to maintain your website, make sure that you fully budget for it - there will be a cost even for routine updates to your site. You will need to ensure that your website is fully backed up. You may also need an additional budget for further upgrading or redesigning of the site.