A website maintenance checklist

website maintenance checklistYou change the oil in your car. You get a haircut when you’re feeling shaggy. Heck, you even visit the dentist every so often. But, are you maintaining your website properly?

If you want to maximize your return on investment and get the most out of your website you need to implement a monthly website maintenance plan. Here’s a checklist to get you started.

Website Backups

  • Confirm that file and database backups are being automatically performed on at least a weekly basis.
  • Verify that backups are stored off site. (Consider Amazon S3 or Rackspace Cloud Files)
  • Restore from backup at least once every six months to ensure the backups are valid.

Software Updates

  • Apply available security patches for any software your site relies on (e.g. PHP, content management systems, ecommerce carts, etc.)
  • Evaluate non-critical software updates to see if they’re worth applying.

Check for Broken Links

  • Run a link checker to crawl your site and look for broken links that frustrate users and reduce search engine rankings.

Site Speed

  • Use Google Analytics to spot trends (good or bad) in your site’s performance. (Go to Behavior > Site Speed > Overview)

Search Engine Optimization

  • Use a tool like moz.com to identify structural issues with your site that may affect how search engines view your site like missing titles or duplicate content. (Start with their Search > Crawl Diagnostics report.)
  • Identify new referrers that are sending traffic to your site. (In Google Analytics go to Acquisition > All Referrals)
  • Check Google Webmaster Tools for any crawl errors.

Analytics

  • Create a Google Analytics dashboard to highlight the most important metrics for your site.
  • Look for trends (good or bad) in your key metrics.

Spam

  • If your site accepts comments or other content created by your users, check for any spam that may have gotten past your filters.

Functionality

  • Test any important functionality like filling out contact forms, signup forms, checkout forms, etc. to make sure everything is working.

This checklist is meant as a minimum starting point. You can certainly go deeper in any one of these areas depending on your site’s purpose and goals.

None of these tasks are overly time consuming. But, when you add them all together website maintenance can be a decent chunk of work. You probably have a million other things that require your attention. Like flossing, website maintenance probably isn’t high on your list.

We offer website maintenance packages that cover these tasks and more. Get in touch if you’d like to outsource these headaches and have a piece of mind that your site is in good shape.

Posted March 26, 2014 by Jason Siffring

Jason has over 15 years of web development experience and is the owner of Surprise Highway. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

9 comments  

Tony Gilbert Tony Gilbert
on July 27, 2015

Frankly I’m surprised that no-one seems to have published a full 360 degree website management process after almost 20 years of building websites. You make a good start, but it’s still quite shallow. I guess I might have to do it myself.

Howdy Stranger Danielle Mills
on August 13, 2016

Thank you so much for the Awesome article share by you with us. it’s a wonderful article.

Howdy Stranger David
on October 14, 2016

Great list Jason! Its always good to be refreshed about these things. This is the first time I have seen Yslow, looks like a good tool along with page insights.

Howdy Stranger Nouw
on November 3, 2016

Great list! Definitely something I’ll keep in mind when doing maintenance for my sites in the future. Thanks a bunch.

Howdy Stranger Hostolla
on April 26, 2017

GTMetrix is also another great site speed checker. It pulls together a number of different measurers (including Google’s PageSpeed Insights and YSlow). The tool also allows you to easily compare your site’s speed to other competing sites, and provides you with an exhaustive list of recommendations.

Howdy Stranger Steven
on August 4, 2017

What’s the best way to speed up a WordPress based e-commerce site? I’m currently using Woo Commerce plugin and would like to know if there’s any reliable plugin for that?

Thanks.

Howdy Stranger Jon Griffin
on August 8, 2017

I think SEMrush (similar to Moz, but I personally think better) and Vaultpress (amazing backup functionality) would be anyone’s friend here. Both of those would cover most of the points you have made.

Howdy Stranger Web Design Genie
on August 10, 2017

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Howdy Stranger Dai Software
on September 14, 2017

Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
Dai Software
Keep Posting:)

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