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+.

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