Your website is your vehicle to achieving your marketing objectives and how you look after that vehicle will dictate how successful your organisation is.
You wouldn’t buy a car and expect it to run forever without regular servicing and maintenance.
You need to have the oil changed, the tyres checked and a wash every now and again to keep it looking nice - your website is exactly the same.
This is where regular maintenance comes in, it keeps your website on the journey to achieving success (providing you add the fuel!).
Website maintenance is not a glamourous supercar. Think of it more as a reliable family car - it takes care of all of your needs and always gets you from A to B, no questions asked.
A website that hasn’t received the right TLC can leave you with a mountain of issues that need addressing and that can be overwhelming before you even start - we know!
The longer you leave it, the worse the effect will be on your website (and marketing results).
Poor performance of the backend of your website can leave your internal team feeling frustrated and ineffective at their job, a bad website experience for your visitors means your marketing efforts will be falling on deaf ears (or eyes).
Whether it’s user experience or security that you feel needs some attention, without some maintenance you’re likely to be driving down the road that leads to nowhere.
Whether you see website maintenance as your reliable car that always gets you to where you need to be or as your unsung marketing hero that has saved the day before you even knew it needed saving, you’ll still need buy-in from your decision makers, whether that’s your CEO, a board of directors or simply your Head of Marketing.
We can take the pain out of creating a flawless business case for why website maintenance needs approval from your senior management team and the reasons why they should say yes.
Fasten your seatbelts and join us in this series to find out where maintaining your website can take you.
Let’s start with how website maintenance can help your customer or visitor’s experience.
Road Trip vs Road Race
Think about when you’re a customer or a website visitor. When a website’s taking too long to load, we all give up and try somewhere else (even the most empathetic marketers have a threshold). Just as we only queue for petrol when we know we can’t make it to the next petrol station or another journey. Consider how much custom that loses a business if every visitor to their website left because the experience was so slow?
Now imagine that it's your business and your customers! Customers are fickle, if it’s taking too long, they’ll move on. This applies to all websites whether you’re an eCommerce business, a charity or have a brochure website. If your visitors can’t find what they’re looking for instantly, they’ll find it from a website that understands it’s visitors’ needs.
Take a charity website, for example, as generous as charity donors are if they can’t quickly and easily donate to your cause online it’s likely they’ll ‘leave it till another day’ if at all and unless you have a well oiled multichannel marketing strategy that keeps you in their mind’s eye we know they’re bound to forget and ‘another day’ becomes never.
Imagine your charity sells online and for easy numbers you make £100,000 per day from your website, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you almost £2 million in lost sales every year according to Kissmetrics. If something was knowingly losing you £2 million in sales, would you ignore it?
And when 79% of shoppers who have trouble with loading speeds say they won’t return to the site to buy again, you can understand why using regular website maintenance to keep your website loading swiftly.
40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load
If your website loads like a formula 1 car, you’re simply round the first bend. The speed of your site isn’t the only part of your website that you need to maintain, it’s merely the first hurdle to getting customers to engage. Your site needs to be simple to use, visitors need to be able to find the information they’re searching for, buy the product they’re looking for quickly or donate to a cause easily.
Website maintenance gives you the ability to focus on elements of your site where customers are failing to reach the finish line and make changes beyond content tweaks. It can give you the ability to change things from moving elements to a different part of a page to shortening your checkout process so you’re not asking more questions than a car insurance provider.
It’s always worth remembering that visitors want an eye-pleasing experience on the device they’re using and with technology changing so often, website maintenance gives you the tools to stay responsive on all popular screen sizes.
If things don’t look right, it’s likely your visitors will lose trust in you and your website. When 38% of people stop engaging with a website if the content or layout are unattractive it’s clear to see why we need to be up to date with how a website looks.
Any snag a visitor finds on your site, whether it’s related to design or navigation, can be the difference between a smooth journey or a car crash.
80% of people stop doing business with a company because of poor customer experience
Under the Hood
Humans aren’t the only ones visiting your site that you need to please. Website crawlers, for search engines, rank your site based on quality. These crawlers are interested in how user-friendly your website is and looking to answer questions including:
- Is your content written for your visitors rather than being stuffed with keywords left, right and centre?
- Are there a number of broken links?
- Do you have duplicate content?
- Is your website coded well?
Search Engines, such as Google, will rank websites higher that the fancy algorithms have found to be of more value to visitors. A page that is written for humans first, without broken links and receives traffic that doesn’t instantly leave the page will rank much better.
Website Maintenance allows you to monitor these all-important factors and sort any issues you find quickly - something that search engines love.
Driving the right traffic to your website is the lifeblood of your online business and something you can’t do without search engines.
Ease the Pain for Future You
Just like your car, regular maintenance is much cheaper and easier than waiting to fix problems once they appear - some issues may go unnoticed for longer too.
When you’re proactive with your maintenance, your website will be smoother, more efficient, and do its job for your visitors or customers.
Your website exists for a reason, whether it’s your revenue stream, an information source or a mixture of both. To do its job, it needs regular attention to keep it performing at its best for your audience. If your visitors are too frustrated by their experience they will always go elsewhere.
Website maintenance allows you to improve your website for your visitors whether it’s to regain trust that a broken website has lost or simply to get your website working better at achieving success.