Too many website owners view their sites with a “set it and forget it” mentality – once it’s up and running, they don’t bother to update it regularly or even keep it maintained so that it continues to run smoothly and efficiently. But website maintenance is a key part of a sound web strategy.

There are several fundamental website maintenance tasks that should be undertaken on a regular basis – at least monthly is a good idea:

Back-up your website This is critical for ensuring your site and the information in it is protected from outages and hacking. Backing up is something you should do frequently to ensure that the back-up file is current and ready to go should you have a problem.

Test your website speed Testing the download speed of your website on a regular basis is important. With increasingly faster network speeds, web users are now accustom to fast page loads and lightning fast file downloads. Websites that are slow to load risk losing visitors – and for businesses, that can mean losing customers. Test your website speed regularly to ensure you’re running at optimal speed.

Check hyperlinks Without regular maintenance and updating, links can start to fail as internal and external files change and references and resources are removed or modified. Testing links is not hard – just use a link checker to test both internal and external links at least once a month.

Review keywords Keywords are the best way for people to find your site, so you should have carefully-chosen keywords and phrases to reflect your website content and what’s important for your business or organization. If your products, services, or mission have changed, you should make sure that you revise your keywords and phrases to stay current and attract the right traffic.

Check your stats Your website statistics can reveal a lot about the traffic it receives, what’s popular (or not) in it, and how well your site functions. Some key stats worth reviewing regularly include:

  • Pages entered on and left on
  • Time spent on the site
  • Bounce rate
  • Referring sites
  • Countries visitors are from
  • Keywords and phrases that were used to find you

Monitor for website outages make sure you have a way to be notified if your site goes down. The last thing you want is to have someone email or call you hours – or even days – after your site goes down to tell you it’s not functioning.

Check domain registration information This is especially important if there is something special about your domain name that adds value for your company or marketing. If your domain registration expires without you being aware of it, you may not be able to re-register it. Look up in WHOIS what information is recorded for your domain name and double-check it. If you’ve owned it for several years, the original email address connected with it may no longer be valid. Without a current and correct email address, any domain notifications about problems with your account or expiry notices will not get delivered.