As small businesses continue to expand their services into the digital world, they are always looking for an edge over the competition.
A lot of effort is put into digital marketing to help drive more website visits. This means that your website’s performance is a vital component of your marketing strategy.
Even if you’re generating lots of interest through your marketing, it will not perform well if your website is in poor shape. After all, 74% of businesses say user experience is vital for boosting sales (source).
That’s why website maintenance is so important for small business to pay attention to.
In this article, we’ll cover what website maintenance means for your small business and how to get started.
Table of Contents:
- What Is Website Maintenance and How Does It Work?
- Importance of Maintaining a Small Business Website
- How Website Maintenance Helps Your Small Business
- Things to Consider When Hiring a Website Maintenance Agency
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Your Small Business Ready to Get Started With Website Maintenance?
What Is Website Maintenance and How Does It Work for Small Businesses?
Before we get started, let’s talk about website maintenance and what is involved for your small business.
Website maintenance is the routine process of updating software, inspecting design and functionality, optimizing performance, reviewing security, and conducting any other tasks that are required to keep a website fully operational and secure.
Most small business websites only have a handful of pages and minimal special features, so the process of website maintenance is usually quite straightforward if you know what you’re doing.
To maintain your small business website, we recommend starting with these five important activities:
- Backup your website files and databases
- Update plugins, themes, and other website software
- Check your website loading speed (recommended tool: gtmetrix.com)
- Test usability and design on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices
- Test functionality for your contact forms, events calendar, and any other special features
You should customize and expand this list based on your unique website needs by creating a website maintenance plan for your business.
Understanding the Importance of Maintaining a Small Business Website
Some businesses owner’s neglect their website maintenance because they don’t see the value in it.
The truth is that maintaining your small business website is a crucial element of your marketing success.
A poorly maintained website loads slowly, is not visually appealing, and does not work properly.
Since people form 75% of their judgment on a website’s credibility purely on its aesthetics, customers will form opinions of your business based on their experience using your site (University of Surrey).
Don’t let a poorly maintained website constrain your marketing effectiveness and damage your reputation.
How Website Maintenance Helps Your Small Business
Now that you’ve learned how important website maintenance is for your business, let’s talk more about the tangible benefits that you’ll experience from professional maintenance.
Here are five ways that website maintenance benefits your small business:
1. Reduces Unexpected Costs
When your website is well-maintained, your website is more reliable.
Because of the increased reliability, your site will be less susceptible to critical errors and other website issues that negatively impact your sales and reputation.
When your site experiences a critical error, you may need a professional to perform an emergency repair on your site. This can be very expensive (and stressful)! Also, while your site is down you are losing new customers, meanwhile impacting your reputation with existing customers.
Website maintenance will help minimize the likelihood of these problems occurring so you can have more peace of mind.
2. Eliminates Security Risks
One important aspect of website maintenance are software updates.
Although software updates are crucial for keeping your website running smoothly, they also keep your website protected from hackers.
Oftentimes, new software versions are released to patch security issues with old versions. By keeping your website well-maintained, you are protecting yourself from these vulnerabilities.
42% of small businesses experienced a cyber attack in 2020, so the threat is real and should be proactively managed.
3. Protects Your Data
Taking backups of your website is an important part of the website maintenance process.
Backups will allow you to restore your website at the click of a button if something goes wrong. This helps minimize downtime and large repair bills.
Although websites run without issues most of the time, eventually something catastrophic will go wrong. You want to be prepared when this happens to your small business.
4. Maximizes Your Marketing Effectiveness
As we mentioned earlier in this article, your website is an important component of your digital marketing strategy. It’s often one of the most influential factors that determines if a customer wants to do business with you.
A reliable, well-maintained website will not interrupt your users with slow loading times, broken pages, and other website issues. This means they are more likely to browse your site and eventually become a customer.
5. Provides a Good Experience to Users
You already know that users want to have a good experience when browsing your website, but perhaps you’re unaware of how website maintenance factors into their experience.
If your website is slow, contains broken pages, or has other visible issues, your user experience will be negatively affected.
Website maintenance provides a solid foundation for a well-functioning site, which helps boost user experience and increase sales.
A Few Things to Consider When Hiring a Website Maintenance Agency
We understand that many small business owners do not have the time or expertise to worry about website maintenance. In fact, that’s often the reason why maintenance is neglected in the first place.
That’s why many small businesses consider hiring help for these tasks. However, there are a few things you should be aware of before doing so.
Since your business is small, hiring in-house is simply not a cost-effective option. Most small businesses work with an agency to carry out their website maintenance tasks, however not all agencies are equal.
Marketing agencies may offer website maintenance as part of their service package, however oftentimes we notice that they often don’t have the expertise or detailed processes to perform maintenance effectively.
Luckily, you can find a web service provider that specializes in website maintenance. This is generally the best value for small businesses.
Let’s talk more about things you should consider before hiring help for website maintenance.
Assess Your Website Maintenance Needs
Before you start reaching out to potential maintenance providers, you should assess the needs of your website.
Think all the important aspects of your website that might need to be cared for. This could include your contact forms, connection to your email marketing system, events calendar, online ordering system, and more.
You’ll want to communicate these needs with the service provider to make sure they can fulfill them.
Of course, there are also more intricate aspects of your website that will need maintenance, but your service provider will determine those needs.
Many agencies will offer a free website maintenance consultation which will help you determine your needs.
Know the Costs of Website Maintenance
When researching website maintenance providers, you may not know what to expect when it comes to pricing. Since you’re not a website expert, how are you supposed to know what is involved with the process?
Understanding website maintenance costs is crucial to avoid being overcharged from a nefarious web company. We’ve seen this happen to many small businesses, which is why we help them reduce website maintenance costs by providing honest, upfront pricing.
For a small business, you can expect to pay between $100 and $1,000 per month for website maintenance.
Frequently Asked Questions About Small Business Website Maintenance
Is Your Small Business Ready to Get Started With Website Maintenance?
We hope this article helped you get a better understanding of how website maintenance impacts your small business.
Although it may seem unimportant in the broad scope of your business, it’s an essential supporting element of your marketing strategy and other business functions.
Keeping your website well-maintained improves user experience, maximizes sales, and minimizes surprise costs.
If you’re not feeling ready to handle these tasks yourself, hiring a website maintenance agency is often the right move. You’ll gain access to a team of experts for an affordable cost. That’s another task off your plate so you can focus on more pressing problems!