So you’ve just had your brand-spanking new website created. It looks great, the branding has been updated, your content is fresh and relevant, and it’s ready to go live. This is the first day in the new life of the business and it’s all going to go well after this.
And for a few weeks or months, it does. Sales and interest are up, your content management system is working well, and the site still has that healthy new glow. But then the content slowly becomes out of date, your products or services change or evolve, so you need to make some updates to the structure of your site. Then you start to find your images a little outdated, and you slide down the search engine rankings.
Your shiny new site is not looking quite so impressive anymore and perhaps not performing as you'd like. What happens now?
This is exactly why you need to think about website aftercare. If you’re not tech minded or find the pace of change a little hard to keep up with, then you need on-going support for your new site. Here are some top reasons why:
Traffic dropping off
When your site is new and fully SEO ready, you’ll notice a boost to your rankings and traffic. But as search engines adapt the way they register SEO, your site can quickly be outdated. A regular check up of SEO efficiency can help you to maintain traffic levels, with advice on keeping blogs and new content SEO friendly.
Remove dead content
Dead pages such as news or testimonials that are out of date can clutter up your site and reduce its SEO efficiency. Not only that, but the stale content is a real turn off for potential customers. You need to keep it all up to date and streamlined as much as possible.
Your website is probably your most valuable business tool these days, or certainly one of them. It’s something you should invest time, effort and money into. And when you do, you want it to work as well as it possibly can; which is why aftercare is such an important part of the process.
If you’re using a content management system (CMS) or any other kind of software management tool, then you need to make sure these are regularly updated to be in top working order. Thankfully, the CMS I use to support my client's websites is regularly updated automatically. It also continually being updated with new features to keep your website ahead of the ever-changing world of the internet.
URLs and meta descriptions
It’s a good idea to amend URL and meta descriptions to keep them SEO friendly and relevant. Again, keeping things static is a sure fire way to reduce the efficacy of your site.
Call to actions
Your call to action is probably the most important part of your site but not necessarily the most noticeable. And therein lies the problem. Turning visitors into sales is likely to be the most difficult thing you can do, so you need to make sure your CTA is kept up to date, visible and in an effective position. This may involve some tweaking to find out where it is best located on the page. So this forms another key part of any aftercare service.
Responsive design and compatibility
Any new website ideally needs to be responsive. More than 50% of all web traffic these days comes from mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. If your site is not adaptable to these smaller formats, then you’re missing out on a huge amount of potential custom. Your aftercare should ensure that your site is working on all platforms and responding to any new ones that come along.
Similarly, you need to make sure that your site is compatible with all web browsers and any changes they might be making to their operations.
You need to make sure your site is compliant with any legislation including the EU Cookies Directive and the Equality Act. If not, you could potentially face legal consequences. You should also ensure that you meet the W3C industry standards.
If you work in a specific industry, such as real estate, then you need to make sure that where applicable you upgrade specific search tools to stay relevant and by industry regulation.
On-going hosting and email issues
Your site needs a home, and so you need to make sure your hosting is being looked after. Likewise, if you have an email account linked to your site, this needs to be maintained to ensure your communication tools are in place.
Changes to text and images
Depending on what kind of site you have, it may be straightforward to edit text and images on your site. However, this is not always the case. If you’re not using a template and have a custom made site, this is often a little trickier. An on-going aftercare programme will let you make any changes you see fit as your site settles in.
Headings and Title tag relevance
One of the key SEO markers is the headings and tags. These need to be kept relevant, with old posts and content being updated to match the new methodology. It’s a great way to refresh old content and keep it relevant.