The Internet is the first place everyone goes to find tradies or contractors, so if you’re not online you’re losing business to competitors who are. A well-designed website is essential these days — everyone’s scrolling their feed on the toilet, and we’re all in lockdown half the time anyway. But after you’ve managed to get a website, keeping it up to date is just as important.
There are a lot of things that go into maintaining a website like installing the latest security fixes and keeping its content up to date to ensure customers know the best way to do business with you. Having a checklist of tasks to complete throughout the year can help you stay on top of everything and keep your website working properly. Some maintenance tasks can be done any time while others have deadlines attached, and in this article we’ll go over all of them in detail.
Why is maintenance important?
Imagine this: you’re a tiler who just got certified to do waterproofing last week, but you haven’t updated your website to mention that. When a customer who needs a big bathroom renovation done comes to your website, they’re going to click away and go to the next one because they can’t see waterproofing services listed anywhere which means you’ve just lost out on $$$.
Website maintenance has big impacts on customers’ first impressions. If they can’t immediately see what services you offer, then you risk them clicking away and going to someone else for the job. Keeping your content up to date also impacts how highly you rank on Google search results, which also has a big effect on your sales and bottom line.
Outside of marketing, an unmaintained website can also develop problems. Pages might start loading slower leading to frustrated customers, or a security issue in outdated software might lead to your website getting hacked. If you don’t stay on top of things like domain renewals, then your website might even stop working entirely!
What's involved in website maintenance?
Website maintenance tasks come under four categories:
Design. Did you know that 90% of online customers make their decision based on the look and feel of the website? Keeping your website’s design up to date with modern trends can have a huge impact on whether customers follow through and get a quote from you. A good looking website reassures your customers that they’ve found what they’re looking for, and that your business is trustworthy and credible.
Following best practices. Broken links that go nowhere, buggy website plugins, and slow loading can frustrate customers and turn them away even after you’ve got them interested initially. It’s really important to make sure your website matches the quality and professionalism of the services you provide on the tools.
Search engine optimisation (SEO). Ranking high on Google search results makes it easier for customers to find you, which means more business. Google takes into consideration all sorts of things about your website such as the recency of your content, key words on your website, how quickly your website loads, and how many other pages on the web (like your social media profiles!) link back to your website.
Security. Keeping on top of security updates is critical for safeguarding your customers’ private information and preventing hackers from attacking your website. Depending on what your website does, you may also be subject to certain regulations as well — websites which take credit card payments, for instance, are required by PCI-DSS to install critical security updates within a month of being released for instance.
Website maintenance checklist
Tools such as Google Analytics tell you how many people are coming to your website, and how they’re using it. Checking in each week is key to understanding your site’s performance and identifying early whether things need improvement. If you see traffic going down, then that’s a good indication you need to change things up on your website or promote yourself online more.
We also recommend making a social post each week to update your customers on what you’ve been up to. A really easy way to achieve this each week is to post up some images of the last job you completed with a bit of text explaining what you did, and remarking on how satisfied your customer was. In business it’s always better to show your customers what you’re about rather than just telling them.
PageSpeed Insights is a free online tool from Google that analyses your website on a variety of different devices and gives suggestions on how to make it run faster. Using it each month will help you notice when things start to slow down.
Make sure all the software and plugins you use for your website and business are up to date so that you aren’t caught out by viruses or hackers. It’s also a good idea to ensure you’ve backed up everything each month so that if an emergency happens you won’t lose you and your customers’ valuable data.
Review your website’s content to make sure it’s all up to date. Ask yourself questions like “what have I been doing most during the past couple months?” or “what kind of customer do I want to attract with my website?” and then tailor your website accordingly. This also includes swapping out old images with newer, better ones.
If other tradies in your industry have websites themselves, take a look at what they’re doing to get some inspiration. If someone else is getting lots of business from their website, then try to find out what’s appealing about their website and put your own spin on it.
After you finish updating your content, go through your website and make sure everything’s still working by clicking around to different pages and filling out any forms you have.
Your domain name, SSL certificate, mailboxes, and any other services you use with your website will often be billed yearly — so make sure you know when they renew so that you’ve got cash on hand to handle them when the time comes. Not renewing your domain name on time can completely prevent your website from working, and also leaves you vulnerable to someone else swooping in and registering it themselves!
Bits and pieces like the footer of your website or your terms and conditions might need updating to reflect the upcoming year. While you’re there, it’s a good opportunity to quickly scan through your site to make sure everything still looks good and communicates the most important parts of your business. Depending on how well the website has performed, you may also want to consider a site redesign.
How much does this cost?
The exact cost will depend on a variety of factors such as who you got it from, how much of the work you’re doing yourself, and what kind of technologies your website uses. When we ran our own tiling business we paid $160/month in hosting because we needed a big server to handle all the people coming in to our site, but smaller companies can use something cheaper. For simplicity’s sake we’ve assumed that software updates will be handled by a developer working two hours a month, and that your hosting costs are cheap.
When you sign up with Kwotimation, you get one easy monthly bill to pay and we handle all the software updates and security. And if you need a feature on your website we don’t already have, you can get in touch with us and one of our inhouse developers will get right on to it — without you needing to pay anything extra. We did all the hard work figuring out how to make great websites, and now we want to share that with New Zealand and Australian tradies.