Congratulations, you are the proud owner of a new website! Your business has an internet presence that is responsive and attractive. Check that accomplishment off the list and move on to the next business issue, right?
Unfortunately, that is not the case. Your website needs care and feeding to make sure it remains healthy and productive. You need to check on your hosting, on your site updates, and on your website functionality.
A healthy website starts with a good hosting environment. Hosting providers come in a wide variety of costs and offer many different services. Start with a list of requirements for your website. Then, make sure that your host fulfills your requirements.
- Does your host offer full backups of your file system and your database?
If you have a content management system, you will most likely have a database. Log into your hosting platform and check to see if you have one. Contact your hosting provider and find out if you have a full file backup and database backup.
- What is your hosting support like?
Can you contact them when you need them? What kind of support options are available? Do they guarantee a time frame to get back to you? Your hosting platform may have a great price, but may not be worth the savings. If you can't reach them when you need them, it doesn't matter how cheap their service is.
- Do they offer all the options you need?
If you are searching for a new hosting provider, find out what your website requires. Do you have a CMS like Wordpress or Drupal that needs PHP and MySQL? What versions do you need? Your web developer will be able to inform you of any other technical requirements.
If you don't have a technical background, look into options for managed hosting. Hosting providers may take care of a lot of your website responsibilities for you.
Keep your website updated with your company's new information. If you hired new staff, launched an exciting new product, or want to share some great industry based information, make sure to share it on your site. For a lot of your client base, your website is their first introduction to your business. Having fresh content also helps your search engine optimization (SEO).
If you have a CMS, you have other updates to watch out for as well. A popular CMS, like Wordpress or Joomla, will find vulnerabilities in their code or plugins and release fixes. Usually, they announce what the vulnerability is and that a patch is available.
If you don't maintain your site and run these updates, find a hosting provider or a developer that will keep the website up to date.
You found a great hosting provider that meets all your needs, and you are keeping your website up to date with both content and CMS updates. Is that all of your website duties? Not quite.
Another responsibility that falls on the site owner is testing. It's your website that is representing your company, and no one else will have more interest in making sure everything is correct.
Here's a list of common features to look over:
- You may have one or more email forms on your site. It could be a contact form, reservation form, or even an e-commerce purchase form. Many factors can affect the email forms and cause them to stop working. Running through them and verifying that the correct person is receiving the email will make sure you aren't losing any leads or sales.
- A responsive website is one that will work on any device or browser. Most modern ones will keep the same website and resize or rearrange the elements to fit the browser display. Check your site to make sure an image or content didn't cause your website to display incorrectly on a phone or tablet.
- Are you rotating content on your homepage? It may change out an image or both an image and a call-to-action. If there is any kind of errors on your website in the coding or after a CMS update, it may affect how your rotator is working.
Many tests are more technical in nature, but visiting your site periodically is a great non-technical method of protecting your investment
Your responsibility as a website owner doesn't end after a successful launch. Checking through the site and doing your best to make sure you don't have any pending updates helps prevent issues. Finding trustworthy partners, such as your hosting provider and web developer, will ensure that your website runs smoothly. Your site visitors will see a true representation of your company when they visit your site.