Tips for managing your website
Think about it. You go to the doctor or dentist on a regular basis – or at least you should. Lamentably, far too few small business owners adopt the same mentality with respect to their websites. So, let’s discuss some basic maintenance that you should perform on your website to ensure optimal performance.
Tip 1: Log in often
Don’t make the mistake of only logging in once a week or month. Whether you use a hosting company’s basic templates or a full-blown content management system like WordPress or Joomla!, make sure that you log in regularly.
Why? Because threats abound on the Internet. Nothing is entirely safe, and the bad guys are constantly trying to figure out how to cause mischief. Routinely updating your software, themes, plug-ins and other extras minimizes the risk against your site being hacked or compromised. Ignoring signs of website distress is tantamount to ignoring symptoms of a heart attack or other maladies.
Tip 2: Take it easy on the extras
It’s addicting. I’ll admit it. You want your site to contain every bell and whistle, and you spend ungodly amounts of time adding new features. All too often, however, these new features actually detract from the user experience – and slow down your site. We’ve all seen sites that bombard you with ads, pictures, images, pop-ups and other superfluous elements.
Sometimes, less is more. Think Craigslist. Think Google’s home page. These are not plastered with NASCAR-type ads.
Tip 3: Load speed is critical
This isn’t 1997. You’re not going to wait 30 seconds for a page to load, right? If you have a splash page, please remove it. Ditto for cheesy music playing in the background. Kill it. Don’t expect visitors to wait for your home page to render. Every site is just one click away from the virtual trash bin. Making people wait excessively is arguably the single best way to alienate potential visitors, users and customers on your site – and your business.
Ask a few friends to visit your site. What do they think? For a more technical analysis, test the speed of your site on a regular basis using free tools like SpeedTest. If your site loads too slowly, think seriously about making some major changes.
Tip 4: Not all hosting is created equal
Too many small business owners think that the quality services provided from all web hosting companies is roughly equal. It’s not. In general, you get what you pay for. If your hosting company charges you $7 a month, you’re in all likelihood sharing space with potentially thousands of other sites. This isn’t inherently bad, but recognize that your site’s speed is being affected by the performance of other sites.
To minimize the degradation of my site’s performance, I recently upgraded my hosting on my main site, opting to use WPEngine. Is it more expensive than my previous hosting company’s plan? Sure – about four times as expensive. Yet, the uptick in speed and performance has been well worth it.
Set-it-and-forget-it is a recipe for website management disaster. To see the best results for your site, pay attention to its performance, layout and hosting company.
What say you? Email me.