It's important to perform regular website maintenance to keep your site up to date. What's more, web reporting allows you to see how your website visitors behave.
Why maintain your website?
There are lots of reasons to update your website regularly:
- It shows your business is active. If visitors see that your site changes frequently, they'll return more often to see what's new.
- It helps your search rankings. Search engines like Google check how often websites change and this information is used alongside other complicated algorythms to help determine rankings.
- It reduces customer queries. By updating your site with the information customers request, you can cut the number of queries you receive.
- Continual improvement. If you check your web reporting each week and use it to tweak areas of your site, you'll soon see big improvements.
Maintain your website content
You might need to perform several tasks to keep the content on your website updated:
- Remove or refresh old content. Outdated information should be changed or removed from your website.
- Add new content. It's wise to add content regularly - particularly if you run a blog, offer news or like to post new stories on social media.
- Change product and pricing information. If your products or prices change, your website should reflect this.
How often you refresh and review what's on your site will depend on how important the website is to your company. If it only contains basic information about your business, you probably won't need to update it very often.
Conversely, if you run an ecommerce website which generates lots of revenue, you'll need to regularly update it to change promotions, keep customers interested and ensure details of the items you sell are bang up-to-date. You can also benefit from checking your web reporting statistics daily - even minor changes could boost your bottom line.
Web reporting and testing
You can access lots of web reporting data to find out how people use your website. This can be valuable when deciding what changes to make:
- see how website visitors find your site
- find out which pages are most popular
- track visitor journeys through your pages
- monitor conversion rates and identify barriers to purchasing
- see which areas of your page are clicked most
- test different variations of a page to see which performs best
Testing what works on your website and what doesn't is key to improving your site's performance. A/B or multivariate testing allows you to create different versions of your website - visitors are split into different groups and each sees a different, edited version of your site.
As the visitors interact with your website, you can see which of the versions performs better. You can test which images, headlines, text, colours or layouts work best and then roll the changes out to all visitors.
You can use your web reporting data and test results to justify changes to your website. For instance, if people tend to leave your site during the registration process, you might simplify the registration form, then use web reporting to see what difference this makes.
You can collect web reporting data by installing a web analytics system onto your website. This involves placing a block of computer code onto your site. It can often be done automatically. Google Analytics is a popular, free web reporting tool. Other options include Clicky and CrazyEgg.
Many web analytics packages are free and offer access to extensive information about your website. Be wary of information overload and use your overall business objectives to determine which areas of your site to concentrate on.
Every site update matters
A good way to ensure maintenance and updates get done is to establish a regular schedule and delegate the tasks to specific people. For instance, you could perform price changes and add new products on Tuesdays. Set a regular time to check web reporting data too.
You might also be able to automate maintenance to some extent. Content management systems often allow you to set a date for content to expire. You can also keep a list of pages on your website and aim to review each at regular intervals - say once every six months. Many web reporting tools also allow you to deliver key reports automatically by email or mobile app notifications.