A website is a living, breathing thing. It needs to be checked and tested to ensure it’s performing at its best. If you don’t check your site regularly, you could be missing out on potential sales and traffic.
When was the last time you backed up your site or tested for broken links?
If you are a small business owner managing your own website, you may be unaware that your website needs to be consistently updated and checked in order to prevent your site from breaking or going down. Maintenance is extremely important as forgetting to update just one plugin could cause a lot of problems.
Try to undertake the following things monthly if possible.
Here are six ways to test the health of your website:
Backing up is one of the most important things you can do to protect your website. A backup is simply a copy of all the files on your site, so if something happens (such as a hacker attack), you have an exact copy that is safe and can be restored.
Setting up backups is easy: there are lots of services out there that will do it for free or for a small fee. For example, Google Drive and Dropbox both offer free online storage space where you can store backups (Dropbox has 2GB; Google Drive has 15GB). This means that even if someone hacked into your computer, they wouldn’t be able to get access to any data because it’s stored somewhere else entirely! Just make sure that when running a backup through these services’ web interfaces—there may be other options available—you check “Backup” instead of “Sync” (or whatever syncing option is available).
UpdraftPlus, BackUpBuddy, VaultPress and BlogVault are plugins that you can install from your WordPress website dashboard.
It is likely that your web hosting provider offers automatic backups. I host all of my and my client’s websites with Siteground and they provide daily backups which are kept for 30 days. Check with your hosting provider to find out if they offer this service.
Check for Broken Links
Broken links are a big problem for your SEO. When the Googlebot crawls your website, it will see that there is a broken link on your site. If this occurs frequently, it could be seen as an indication of low-quality content or technical issues with the site.
You will need to do some detective work to identify and fix broken links. Start by looking at your main, top-level pages e.g home, about contact etc. Make sure to check every button and hyperlinked word in each section. Next, check your blog post links, both links that go to an internal page as well as any links that lead readers to an external site. Next, take a look at any external sites that link back to yours (You can use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs). Are there any outbound links on those sites that no longer lead anywhere? If so, they could be causing problems with your site’s ranking because they’re considered “dead” by Google’s indexing system.
Test Load Time
Speed is a core component of website optimisation. Speed can have a massive impact on your bottom line. By reducing load time, you’ll be able to increase your conversion rate, satisfaction levels, and more.
Load time can affect SEO in a number of ways. The slower your site loads, the less likely users are to stick around long enough for search engines to index it properly—or at all! Search engines want to provide their users with fast results that they can easily access. If they don’t see that your page has what they’re looking for quickly enough (within 2 seconds), then they’ll move on without ever seeing it!
The same goes for bounce rate: if someone lands on one of your pages and leaves right away without browsing any further down the page or clicking on another link within that section of content, then you’ve lost them before they were even halfway through reading anything! It’s important not only because Google takes this into account when determining how well-optimised each web page is; but also because visitors might feel frustrated if there isn’t much substance behind these pages upon first glance.
You can check your website load time by going to GTmetrix and typing in your URL.
Plugins are another area where your website can become vulnerable. If a plugin is not essential to running your business, get rid of it. This will reduce the surface area of your site that hackers can attack and cause problems on. It can also aid in speeding up your site’s loading speed.
Make sure to keep plugins up to date with the latest security updates and patches as they come out—these vulnerabilities are constantly changing and being discovered by hackers, so it’s important to stay on top of any new issues that might affect you.
Aside from hacking opportunities, plugins can break your site if not regularly updated. Backups and plugin updates go hand in hand as if a plugin breaks your site, you may have to recover your site from a previous backup, then update the plugin(s)!
One of the most important parts of any website is the contact form. It’s crucial to ensure that your contact forms are working properly and that all information submitted is being received. Test your forms by filling them out yourself and checking to see if you receive a confirmation message or email. It’s also a good idea to check that the form fields are working correctly and whether each form field is actually necessary.
Check your Analytics
Check your google analytics regularly in order to get to know your audience and tailor your website design and offerings to who your audience is, and how they are visiting your website. If most of your visitors are viewing on mobile devices, then make sure your website looks excellent on mobile screen sizing. Are you noticing that your audience is a different age group than what you expected? Alter wording or the portrayal of your products and services to suit the demographic.
You can set up google analytics to send you automated reports to your email as frequently as you wish.
When it comes to testing your website, there are a number of different areas that you can look at. These include:
- Broken Links
- TeLoad Time
- Contact Forms
Now, you’re equipped with a set of strategies and tactics to help you test your website. You can start by testing one thing at a time and then build up from there. Remember, there are many ways to test your site, so don’t get overwhelmed by the process!
Want Some Help?
If you don’t want to waste your time checking your website but would like the peace of mind that your website is being consistently maintained, I can help you with a website maintenance package. FigDrop’s maintenance packages offer all of the above + much more!
Contact me to find out more about how I can help you today. I look forward to hearing from you!