November 4, 2013

5 Simple Things You Can Do To Keep Your Website Running Smoothly

Written by

5-simple-thingsFor most businesses having a smooth running website that performs well in search engines is imperative. A well running website not only helps current customers find you but will generate new business and often sets the first impression a potential client will get of your business. Your business website is a directory, information resource, advertising department and sales team wrapped up in one and is available to current and prospective customers 24/7/365. Here are 5 simple things you can do to keep your all-important website running smoothly.

1. Update Your Website Content

Help build trust and confidence with your website visitors by keeping information current and up to date. Scrub your website pages looking for the most common items that tend to need updating:

  • Dates – Make sure your time stamped content reflects the current year etc.
  • Broken Links – Test your links to make sure they still work.
  • Employee Bios – Add and remove staff member bios as needed
  • Old Email Addresses & Phone Numbers – Change email servers recently? Make sure your contact email(s) and phone number(s) are up to date and working
  • Contact Forms – Test all website forms to confirm they are working as expected

2. Test Your Website In Different Browsers

If a website visitor can’t load your website or it “looks funny” in their web browser you will probably not earn their confidence or their business. This is especially important if your website is a few years old since web browsers are constantly adding new features and changing the way webpages are rendered. The simplest way to do this is by downloading a few popular web browsers then loading your website for some quick testing. We suggest testing your website in the 4 most popular desktop browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) and Apple’s Safari.

3. Add a Sitemap

Make sure search engines can find all of your website content. If search engines can’t find your web pages they won’t be indexed or added to search results. This is a common problem with older websites but can be resolved quickly by adding a sitemap. Think of a sitemap as a roadmap to all of your website content. One simple and free tool you can use to generate a sitemap is provided by XML-Sitemaps.com. Follow their instructions and your whole website will be indexed in no time!

4. Use Webmaster Tools

Sign up for a free Google and Bing (also covers Yahoo) Webmaster Tools account and keep your website running at peak performance. Find out which of your pages have been indexed, who is linking to your website and set your website content crawl rate. You will also be alerted if a problem comes up like Google/ Bing not being able to access your website or sitemap. Also, in the event your website is attacked by hackers you can use the free webmaster tools to help clean your site and get it back online quickly.

5. Install Web Analytics

Discover how many people are visiting your website and from where, how they are finding you (search vs. referral link), and what they are doing once they get to your website. All of these data and much, much more can be captured using web analytics. We recommend the free Google Analytics platform. Simply register for a free account, add your tracking code and you will start building a data set. Once you know how people are finding your website (or not) you can make changes to your content and site structure as needed. If you find that 75% of your website visitors spend more time looking at service/ product A compared to service/ product B you can make adjustments to help maximize your business goals whatever they may be.

If you follow these 5 simple suggestions your website will build trust with viewers, place in search engine results, be actively monitored for problems and provide you with data on how people are finding and using your website. The small investment in time is well worth the confidence you will get from knowing your website is running smoothly.

Ross McClenahan

Ross McClenahan is co-owner and Lead Developer at Tree Top Web Design, a Santa Cruz Web Design firm.

plus.google.com/+RossMcClenahan |