Whether you’re constantly working on your website or it’s running on autopilot, it can be easy to forget about routine website maintenance. Just like a car needs its tires rotated and fluids checked, your website needs a regular tuneup to perform at its best. True, it’s not as sexy as a design revamp or slick new conversion tool, but simple website maintenance can improve search engine optimization (SEO), convert more clients and increase your ROI.
Each of these quick, low-cost (or free) tasks should take a few hours, at most, and will ensure your website is running smoothly into 2024. Be sure to make these part of your routine B2B marketing strategies.
Improve your site speed
Users expect websites to fully load in seconds. Many people will abandon sites that load too slowly. Did you know that …
- 73% of mobile internet users say that they’ve encountered a website that loaded too slowly.
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
- 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
To see if your website is suffering, you can run a simple diagnostic test via Google. You’ll receive a grade on your site speed and recommendations on how to improve it. A good developer can address these for you, but you can do a few things yourself if you’re familiar with your WordPress content management system.
Images are the most common culprits for slow speed, so check the size and format of the images on your site, starting with the homepage. In general, use the smallest size that will look crisp on large monitors (there’s no need to have a 4,000-pixel-wide image). Stick with JPG and PNG file types and compress them for the web.
Smush is a great tool for WordPress websites. This leading optimization plug-in allows you to optimize, resize and compress images, as well as convert images to WebP format for quick-loading web pages.
Install a caching plug-in
Installing a caching plug-in is a quick and easy way to increase your WordPress site speed. According to WordPress:
Caching is like having a personal bookshelf for frequently used files and data. When a user visits a cached website, the browser checks the cache first for required files. If found, the website loads faster. It lessens the server’s burden by serving cached files instead of generating them repeatedly. Ultimately, caching enhances user experience by providing faster loading times and smoother website navigation.
If WP Engine hosts your WordPress site, you’ll have access to its EverCache® feature. It’s a great way to speed up your site. If your WordPress hosting package doesn’t include this or a similar caching feature, you can install a plug-in to cache your site.
Update your plug-ins
Speaking of plug-ins, unnecessary or outdated plug-ins can also slow your WordPress site, so take a moment and go to the plug-ins tab to deactivate or uninstall any plug-ins that you don’t need.
Update your social proof
Potential clients want to know the other companies you’ve worked with and see proof of your successes before they become involved in the sales process. By adding case studies, testimonials and reviews to your website, you’ll expand your social proof — evidence that others have chosen to work with you and are realizing success with your products or services.
Even if you already have testimonials and case studies on your website, now is a great time to update them with your most recent work and accolades. Be sure to follow best practices by including client logos and photos alongside your testimonials.
Upgrade to HTTPS
If your website uses HTTP instead of HTTPS, it’s time to make the switch. In the past, HTTP was sufficient for websites that didn’t transfer sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, but in recent years, the standard shifted. In 2014, Google announced that HTTP/HTTPS would factor into SEO rankings, giving preference to sites that have HTTPS certificates.
In 2017, Google added a notation to the address bar of its Chrome browser that shows HTTPS sites as “secure.” The notation includes an icon that, when clicked on, warns, “your connection to this site is not secure.” The perception of security among your site visitors is crucial, even if your site isn’t collecting personal information. Furthermore, if Google says that HTTPS is important, then we’d all be wise to listen.
To avoid SEO penalties and usability issues on your site, it’s best to call in expert help when upgrading your site to HTTPS. Purchasing and installing an SSL certificate is easy enough, but you also have to perform redirects, update internal links, adjust your sitemap and submit your site to Google Search Console. Once you’ve upgraded to HTTPS, however, you don’t need to expend additional effort, besides paying a yearly fee to your hosting company.
Address outdated information
Review the most-visited pages on your site and look for any information that needs updating. Take the time to add new team members to your staff page and remove anyone who might have left the company. Read through your content and make sure there aren’t any clearly outdated references (e.g., “we look forward to opening our new headquarters in 2022”).
If your site includes a copyright year in the footer, make sure it’s set to update automatically by using WordPress’ server-side language, PHP, to auto-update the copyright year. These might seem like small details, but having outdated information on your website seems unprofessional and detracts from your message.
Review your website tracking
Although you’re checking your analytics regularly and using the data to make incremental website improvements (you are doing this, right?), it’s important to revisit your tracking tools periodically and ensure they’re optimized. Are you tracking your conversions accurately? Are your tags in Google Tag Manager firing on the correct events?
Google introduced Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in 2022, and discontinued universal analytics in mid-2023. GA4 collects event-based data from websites and apps. If you haven’t done so already, make sure you’re tracking the data you need to measure your success in 2024. It’s crucial to set this up, so you can track your progress month over month and make smart, data-driven decisions starting from day one.