Whether a small personal webpage or that of a corporate enterprise, all websites require significant maintenance. Keeping a website in-date is more than just keeping it functioning – it requires persistent updating of both its technical aspects and user-facing content. Not only does the security and availability of the website need to be ensured, it must also look fresh, modern, and interesting. With the number of services required to run a website, costs may become quite large, spanning into the tens of thousands of dollars per month for the largest sites.
All websites share some features that are necessary to maintain. Chief among these is hosting. Many solutions require little technical knowledge, but others, such as building a dedicated cloud environment, need this aptitude. Costs of hosting largely depend on the size of and traffic to the website. Small websites can expect to pay a small monthly fee ranging from $2 to $10 to have their site hosted, while large corporations, whose sites require more resources, should expect to pay much more.
Domain names are often included in hosting solutions; if not, one must register the name for a recurring fee, which is dependent on the popularity of the domain name. Popular TLDs like “.com” or “.org” often cost more than more obscure ones such as “.xyz” or “.info.” Also necessary for a website is an SSL certificate, the cost of which depends on the size of the website. SSL certificates indicate the level of security the website has, which is particularly important when sensitive data like customer information needs to be collected for business.
Equally important as keeping a website running is keeping it visible. If it appears out of date or unprofessional, viewers are likely to be turned away immediately. In this sense, UI design is extremely important in order to keep up with trending preferences. Options such as Wix or Squarespace may be good for an individual or small business with little technical experience necessary. Enterprise grade content management services, such as WordPress, require more technical knowledge, but offer greater flexibility and customizability. Hiring a website design professional or agency is the best option to have an aesthetically pleasing website that is also adequately functional according to your business needs.
Just as form follows function, design must follow content. A website’s content must be kept interesting and unique to not only engage with the user, but to improve search engine optimization. SEO, as it is known, is what determines where users see a website in a search engine. If Google decides that one website provides more unique and interesting relevant content than another - through examining the content itself as well as user trends – it will appear much farther up on the list of results. And since users only tend to examine the first few sites they see, appearing farther up as opposed to the third, fourth, fifth page of Google is necessary to attract users. The most important rules for SEO are to provide specific, unique content, and to predict what users are likely to search. Basic SEO practices are easy to learn, but to significantly boost engagement, create a budget, and have profitable results that need to be maintained so your content’s position doesn’t slip are services that are best rendered by professionals with years of experience in the industry. Navigating the ups and downs of SEO best-practices to promote e-commerce is one of Aptimized’s core services.
Ultimately, technical maintenance of a website offers its own unique set of requirements. One of the most straightforward tasks is regular testing of the website. Roughly every quarter, and especially after big updates, a full test of the website’s systems should be conducted. This includes hunting for broken links, ensuring that services properly respond to input, and testing the availability of the site. Importantly, software must always be kept up to date in order to maintain the security of the site and its users’ information.
Managing a website to attract users and drive success is a multifaceted effort involving a wide array of subject areas. Get in touch with us today to get a free assessment of your website needs.