I came across an article about the high percentage of millennials who don't have the skills necessary to maintain their home. 42% of homeowners surveyed by the Harris Group confessed they didn't have the skills necessary to do home maintenance themselves. In the article, only 20% of respondents feel comfortable taking on a drywall repair project or installing a fan, both relatively simple and straightforward tasks. This in an age where the glorification of home improvement as a spectator sport has exploded through YouTube and networks like HGTV.
My first experience in working life was in hardware sales. Not CPUs or motherboards, but rather paint, hand tools, and lumber. This was in the early 90s, before big box stores and the Internet. Hardware stores were hubs of information for homeowners new and old; a place where they could get good advice from people who had experience and then either be sold the tools needed to do the job or given a referral to someone who could help them.
Maintenance is a normal part of ownership, and not to be feared.
Unmaintained homes become money pits. Leaky gutters lead to rotten wood, which has to be replaced. Not replacing the furnace filter on a regular basis taxes the furnace, and can lead to costly repairs. Old high flow toilets use up more water, which turns up in higher utility bills. Maintenance was (and still is) a normal part of home ownership, and not something to be feared or glorified.
30 years later, I've moved on from hardware sales to helping run a digital agency. And it's really interesting to see how that lack of skills when it comes to home maintenance is mirrored on the websites people build for their companies. I've seen countless examples of small companies who build their website and think they're done. No updates to content, no plans for future renovation, and no maintenance of the content management software they used to build it.
Ideally, if your company has a website (and it really, really should), you have as much responsibility to maintain it as you do your home. Websites need regular maintenance, on monthly, quarterly, and annual cycles. Neglecting this can lead to reactive, costly projects later on – often at a time when you can't really afford or haven't budgeted for it.
Here's a rough guide to what you should be planning for in terms of website maintenance weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. These are the core things you need to pay attention to in order to have a well-maintained, healthy website.
- Updates to the CMS software you use to build your site. For example, Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla, or Craft CMS
- Adding fresh content (e.g., a blog, new product/service details, portfolio, etc)
- Search Engine rankings & page speed testing
- Ad/Marketing performance
- Testing forms & e-commerce functionality
- Check your site backups
- Auditing and refreshing site content
- Check for broken links
- Remove unnecessary plugins or functionality
- Optimize your database
- Check in with your customers through a user experience audit
- Review your hosting provider's performance (and cost)
- Refresh your content strategy
- Evaluate how your tools are working for you
- Consider a design refresh
This might seem like a lot, but it's not as scary as it seems. Some of the above can be automated, and others just take a little elbow grease and determination. If you know what to expect, and when to expect it, you can schedule it into your regular work and budget for it – much like most house maintenance.
And if it's still scary? Reach out to us and we'll be happy to give you good advice and the right tools.