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Sunday, 9 September 2012

Why should I maintain my website? Part 2

To follow on from last week’s blog regarding content maintenance of your website, I’m going to talk about maintenance of the site itself.

Website Maintenance

The first thing is to check the site is up and running, I know this is blatantly obvious, but how would you know if it went down? You can set up software to track this on a daily/hourly basis and alert you should it be unreachable, what you don’t want is somebody, especially a client, informing you. It is important to have the error dealt with before it has caused too much trouble.

Website backup is essential to insure yourself against losing your data, whether from a virus or a hardware failure. Ask your hosting provider what would happen to your data if you were hacked or their servers crashed, ask how often your files are backed up, are they stored somewhere safe, you could even ask for a monthly updated version of your site if your site is changing regularly as an e-Commerce site often does.

One you know your site is available to view, and backed up, you need to check its health. These show load times, server requests and link checking. There are many free online tools that will check these for you, they can show how long it takes to load an image. Use this info to reduce file sizes where appropriate, what’s the point in having a large image when it will only ever be shown as a 100 pixel by 75 pixel image on your page.   

Use link checking to see how they are performing, what is more annoying than using a link on a page and finding it broken? This could be because it wasn’t set up properly in the first place or you have changed the page content and forgotten to update the link, or it could be the page you are linking to is not there anymore. Whatever the reason you need find and correct these as soon as possible. Try running your site through validator.w3.org/checklink to find any errors within your site, and make the time to correct them.

These are just a few of the things you can do to keep on top of the health of your site If you need any help, or just some general advice on what to do to maintain your site, just email me at Media City Way any time.

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