So website launch day has finally arrived, and everything seems to be working as planned. Pages are loading quickly, the navigation is flawless, and the clients are satisfied with the layout and design. There’s only one problem. Just because a website is up and running does not mean that the work is over. Over time, a website will go from the neck breaking speed of a 600 horsepower z06 corvette to a slow-moving crawl of a horse and buggy. To keep that machine running like new, or in this case that website, routine maintenance needs to be performed regularly. Some common things to check on are:
- Broken links (internal or external) often caused by changing URLs
- Missing content (images or page titles are good examples)
- Out of date plugins
- Blank pages (white screen of death)
Today, we will go over some questions about common issues that clients have with their websites and how we, in the IT department, go about solving them.
Before discussing website issues, it’s worth mentioning that some tech related issues do pop up from time to time at our office. They range from minor issues like printers not working in one or two areas, power outages in isolated areas of a building, to e-mail applications not syncing properly. There is no cookie cutter method for dealing with problems like these. Sometimes they are solved in one simple step, and other times we need to do some research before tackling the problem.
One of the biggest issues that come up with client websites is time for pages to load, and it’s not easy to pinpoint since there are many factors related to hardware and software that could cause websites to bog down. Sometimes the problem lies on the user end. Slow Internet connections or outdated browsers could be the culprits. In one particular case, a client's website was being hampered by the web hosting platform that housed the servers in which the website resided. The prior web host did not have the infrastructure in place to support the amount of traffic the site was receiving, so our solution was to migrate the site from one web host to another able to support higher volume traffic.
More common issues are often the fault of plugins that have not been updated in a while. Though not as big of a deal as having to move an entire website from one server to another, not updating plugins on a regular basis can lead to some serious problems later. One client complained about landing pages not recording e-mails from prospects. Our solution was a two-step process. The first was to update the “check mail” plugin. The other fix required us going into the backend server and enabling “PHP mail,” a function that allows the ability to send email directly from a website.
Other issues range from links that do not direct users to the right sites. These are solved by permanent redirects to navigation buttons that do not appear on the site the way they were intended, and again, updating the plugins can solve this issue.
WEBSITE MAINTENANCE IS ONGOING
The work does not end when a website is launched. In fact, it’s only the beginning. In order to keep things like SEO up to date, which in turn means more visits to your site, a website needs to be properly maintained on a regular basis.
What preventative maintenance do you regularly conduct on your website?
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).