Website health checks

How healthy is your website?

Websites break. It's a fact of internet life. Most of the time the reason that they break is that they're out of date, or some plugins just stopped working.

It doesn't just have to be that something stopped working though. Websites, as they age, often get slower compared to newer sites. This can be an illusion because newer sites are built with newer technology that lets them perform faster, but sometimes it can be a technical problem you the older website as well.

As websites age, if they are not maintained with regular health checks, things will start to get bad. It'll start getting slow, plugins will break or worse still - the website might become infected with malware due out of date security.

These issues ultimately lead to a steady decline in the website's visitor rates and, in extreme cases, could even turn customers off of your business altogether.

Once it gets to that stage, website owners will often ask someone to rebuild the site, paying a hefty bill to do so. It needen't be this way though.

You can avoid losing business and and having to spend a lot of money on a website rebuild or repair project by having a website health check plan in place.

What does a monthly health check involve

Updates

Whether you're website runs on WordPress, Umbraco or something else, the monthly health check should include applying any minor version updates or hotfixes that are needed.

In addition, any plugins, addons or packages that your site uses should be checked and updated when needed.

Security

In addition to the updates which, on their own will go a long way to keeping your website secure, a health check should also include a basic security checkup on your website each month and report back to you any security issues that are identified.

If they are "quick fixes", they should be fixed wtihin the health check. If they require something more in-depth then you should receive a report with the details of what needs to be done and an estimate for the work required to fix them.

Backups

Where available with your hosting provider, backups should be being taken automatically on a regular basis and review the backup processes, storage and recovery process.

Site speed

Google and other Search Engines now apply page speed to your websites rankings. If your website is slow compared to other sites in the search results for similar terms then you may find that your sites ranking drops.

Your monthly health check should check the page-speed scores and statistics for your homepage and a select set of landing pages within your site.

If there are any issues, where they are "quick fixes", they should be fixed as part of the health check. Any others should be reported to you in plain english with suggestions and estimates for what needs doing to resolve them.