7 essential Web site maintenance strategies

Maintenance of your Web site is an absolute necessity if you want to keep it from becoming stagnant and losing visitors. It can be compared to a garden that is not weeded — it soon disappears from site as a result of the weeds blotting out the sunlight. Maintaining your Web site means continuously updating it with fresh content, keeping it free from errors (i.e. broken links, sloppy code), and maintaining a high position in the search engines.

Let’s look at the seven essential strategies for web site maintenance:

1. Check for broken links — Broken links will annoy visitors, forcing people to click off your site, thus losing a potential customer. Businesses that once linked to your site may have closed down, thus causing broken links to appear. Check for broken links on your site at least once a month.

2. Write correct and clean html code — HTML errors can negatively affect your search engine rankings. For example, if you place the meta tags or header (H1) tags in the improper order on your page your rankings will suffer.
Here’s an example:

<p this is your highly targeted keyword phrase your web master wrote…

Notice that the “p” tag above is missing a closing bracket. The code should really be written like this:

this is your highly targeted keyword phrase your web master wrote..

The search engines will read the keyword-rich text as attribute of the paragraph tag and ignore it. Since search engines spider text that is highly visible at the top of your Web page, you will have lost the opportunity to gain high search engine rankings. Run all your pages through http://validator.w3.org/detailed.html to clean up any html errors.

3. Add fresh content — Search engines will more regularly spider your site if the content on your Web pages is continually updated or changed. One excellent method is to add a new article to your site every week or two. For my Boston-Legal.org TV site, I add content very day and make sure much of it is text so it’s easy for Google to gobble it up.

4. Obtain incoming links — Search engines use linking to create a web of linked sites. The more sites that link to yours help determine the popularity of your site. Sites with only a few links don’t usually do well in the search engines. Preferably obtain links from related sites which already rank well or receive a large number of visitors. Finding links should be one of your ongoing strategies to maintain and increase your rankings.

5. Monitor web site rankings — The number and type of keywords used to search for information on your site can change dramatically. Without constantly monitoring your Web site rankings, you may wonder why your sales have dropped. One must stay up to date with search engine changes. Marketleap.com to find your site’s ranking. www.marketleap.com/. The Google Toolbar — toolbar.google.com/ — displays the rank of every page you visit. Begin at a page rank of six out of 10 is very good. Very popular sites can achieve a seven and getting a higher rank than eight is extremely difficult, unless your Google (9) or the New York Times (10).

6. Analyze Web copy — You may be getting a lot of hits/visitors to your site but no one is buying. Your Web copy could be at fault. Try rewriting it by placing yourself in your customer’s shoes. Focus primarily on the benefits of your product. Sometimes changing one or two lines can increase the percentage of sales from your site.

7. Track Web site statistics — From the site statistics provided by your Web host, you can monitor the amount of visits to each page, where they came from, and what keywords they used to find your Web site. You may then need to optimize other pages targeting alternative keywords to increase the number of visitors arriving at your site.