Website maintenance is commonly thought of as technical fixes such as refreshing passwords, redirecting broken links, or updating plugins but these checks should include content maintenance as well.
Blog writers know the value of updating content regularly but content maintenance is a way to start learning from results and applying regular strategic changes including layout updates, and topic refinement.
Content maintenance is a smaller version of Growth Driven Design with some of the same tools and methods but with less formality, shorter actions, and fitting into your existing regimen of updates.
First, let's not forget the technical basics.
Security, bug fixes, and overall prevention of major issues is why sites are regularly maintained. WordPress in particular is a target of password attacks but any site can be hit by these attacks or by drive-by malware or vulnerable to un-updated 3rd party plugins.
Just as technical maintenance avoids major major technical problems, so to can keeping layouts, topics, and posts up to date avoid content disasters.
Second, have a regimen around your site reviews starting with your growth stage and metrics.
If you don’t already, start with a glance into Google Analytics or your favored analytics tool. Importantly, you shouldn’t spend any more than 20% of your total time (or a half hour) in analytics.
Even for larger sites, it’s important to focus on a couple key metrics to review or have a view setup that distills a growth metric into numbers to influence.
Aside on metrics:
To identify a metric you might think you need to know the value of each visitor, and if you have an ecommence site that is easy, but instead focus on the value of your growth versus time or money spent on actions, effort, and try to compound that growth without compounding effort.
As an example, with a site looking to grow sessions (overall exposure) and a budget of 2 hours, 2 quick actions can be built into regular site check ins and measured for iteration or dropped.
If one of the actions is to edit blog layouts to include tags and categories to be more obvious for search engines and the results are +10% sessions from organic search then the action will likely stay.
If the second action taken is to update the layout with a homepage link to the topic and it only adds +2% sessions from direct views to the category then that approach can be changed for the next maintenance cycle.
Each action stays focused on the growth metric "audience," usually the target with newer/lower traffic sites, and each is simple and quick, able to be bundled with technical changes rather than turning into a whole separate project or projects.
There are pitfalls to this approach you should keep in mind. If you're having to drill down into your analytics each time or plan out whole campaigns with these simple actions, than you're no longer just maintaining you're getting into full on Growth Driven Design (GDD.)
GDD is an excellent technique to plan and execute growth for sites but it does require a larger investment of time each month to get the best results.
As an ideal balance though, you should start with testing like this then build into a full GDD plan of site updates.
If you're already publishing regularly or even practicing full Inbound Marketing, including regular and diverse content addition, than content maintenance is a way to plus up your efforts without too much extra time.
If you're just maintaining a site with fairly static content you can focus on optimizing user paths and conversions.
Bundling content maintenance with your technical maintenance is a low impact way to start testing and iterating through growth techniques. If you need help getting started, contact us below!