If you’re old enough, you might remember there was a time when hitting the 100,000-mile mark on a car or truck was a pretty big deal. That was the point where you could expect things would begin to go wrong, or that your auto had started to run out of reliability. These days, things have changed. With proper care and maintenance, a brand-new car could easily be expected to last two or three times as long without too many major repairs.

We bring this up because we have seen a similar dynamic playing out over the last few years about web designs. It used to be that a company needed to upgrade their online presence every two or three years to stay relevant and competitive; now, with modern content management systems and responsive platforms, a custom-designed website layout can last years if it maintained.

Of course, whether you’re talking about cars or websites, the key is keeping to a regular schedule of maintenance. A little effort now saves you from big upgrades and repairs later. How do you care for a high mileage website? Here are some proven and inexpensive tips you can use to keep your web presence fresh.

1) Keep Your Content Up-To-Date

When the messaging on your website reflects the things your company used to promote, it hurts your marketing. Plus, search engines like to see that your text is being updated from time to time. Once or twice a year, take a look through your site to ensure your content is still current. Just a couple of hours spent updating a few paragraphs can go a long way towards getting Google’s attention and making sure visitors see your current marketing reflected.

2) Change out Your Photos from Time to Time

In the same way that outdated text makes you seem less relevant, having photos of yourself, your team, or your products that are more than a decade old doesn’t do you any favors from a credibility perspective. Remember also that images, like text, can be searched through Google. So, keeping them up-to-date is good for your marketing and your search visibility. You might even consider working with a professional photographer if either you or your site needs a fresh look. Either way, reviewing your visuals on a regular basis is a good way to refresh an existing website.

3) Audit Your Website for Broken Links and Technical Issues

It’s easy, in the process of adding new posts, editing pages, and performing other regular web maintenance, to accidentally leave “dead ends” on your site. Those broken links can be frustrating for users, and serve as a signal to search engines that your website is not well-maintained. The same goes for old bits of code left by uninstalled apps or plugins. A good website audit can help you find these issues and correct them. Usually performed by a professional web designer, you can think of this regular checkup as a digital oil change; and preventative web maintenance at its best.

4) Put Great Hosting in Place

Although you probably won’t have to change your hosting package all that often, you should review your options from time to time. For example, better server space means faster page loading, encrypted transfers with website visitors, and automatic daily backups. Put together; these advantages mean better performance for your website and more security for your company. Best of all, they come with very low costs. If you aren’t sure whether your hosting is up to scratch, just ask your designer to run a few tests and tell you about any cost-effective upgrades to consider.

5) Don’t Let Your CMS Get Stale

When you forget to update WordPress or any other content management system, a few things can happen. First, your site might not perform the way it is supposed to. Second, you could have problems with apps or plug-ins that are no longer compatible. And third, your site is opened up to hackers who use automated tools to steal information. You can avoid all of these problems by either updating your content management system regularly or working with a web designer who will do it for you. Making these improvements costs you nothing, and can make a world of difference in both website performance and security.

6) Review Your Analytics Regularly

Web analytics software such as Google Analytics can help you understand traffic patterns to, from, and within your pages. They can tell you which topics are hot, what customers are responding to, and which parts of your site could use some of your attention. Mostly, they take the guesswork out of website maintenance and Internet marketing, allowing you to put your time and resources where they are needed most. Plus, you’ll be able to spot any ongoing issues with your website before they can affect the business results you get from your website.

7) Visit Your Website and Kick the Tires

Just like a high mileage car, the problems you have with an older website are as likely to be cosmetic as they are technical. The best way to spot them is simply by looking through your site every once in a while with a fresh eye. Simply go from one page to another and see what stands out. You may find an out-of-place link, for instance, or an image that doesn’t quite fit. These are the online equivalents of a flat tire or a scratched paint job. They certainly don’t require big repairs, but they are important to keeping your site well-maintained.

Great websites are built to last. Follow these tips, and you’ll be able to keep your business website running like new. It might need the occasional addition or edit, but it’s never going to leave you broken down on the side of the information highway, wondering where your sales went. You wouldn’t settle for anything less on the highway, so why take chances in your business?

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About Glenn Brooks

Glenn Brooks is the founder of WebWize, Inc. WebWize has provided web design, development, hosting, SEO and email services since 1994. Glenn graduated from SWTSU with a degree in Commercial Art and worked in the advertising, marketing, and printing industries for 18 years before starting WebWize.