Time Saving Tips For Maintaining Your Website
As a business owner or webmaster, each and every minute of your day is important and wasted time they have a direct impact on your bottom line and business' ROI. Websites require frequent updates – that is the basis of the Internet – new information is created & needs updated automatically every day. Each website may not require the same updates, but all websites would benefit from regularly scheduled site maintenance and / or new additions.
An eCommerce store or shopping cart may have products which inventory inventory fluctuates in and out of stock, or even products which are phased out. Leaving a dead product on your website is a great way to upset visitors and lose future site conversions. A news or informational site requires frequent updates in order to maintain its freshness in the eyes of the Search Engines. Adding new content and articles ensures that you stay relevant and authoritative in the eyes of Google, Yahoo and MSN.
Other reasons for website maintenance include adding new customer testimonials, adjusting call-to-action and conversion elements to consistently improve your ROI, updating product images, new products & press releases, copyright notices and other time-sensitive information.
Regardless of what you update on your website or how often you need to do it, there are some proven methods to help you save time and improve your efficiency. Below are a few of the most helpful website maintenance tips:
Use website templates
Depending on how your templates are created, you can save large amounts of time by allowing the template or web editing software to perform repetitive tasks vs. you making them all on your own. A couple examples may be you site's header, footer or common menu system. If each page of your website includes these common items, then you could save time by having all of the pages call a "single file" that contains all of the requisite information for each relevant section. The best way to do this is by using Server Side Includes (SSI), PHP includes or other programmatic "inclusion" files. The basis for these files is simple – put the information within a separate file and call it externally. Rather than attempt to re-hash how to do this for you here, I would suggest you simply search for "how to usessi", "how to use server side includes" or "how to use php includes" in your favorite Search Engine.
Save original web graphics
Whenever you make a new image, whether you expect to edit it again in the future, you should always save a copy of the original format – .EPS, .PSD, .PNG or .AI files. Keeping the original artwork intact will help you in the future if any edits are required. You'll simply open the original image file, make your edits and then re-export the file for use on the web. Failure to save your original files will require you to re-create the file each time you need to make even the smallest change – this is highly inefficient.
Avoid overwriting files
This is a common oversight for many webmasters and site maintenance companies; they simply fail to check the "last modified" date on a file that requires editing and then when they upload a new version of the file, they overwrite important information that was meant to be part of the updates (not replaced). Always, always check the last modified date of the remote files on the FTP server before you upload & overwrite them. One good practice to follow, is to download the latest version of the files you're editing prior to starting your changes. If you build this into regular processes, it will become second nature and will help you avoid rebuilding work that was overwritten.
These are only a few time saving tips for maintaining your website, but you'd be surprised just how many webmasters and business owners fail to adhere to them. Following good procedures will help ensure that you are able to quickly update your website and get on to other important business matters.