You’ve put tons of effort into building your website – so don’t let your hard work go to waste by slacking off on your webmaster responsibilities!
As a site owner, you owe it to yourself and to your business to be the best possible webmaster you can be. The following are just a few of the activities that separate run-of-the-mill webmasters from great site managers. Add them to your weekly routine and you’re sure to see a difference in your website results.
Tip #1 – Update your website regularly
Having a website is great, but if you never update the site that you built initially, you’re missing out on two very powerful webmaster benefits.
The first is that regularly updated content – whether published through an articles section, a blog or some other format – helps to form a connection between your business and your target customers. People feel much more confident interacting with and buying from sites that are regularly updated, versus those that clearly haven’t been touched since their initial launch.
At the same time, adding new content to your site on a regular basis confers a powerful SEO advantage that could lead to your site ranking higher in the natural search results. This, in turn, leads to increased traffic and sales, providing a tangible benefit for your investment into updating your site regularly.
Tip #2 – Run periodic usability tests
Whenever you make changes to your website (even if it’s something as simple as changing a font color on your home page), you introduce the possibility of coding errors that can take down part or all of your site.
For this reason, it’s important to run periodic usability tests that identify any errors that may be inhibiting your site’s functionality. Usability tests can be as simple as previewing your website in different browsers using a tool like Browser Shots or as complex as navigating through every page on your site in order to manually detect errors.
Tip #3 – Manage broken links appropriately
In particular, keep an eye out for broken links when running your usability tests. Internal or external links that refer visitors to pages that are no longer live (whether due to the movement of the page, the closure of the site or some other circumstance) both frustrate users and prevent the search engines’ indexing programs from effectively cataloging the pages on your site.
The easiest way to monitor for broken links is with the use of a plugin that automatically scans your pages for these failed connections (as in the case of the Broken Link Checker plugin for WordPress), though you can test your links manually as well. If you encounter broken links on your website, you can either remove the links or redirect your link to a different page entirely.
Tip #4 – Engage your community on social sites
As a webmaster, you can’t live in a bubble and assume that all’s well in the world just because your website is functioning properly. Engaging in social media marketing is now a “must do” for all webmasters, given the expectations of today’s consumers and the SEO value that can be derived from social networking interactions.
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a social media guru to enjoy the benefits this type of marketing can bring about. Start small by building a profile for your business on one of the top social media sites (including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest) and make a commitment to post new content and engage with followers once a day. Once this becomes routine, expand your social presence to other networks or delve more deeply into marketing strategy recommendations for the site you’ve chosen.
Tip #5 – Solicit user feedback to drive website changes
Finally, good webmasters recognize that their opinions on their websites are just that – opinions. Instead of building and managing their sites from this narrow point of view, these business owners ask their users for feedback and make changes based on this advice.
As an example, a webmaster running an online jewelry store could send out a customer survey asking past purchasers about the products they’d like to see added to the shop next. Not only does this provide the webmaster with valuable market research on the products his customers are most likely to buy, it also demonstrates to customers that their opinions are valued – making them more inclined to buy from the shop in the future.
Truly, website management is an ongoing process that requires continuous commitment from site owners in order to maximize performance. While it may sound daunting to add all these different tasks to your webmaster “to do” list, you’ll likely find that the increased website traffic, higher sales and better natural search results rankings will be well worth your efforts.