We’re certain you’ve read all about our Hammersmith Support maintenance packages by now, but are you still curious about exactly how the process works? We asked our own Lisa Finn to break down how she and her team maintain our clients’ sites each month, the reporting provided after maintenance, and what she says every client should do with the information she sends them.
Step 1: Enroll
The first step for every new maintenance client is to enroll the site in Google Search Console and review the Google Analytics account (or add this tracking if it’s not on the site already). Google Search Console allows users to see how search engines are crawling the site and flags anything that requires attention, including flagging broken pages (404 errors), pages that Google isn’t able to index, and other issues as well. Google Search Console also enables users to submit their sitemap, which is especially important when new content is added or outdated pages are updated or removed. Google Analytics provides valuable feedback such as:
- where site traffic is originating
- how users are viewing the site (mobile or desktop)
- when they are visiting
- what pages they view the most and for how long
- how quickly they are leaving the site (bounce rate)
Step 2: Update
Before beginning any updates, a backup of the site is made. This is done to protect the integrity of the site should anything “break” during the update process. Next, the site is updated one area at a time and continually checked after each section is complete to ensure that the update was completed and that nothing unexpected occurred. The updated areas include plugins, plugin licenses, the WordPress platform, theme, and PHP – the language the language on which the site is built – as well. Updates are vital for the security of the site. Out-of-date plugins and versions of WordPress can leave security holes unpatched.
Step 3: Test
After the updates are complete, the team tests the site. Each area that was updated is examined and checked. In addition, we test site forms. Everything from contact forms, to sign-ups, and links are reviewed. While sending a test through the signup forms may sound like overkill, it really is a vital part of the process. Email servers may update their spam filters without notice. These spam updates could then block or send to your spam folder a legitimate website submission. Consistent checking and testing can avoid missed site submissions and broken forms/site feeds as well (Instagram feeds, real estate listing feeds, etc.).
Step 4: Report
Once all of the maintenance steps are completed, the client is sent an email with an easy-to-digest summary of the work completed. This includes a request for confirmation that the client received a test email from their website and the Google Analytics report. The email will also include notes with suggestions for minor updates and changes to keep the site healthy over time.
While Hammersmith Support maintenance is convenient and hassle-free for our clients, there are two things we ask of our clients each month. First, be sure to confirm that you received the test email submission. While we can test the form, only the client can confirm that the email was received. Second, read our brief summary of work. Many months the report will be purely informational, but often we call out issues or changes that need to be made to improve the site or address issues.
Ready to get started? Set up a complimentary 30-minute meeting and let’s talk about your business website needs. In addition to monthly maintenance, Hammersmith Support also provides website redesigns and rebuilds too.