End Of Year Web Maintenance
Posted by Charlie Recksieck
Big Or Small Companies: Quick Things To Do
Whether we are talking about just your site or a company site where you work, you'd be surprised how many organizations way larger than yours are making rookie mistakes on their website.
We don't want to overwhelm you right now with thinking too much about a large re-do; let's just look at a lot of the low-hanging fruit for some things you should be addressing about your site every year.
Your Copyright At The Bottom Of The Page
If you do one thing from this article, make it this one. Check to see how the copyright year at the bottom of your website is displayed. Where does it come from? Who updates that or is it automatic? We don't want you starting to be outdate come Jan 1.
Just in case you're wondering if you have to have a copyright on your website, the short answer is that you don't have to have it but it's for your protection and the protection of the content you've created. You can read more here: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/when-do-you-need-copyright-notice-websites-and-where-do-you-place-it.html
Dynamic Copyright Year
Remembering to do this every year in late December on every page on every site of yours is tedious work. So why not do this the right way, with dynamic data. The next few sections here will tell you how.
You should show a range of years for you copyright and content. If your site launched in 2017 you don't want to just say Copyright @ 2020 but instead be: Copyright 2017-2020.
How To Show Dynamic Year In HTML
This will take just a couple of lines - a simple one line script and then a tag that calls the script. So get ready to copy & paste.
These guys did a great job of describing it, so we have nothing to add.
How To Show Dynamic Year In PHP
If your site is in PHP then you might already know how to do this. There are built-in date functions in PHP so this gets very easy. Insert a line like this:
php echo date(’Y’);
How To Show Dynamic Year In WordPress
As convenient as WordPress is supposed to be for the end users, inserting code something takes just a little bit of know-how in WP (if you need help, email us)
That said, we picked two excellent primers on how you can get the current year to show up on your WordPress site:
How To Show Dynamic Year In Other Formats
Here are some great instructions on having dynamic copyright year on your site, even in different formats like node.js, ASP, Django, etc.: https://blog.templatetoaster.com/auto-update-copyright-year/
Other Web Dangers Of Looking Out Of Date
While you're at it, you should see if you have any current updates, blog posts, or news showing as being outdated or abandoned. If your last post was from this past March over 9 months ago, then perhaps you get rid of the dates on each news item or post. (If you want some assistance, Reach out to us).
Other Yearly Things To Do
Check out all of these to see if you're fully in control of your site and it looks good.
* Domain expiration - Do you know how to log into your domain registration account?
* Contact info on both your domain registration and your hosting provider - So many people rely on their web designer to take care of things, giving them access to the master login - and end up being almost completely dependent on the designer. This is a bad idea. You ideally shouldn't give your credentials to others, but instead create them a 2nd login.
* Visit your site like a first timer (and put yourself in the mind of your typical or ideal customer) - Visit every page on your site. You likely haven't looked all over the site lately, so this is a time to look at it with fresh eyes.
* Do you have a full site backup? - What's the backup plan? How often do backups get made? Where are they stored? In case something bad happens and you get hacked, how fast can you get everything restored and running?
(Again, if you need help on any of this, reach out to us - we don't have to charge you as a client to answer your basic questions. We're happy to do it.)
You should look at these things a few more times than just annually, but let's not let you get to Dec 31 without doing these things this year. (We will have a more extensive blog post on this in a few weeks.)
There are incredible tools out there to audit or analyze your site. All you have to do is type your domain in and you can see how well you're doing on a lot of fronts:
* SEO - https://www.seoptimer.com/
* Speed - https://gtmetrix.com/
* Google Developers - There is a lot here: https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/performance/audit
Is Your Web Site Doing The Job?
Honestly, is your website "good" or just "good enough"? Take a look at your site are you doing the right things - Giving people a reason to come there, making clear 'asks".
What are your asks? Are you directly trying to sell products or services? Do you first just want high rates of traffic? Do you want mailing list signups?
Conclusion - The Coming Year
While you're making personal New Year's Resolutions, make some professional New Year's Resolutions about your website. Put a time on your calendar to deal with your web site.
(Last Plug: Let us know if you want a little help pointing you in the right direction; we are happy to give you our two cents for free, seriously. Contact us)