Best Practices for Website Maintenance for Home Care Agencies

With tasks piling up on your to-do list, website maintenance is something that continually falls to the bottom of the list. Do you remember the last time you did a review of the pages on your website and checked all the links to ensure they work?

Try to think about website maintenance in the same way that you think about home maintenance. If you don’t check the batteries in your fire alarms, you run the risk of not being alerted in the event of a fire. By not changing your furnace filters, you run the risk of running your heat inefficiently. In much the same way, you need to give your website regular reviews to ensure that everything is working properly. And that’s something that should be at the top of your to-do list.

Here’s a rundown of some of the things that could go wrong if you’re not maintaining your home care agency website properly:

·   Security vulnerabilities

·   Broken links

·   Viruses

·   Malware

You’ll save yourself a lot of time and money by making a commitment to regular website maintenance. If you encounter a major problem, you may have to hire a developer to help out, which could make a significant dent in your marketing budget.

Maintenance of Website: Do These Excuses Sound Familiar?

In my work with home care agency clients, I hear a lot of excuses about why home care agency marketers never seem to get around to the website maintenance.

Do any of these excuses sound familiar to you?

1. I’ve noticed my website runs slowly. I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about. The reality is that website load speed is a huge factor in SEO, as well as the user experience. If you don’t get to the root of the problem quickly, your pages will take a longer time to load. You’ll surely see the effects of that in higher bounce rates and lower average time spent on your pages.

2. Hackers aren’t interested in attacking homecare websites. Be careful not to fall for this misconception. Hackers consider small businesses in every industry low-hanging fruit. They operate under the assumption that you don’t have the funds or resources to keep your site secure. Regular site maintenance ensures that your security protocols are always up to date and that you’re protected against viruses and malware.

3. I’ll deal with the problem of viruses or malware when I have it. If you find yourself making this excuse, see what see CNBC cited from an Accenture study about the risk of website attacks on small businesses:

·   43% of cyberattacks occur at small businesses.

·   Only 14% of small businesses are prepared to defend themselves.

·   Cybersecurity risks cost businesses of every size an average of $200,000 annually.

·   Over half of small businesses suffered a breach in 2018.

By regularly checking your website load speed, you’ll be alerted to potential threats early and that could save you a lot of time and money from having to clean up infections that significantly impact your marketing efforts.

Website Load Speed: Is It Really That Important?

In a word, yes. You can run into lots of trouble if your site is running too slowly.

For example:

·   A slow load speed leads to loss of traffic and lower lead generation.

·   Your rate of conversions will drop.

·   Your site visit visitors won’t wait for pages to load.

·   It has a negative effect on SEO marketing.

·   You run the risk of Google blacklisting your site.

Research varies a bit on the best page loading speeds, but in general, you should aim for around 2 seconds for your pages to load.

Website Load Speed: Think Like a Consumer

If you’re tempted to put website maintenance on the back burner, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If you were ordering a pizza or buying electronic equipment online, you wouldn’t be impressed if the pages took too long to load. In fact, you’d probably just try a different site.

A fast loading speed tells your site visitors that you run a professional business and that you care about your brand. You have to think about your website in the same way that you would think about a retail storefront. If it captures your attention right away, people will want to enter.

How to Speed Up Web Page Loading

The task of maintenance of your website doesn’t have to take a long time.

These are some tools that can give you a breakdown of what needs attention:

·   Google PageSpeed Insights

·   Pingdom

·   GTmetrix

Read on to learn more about 7 ways for how to speed up web page loading.

1. Compress text and images.

To speed up website loading, a good place to start is to take a look at your images and video files. Decrease or convert your image scales and sizing to significantly speed up your pages. Also, get rid of any video content that isn’t essential to your page content. Another strategy you can use is to implement “lazy loading”, which refers to images that become visible as site visitors scroll down the page. Refresh your pages after you make these changes to see how much better the user experience will be for your families that are looking for your home care services.

2. Optimize for mobile.

According to Pew Research, 96% of people now use mobile phones. That’s a high percentage that should tell you much about the importance of optimizing your website for mobile devices. To be successful in home care agency marketing, you have to be accessible on the devices that your customers are using. Be sure your website is designed to be responsive to various mobile devices and screen sizes.

3. Check your hosting provider.

You might find that slow website speeds are connected to your server. It pays to shop around for a good web host that offers strong customer support. When hosting companies take on too many customers, it overloads their servers causing slow page speeds. We suggest using dedicated hosting. Better yet, host it with SeniorCareClicks where we specialize only in senior care websites. Why is this so important? Shared hosting can put your website in jeopardy. Imagine if you were server shared your site on a server that also hosts gaming websites and adult-only websites.

4. Cache up.

The term caching refers to the process of storing data on someone’s device so that it can load faster. It’s an easy method for increasing load speeds for people that regularly return to your site. Your software may be able to store a static version of your website which can be the initial load to your browser.

5. Reduce CSS and JavaScript.

Another way to decrease the initial load time for your users is to move code from the top of the website into the footer. The top code gets loaded first, so your site visitors will see the top of your website normally while the browser finishes loading the code near the footer. Take caution as you take these steps. If you make a mistake, parts of your website will not load or function correctly. Another alternative is to insert a plug in to minimize JavaScript code to eliminate “code bloat.” 

6. Delete unused plugins.

WordPress has lots of plugins available. Be aware that too many backend installations will slow down website load speed. This can be a problem when you’re installing plugins overtime to integrate new features. An overabundance of plugins will overload your site’s memory. Review your plugins and delete or deactivate any plugins that are no longer relevant.

7. Host your content on external sites.

Large video files take up a lot of space. Rather than embed large video files on your site using your site-builder, consider putting them on YouTube or Vimeo. You’ll find that your pages load faster and cut down on lag when your videos are uploaded to external platforms. This strategy also gives you the benefit of creating new sources of traffic to your website. YouTube channels are popular places for consumers to check out home care agencies. If creating a YouTube channel is more involved than you have time for, SeniorCareClicks can create one for your home care agency.

In summary, just as it takes time to keep your home in good working order, it takes a bit of time and effort to develop a website maintenance plan to keep your home care agency website running optimally and securely. You’ve already put in the time to create a beautiful website and you want to maintain it so that it optimizes SEO, ranks high in search engines, and creates a good user experience.If you need assistance with website maintenance services and ensure that your site is continually safe and secure, contact the web maintenance experts at SeniorCareClicks. Our web maintenance services team has the latest updates about WordPress security, and we can help you keep your site secure and functioning well.

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