Web site maintenance and growth

Site content maintenance

We are not discussing server maintenance, but rather how to keep your site alive. The subject includes maintaining external links, refreshing and adding content, and technology updates.

The first requirement, is for the client, (or you) to understand the time and budget requirements. A small site may only require a few hours per week, with a major update every year or two. If one is interested in traffic from search engines, then double or triple the content maintenance budget, and add some time for reviewing server statistics.

Think of the sites that you visit most often, chances are they are updated daily. The ones you visit once a month are probably updated every week or so

Technology updates:

Browsers evolve. Many sites that were done for version 3 & 4 browsers could now be updated to CSS. - 96% of browsers currently support the basic specification, and a CSS page can be 50% the size of a straight html page - not an easy conversion, however, as what you want to remove is all the text formatting - to put it on one txt file, called from each page.

Orphan Pages:

It is easy to let obsolete pages pile up in your server files, more fun to post them than to delete them, but search engines don't like them, makes more work for them.

Checking Links:

Your site files may be cleanly linked, what about the external links? Some regular checking is necessary, apart from disappointing your visitors, search engine robots will penalize or delist you for broken links. See software page for a link checking program.

Site Logs:

If you ask nicely, your host will give or sell you access to your server statistics (log files) (providing you have a domain name) - if not, move your site to a new server. Checking logs is interesting, essential if you are looking for search engine traffic. Log files are generally available in one of three formats, in text format, with unix line endings. The formats are access log, referrer log or a combined log. If you have a choice between the first two, the referrer log will give you search terms used to find your site. More on logs and tracking on the search engine page. Software for log analysis is on the software page. Interpreting the results is on Tracking and Logging.

New Web Pages

New pages keep people coming back.

Adding web pages, and keeping a consistent appearance can be done three ways: 1) 'Save As' an existing page, delete the old content, add new, revise title and meta tags. 2) Copy and paste relevant sections of the code into a new page. 3) Use the template function of your authoring program to make a template for new pages. Then add links to the new page on existing pages.

There are pros and cons to each approach, most web designers use all three at some time. For larger sites, the template solution is the only way. But Templates add markup to the html, increasing page size. For a small site (like this one) I prefer option one. It does make it less convenient to add a link to all pages, but I like the clean source.

On to >>>Web Tools: Software and Utilities

Oregon web site design and promotion guide

May 24, 2002

ML WEBB, web site design and promotion, Eugene, Oregon

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