Website Maintenance Issues
Maintaining a website is a fact of life, a part of a web development cycle. This means that maintenance can begin as soon after the website goes online. Maintaining a website is quite different than maintaining application software. There are some special issues and procedures needed for Websites, due to their nature and operational status.
- 24x7x365: A website should be fully functional 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Websites, especially an e-commerce site should be of continuous operation. Maintenance of e-commerce site should be done without taking the site off-line. However, there are some instances that it may be necessary to lock out use of pages in a portion of a Website while changes are made to those pages. This can be made by placing a “Temporarily Out Of Service” or similar notice on the main page of the section being maintained and disabling all links within that segment. This gives the page visitors an indication of the change, which may reduce confusion.
- Check for broken links. Most common maintenance issue for any Website, besides changing the content of the site, is validating the links if they are still working and accurate. Periodic checks are needed to be performed to make sure active pages are found from all links, this can be done manually or by the use of software created for that purpose.
- Code Validation. Before publishing modified or new pages, it should be processed by a code validation routine to insure that all the code is working. If you are using HTML, XML, Perl or other editor, such a feature is likely built into the software.
Re-registration. It may be necessary to re-register a Website with search engines when the content of your site significantly changes. Re-registration may be necessary for visitors to find your site based on the new or changed content.
- Future editions. One of the most important issues to address to insure effective Website use is to avoid confusing visitors. Especially, frequent visitors can be confused if the site is constantly changing. To avoid confusion, you can post indications of future enhancements to the site and, as with all information systems; you can batch changes to reduce the frequency of site changes.