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Chapter 18. Maintaining Your Store > Periodic Maintenance

Periodic Maintenance

Although you will perform a long list of tasks daily, there are also a number of things you will have to do less frequently. These chores are just as important and can be scheduled at intervals throughout the month or year.

  • Check your competitors' sites each month. See what they're selling, how their prices are, what new features have been added to their Web sites, and so on. Keep up with the Joneses. Actually, keep ahead of the Joneses.

  • Check for dead links. There are a number of programs that do this such as Theseus and Alert LinkRunner. You should also have a special email link for people who want to report dead links or other problems with your site.

  • Do minor Web upkeep weekly. This includes changing price lists and fixing minor errors as necessary.

  • Do a major site redesign a few times a year. This doesn't mean completely changing the look of your site, but changing fonts, adding features, and so on. You can experiment behind the scenes before actually presenting these changes publicly. The more you work on your design and HTML skills, the better you'll get. When redesigning your site, be careful about removing pages. If people were entering your site through a particular page and it suddenly disappears, they'll be told the page no longer exists. If you find it necessary to remove a page, use a redirect page, which automatically takes visitors from outdated pages to your home page. The search engine HotBot has a "Check links to this domain" feature that allows you to see who is linking to your site. You can also check your log file to see where people are coming in. Don't close your store's door by removing commonly linked pages.

  • Update your content. A What's New page that never has anything new is sure to make customers uneasy.

  • Check the speed. If you use a high-speed connection such as a cable modem, periodically access your site with a dial-up connection to see how fast it loads. Look for pages that are slow to load and do what you can to speed them up.

  • Check the search engines once a month to see where you're being listed. Do what you can to improve your rating.

  • Ask for feedback. When you have time, poll your regular customers about your store.

  • Stay on top of new technologies. If something comes along that is both cost effective and enhances your site or ability to service your customers, investigate it.



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