Your website is a living and breathing entity that needs constant care and upkeep, and sites hosted on the Umbraco CMS are no different. While there are standard best practices to maintaining your website, Umbraco offers numerous features and packages that require their own special love and tenderness. Below, we put together a list of Umbraco maintenance tips that you should keep top of mind when looking at your Umbraco website, and how you can keep it running at peak condition at all times.
BE ON THE LATEST VERSION OF UMBRACO
In order to stay up to date on all new Umbraco features and awesomeness, you should always make sure that your website is on the newest version of the Umbraco CMS. Umbraco 8 was just released in February and it's the latest and greatest in the Umbraco
KEEP UMBRACO PACKAGES UP TO DATE
Umbraco and the Umbraco community offers numerous packages to help you run your Umbraco website more efficiently. Ranging in categories from E-commerce to SEO, security to CRMs, you’ll be able to add the Umbraco packages that have the greatest impact on your website performance and bottom line. Just like ensuring your website is on the most recent version of Umbraco, you should also make sure that your packages are tested on and compatible with the newest version of Umbraco.
You can check this by reviewing under Project Compatibility on the project page:
CHECK YOUR SITE SPEED
A fast website is imperative in today’s digital landscape. Not only do Google and other search engine include it as part of their algorithms (especially for mobile), but users also demand it as part of their experience with your website. For instance, according to Kissmetrics:
- 47% of consumers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less
- 40% of consumers will leave a website if it fails to load in under 3 seconds
- A 1 second delay (or 3 seconds of waiting) decreases customer satisfaction by 16%
What this comes down to is you need to be watching your site speed and taking the steps necessary to ensure it’s running fast and efficiently At Marcel Digital when we’re taking a look at site speed issues on website, we consult Google Analytics and PageSpeed Insights to give us the full scope of how our Umbraco websites are performing and what recommendations Google has to increase overall speed and load times.
CHECK FOR BROKEN LINKS & PAGE ERRORS
One of the most frustrating things a user can encounter is when they click on a link or button, and the page fails to load. Not only does create a friction point for you users, but it also can cause your website to lose valuable rankings in search engines, as well as cost you revenue. If you’re not currently checking your website for broken links or page errors, you need to have a plan in place to start doing so that you know you’re giving your users a great, seamless experience.
SET UP PROPER REDIRECTS
If you do find that you have broken links or page errors, make sure that you update your links to point to proper URLs and that pages that longer exist are redirecting to a relevant page. Setting up redirects in Umbraco is easier than ever with Umbraco Redirect Management. Using Umbraco Redirect Management, you can easily add 1 to 1 URL redirects quickly and manage them over time, meaning you can update or remove the redirects with a click.
CONDUCT REGULAR SEO AUDITS
Tying these last couple of points together to make a larger point, it’s important that you’re conducting regular SEO of your website. To do so you’ll need a consistent schedule of check-ins using your choice of SEO tools to watch rankings, check for page errors, and overall site performance.
You’ll want to keep your eye on SEO site items like:
- Page titles
- Broken pages
- Broken internal links
- Broken images / media
And more. If your keeping a regular eye on these items, not only do you provide a great user experience, but you greatly increase your chances of enhancing your website’s organic visbility. Not sure where to start? There are tons of great SEO resources online, like these from Moz.
Also, our team of SEO experts and Umbraco Masters collaborated to create a few Umbraco SEO packages to get you started on keeping SEO tabs:
RUN SCRIPTS TO CHECK YOUR FORMS
Chances are you have forms or calls to action on your website that require a user to put in information to show they are interested in your services or products. Forms, like any functionality of a website, can sometimes break, or simply just not work the way should. This can lead to missing purchase or lead information, but most importantly, it leads to a terrible user and brand experience. If a user gives up important information for your services and doesn’t receive a response or a product, this can cause friction and potential bad reviews.
At Marcel Digital, we highly recommend regularly testing your website’s forms to avoid this kind of friction. While not Umbraco specific, we use Ghost Inspector to help us test our partner’s website forms weekly, receiving email notifications if forms are not operating properly or having trouble submitting.
SEPARATE YOUR UMBRACO DATA (MEDIA, FORMS, ETC.) FROM THE UMBRACO WEBSITE
Basically, you have the run time which is the Umbraco website running with all of the files it needs to run, and then there are the data files, which is anything that has images, videos and form configurations. You want those separated so that you can move the website wherever you want and the data doesn’t have to go with it – but you can still access it from a different location. The benefit of doing this is really for deployments of Umbraco, where you can deploy a fresh copy with all of your updates each time, and you don’t have to worry about those files getting deleted and keeping them in sync with form configuration files. To separate our data, we use Azure Blob Containers in conjunction with the Umbraco Azure File System Provider package.
USE USYNC TO KEEP UMBRACO BACKOFFICE DATA IN SYNC ACROSS ENVIRONMENTS
If you have Umbraco running in multiple environments, changes to data types, document types, etc., aren’t persistant across environments – such as your test, staging, and production websites. Without a way to keep these in sync, you have to manually go in to each environment and replicate the changes each time. USync eliminates this by serializing that data into XML files, which can be carried from environment to environment in order to automate these changes for the user. If you’re using Umbraco Cloud to host your website, this is handled by Umbraco Deploy.
HOT SWAP DEPLOYMENTS TO REDUCE DOWNTIME
When you deploy an Umbraco instance, the application has to stop and be restarted to pick up the changes which have been deployed. This results in a small amount of site unresponsiveness for users while the site is being restarted. Using environment swapping, you can deploy the Umbraco to a staging environment and once that Umbraco instance is up and running, the staging and production environment can seamlessly swap, resulting in your users not experiencing an unresponsive website. At Marcel Digital, we leverage Microsoft Azure Cloud to perform this environment swapping for us.
Need Any Help?
Marcel Digital offers numerous Umbraco maintenance and digital marketing services to help you run your Umbraco website at it’s absolute best. If you’re having issues or have any questions, feel free to contact us and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!