On Monday morning, I spent a couple of hours checking off several routine medical appointments. I had carefully scheduled them back-to-back-to-back in order to consolidate the number of trips to the medical center this year.

While waiting between appointments, I started thinking about what my next newsletter topic was going to be, and it occurred to me that just like we prioritize regular health check-ups for ourselves, it’s important to give your website health check-ups as well. 

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, your website is often the first point where potential clients will form an impression of you and your business. Periodically checking your website for errors, plugin or theme updates, and missing links is important for maintaining a strong online presence.

Here are five areas I recommend you regularly check on your website:

Review Your Dashboard. Take a peek at the back end of your website (or get a qualified professional to do it for you). Regularly updating your website’s software and plug-ins is crucial to keep up with the latest industry standards and security protocols. Outdated elements can compromise the functionality of your site and leave it vulnerable to security breaches.

The Security Sockets Layer (SSL certificate). To easily check your site’s SSL certificate, click the padlock icon in the website bar for your website. A pop-up box will tell you if your site is secure. If you find your SSL certificate has expired, I recommend contacting your site’s hosting provider, as most will handle the update for you.

Check Your Links. Though broken links can occur, they don’t look good for your business and can leave your customers frustrated, so you will want to fix any that are no longer working. A “best practice” is to make sure that when a link takes somebody off your site (e.g., to a site you mention), that it “opens a new tab” in the browser. That way your website visitor can easily click back to your site and keep looking around. Making this happen is just a simple setting when creating the link.

Read Every Page. Yes, I recommend you read every single page on your site. Is your message clear so that someone reading it understands what you do and why they would want to work with you? Check for font discrepancies, spacing issues, and link colors that may be different than your website color palette. Update anything that is out-of-date, including the copyright in the footer of your website if you haven’t changed it yet for the new year.

Contact information. Your website should provide your business phone number, email address, and social media links. This will make contacting you easy for your clients and potential clients.

Since your website is often the first point where potential clients will form an impression of you and your business, take steps now to make sure the impression is a good one!