Digital cobwebs. Imagine an engine that is given regular care and maintenance; it runs well with no issues and operates as expected. Now imagine if the same engine is left alone for long periods of time, is exposed to the elements, and goes largely unchecked; it may not operate well or as expected the next time you try and use it.
The same is true for a website that is left to the “digital” elements. Like an engine, it’s easy to spot when neglect has taken place. These “cobwebs” show up in the form of broken links, missing images, pages missing altogether, and security errors. - Jon Bizeur, Senior Front-End Developer.
This article is a collection of tell-tale signs your Drupal site needs a little maintenance, as told by Isovera’s staff. While not every sign pertains to only Drupal sites, all these signs often start as annoying little things that appear on your website, and that suggest something much more insidious is at play. When these signs start to show, it’s an indication that now may be a good time to schedule a little website support and maintenance TLC.
Getting warning messages in the admin screen can seem like an obvious sign, but messages often wind up being visual noise that gets overlooked. When you see alerts every day, they don’t feel like alerts anymore and, even though they are important, they blend into the background of just “what your backend usually looks like”.
A lot of users on the backend with admin access that haven’t been logged on in a long time (or that you know aren’t in your company anymore) can be a sign of website neglect. While inactive users in themselves aren’t a bad thing, they often indicate that your site could do with a bit of clean up.
Updated Modules Exist
On a Drupal site, Drupal will list out all the latest available updates for your website (under the “reports” section Admin tabs). When you start to see lots of available updates build up, it often means that there’s a backlog of maintenance waiting to be done on your website.
Broken Links or Missing Pages
Lots of broken links, redirects gone wrong, or 404s (“missing page”) are sure signs that your site is overdue for a little maintenance - especially if you aren’t sure how many links or redirects you have, or where the links are or go to. Maintaining your website and cleaning up these links will vastly improve your site’s search engine rankings and the overall user experience. A quick tool I like to use is called “Screaming Frog”, which lets you check for and identify missing or broken links.
Extreme Slowness or Poor Performance
A slow website can be a sign that your website needs some cleaning up. Performance can be affected by bad links (mentioned above), poorly optimized images, too much stuff on a webpage, or even a website bug, so if you notice a decrease in page load time, it might mean it’s time for a bit of a maintenance. Since website performance is often subjective to your industry and peers, a tool you can use to determine your and your competitors’ site performance is keycdn’s page speed test. This tool allows you to put in your website’s url and generate an analysis of the amount of time it takes for the page to load; you can then take this number and compare it with competitor web pages to see how your website’s speed stacks up.
Final Words of Wisdom
As a general rule, site maintenance is a good way to proactively catch issues. Our developers often compare web maintenance to car maintenance; much like when you go in for a routine car maintenance check-up and find out your brakes need a repair, it’s always better to catch what could cause an issue, as opposed to finding an issue because it is already happening!
Want to learn more?
If you’re reading this and thinking “yikes— I think I’m more than a little familiar with some of these scenarios” it might be the time to dig into a maintenance plan.
At Isovera, we offer maintenance plans starting with as little as a few “office hours” a week for companies with questions about their websites, all the way to large-scale solutions with scores of hours per month towards site testing, maintaining, updating, and even building. Interested in how Isovera can work with you to keep your site up and in good order? Visit our maintenance page!