System maintenance is one of those key tasks that (too often) gets pushed to the bottom of the priority pile. And yet, just as regular exercise and a healthy diet keep your body in shape, system maintenance is your assurance that everything is “go” in your on-line world.
Maybe you can’t control power outages and remote servers going down … but those broken links and defunct plugins? Those you can definitely manage!
System Maintenance: Like a Good Foundation
If you’re a blogger or an on-line business person, your systems are what keep everything going. They all need to work in sync; and quite often, changes in one process will affect another one – perhaps in ways you hadn’t even considered. Changing the link for a page may affect the autoresponder that you set up months ago. Editing the name and changing the on-line location of a digital product means that the download links will have to change.
These details are so important to track, as they spell the difference between customer satisfaction and customer frustration! And as your business grows (the good news) … the number and complexity of the details that must be tracked grows exponentially. Catching glitches early can save you lots of time and trouble … not to mention helping you avoid lost opportunities!
System Maintenance: Some Ideas to Try
We hit a point several years ago, here at The Time Finder, where we realized that we needed a system maintenance plan. We were offering more material and options to customers, and wanted to be sure that everything was accessible and working as it should. So, here’s what we did:
- My VA created a spreadsheet (thank you, Excel!) for tracking all of our products, sales pages, etc. This spreadsheet has evolved over time and is our system maintenance “Bible.”
- The spreadsheet is sorted with active products and opt-ins at the top, and it includes information like:
◦ Links to sales and opt-in pages,
◦ Autoresponders that are related to particular products,
◦ Opt-in messages used,
◦ Bonuses offered with particular opt-ins,
◦ Redirects for particular products or gifts, etc.
- On a weekly basis, my VA then pulls up this spreadsheet, updates it as necessary, based on our week’s activities, and checks the links systematically, to make sure that everything is working as it should. (This doesn’t mean that every single link is checked every single week. However, over the course of several weeks, she covers every active link and every automated system to make sure it is okay.)
- It’s also helpful to check your web stats (again, on a weekly basis) to look for any anomalies that could indicate trouble in the system.
Do you have a system maintenance plan in place? And do you follow through on it? Think about some small steps you can take on a regular basis to make sure that your systems are “go.” It will save you time and trouble in the long run!© Copyright 2013 Paula Eder, Ph.D.