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Website Maintenance: Best Practices for Front-end Developers

By Madan Pariyar

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Properly running a website is a full-time job, especially if you are a major brand in the business. Right from the day your website goes live, you are supposed to be constantly adjusting your website, so that you can improve overall effectiveness. Once things are on track, you will, undoubtedly, keep adding content to the website and that keeps adding clutter to it, potentially making it bloated and slow. This is where routine website maintenance comes into the scenario.

When you are a front-end developer, you are supposed to work on the website aesthetics. For you, it's important to maintain and monitor the site for possible issues, that could affect both usability and profitability. So, here is a brief collection of tips that can help you with the maintenance of your website, as well as the front-end optimization.

Clean and Updated Content

As a front-end developer within the team, your task mainly revolves around the presentation of content. Every time a new piece of content is introduced onto the site — or a change is made — you are entrusted with the task of making everything look organized and clean. If you are running a blog on your website, it might simply accumulate too many blog pages, with content that is now old and outdated. You should be taking care of it as your contribution towards website maintenance.

Keep reviewing the static content and introduce updates or corrections wherever needed. Taking care of user-generated content on the website should also be on your to-do list. This will include clearing the clutter in the user forums on your website, eliminating spam comments, tag maintenance, etc.

Optimize for Loading Speed with a CDN and Caching

Optimizing your website pages for speed is no longer optional. Making sure that your website loads within 2 seconds is only going to come true through collective team effort from everyone who is working on the website.

As a front-end developer on the team, you can contribute to the maintenance by significantly improving the speed and performance of your website. There are certain ways to make sure of that. You can recommend that your team invest in a reliable and quality web host service provider so that website speed stays in check. Using a content delivery network will help you serve excellent loading speed to a global audience. Implementing 'caching' will also let your website load quickly on browsers.

Keep Checking Your Website for Browser Compatibility

How a website loads on their browser-of-choice is a very decisive factor in the user-experience of your site's visitors. Hence, ensuring that your website works smoothly on all the current browsers should be an ongoing part of your maintenance routine.

Continuous A/B Testing

As a front-end developer on your website, you can have a better eye for certain things on the website that others might fail to notice. Using this to your advantage to test things and check how they affect your site's conversion rate is going to go a long way towards the maintenance of your website. Since you work for the front-end, checking up on the text, colors, position, etc., can help you improve your communication with visitors and back up important design decisions with real data from real users.

Clean up the HTML Document

HTML helps with the website formatting by putting headings, subheadings, lists, and such in place on your website. Beautiful and clean HTML is the foundation of a beautiful website. Hence, writing concise and effective HTML is crucial. This is also essential because good CSS can only exists with equally good HTML markup. The overuse of divs in HTML markup also needs to be eliminated. There are a lot of ways to take care of that bad portions of HTML. However, with tools such as HTML Cleaner, your work can be seamless.

Optimize CSS Performance

As your website keeps getting updated and loaded with new designs and content, the CSS files on them tend to become bloated. They can eventually become too much to handle. Going back to optimize and fix older CSS code can be an overwhelming task for many, but it is crucial to make sure that you look into the CSS of the site every time during maintenance. W3C CSS Validation Service can help you with the CSS optimization on your website. Remember to back up all those CSS files just in case the automated tools might render your code unusable. Also, ensure that your CSS is valid.

Minification

In your capacity as a front-end developer, you can look into your site's maintenance by taking care of the Minification. Through Minification, you can remove unnecessary or redundant data without affecting the formatting and obviously removing unused code.

Here is an example of a code snippet before minification

.entry-content p {
font-size: 14px !important;
}

.entry-content ul li {
font-size: 14px !important;
}

.product_item p a {
 color: #000;
 padding: 10px 0px 0;
 margin-bottom: 5px;
 border-bottom: none;
}

After minification:

.entry-content p,.entry-content ul li{font-size:14px!important}.product_item p a{color:#000;padding:10px 0 0;margin-bottom:5px;border-bottom:none}

Tools such as Minifier and CSS Minifier can help you in the pursuit of your website maintenance as a front-end developer.

File Compression and Image Optimization

One of the most usual steps in the website maintenance routine of any website is the compression of files and optimization of images. Using a file compression method on your origin server immensely improves your front-end optimization. It makes your website lightweight and quick-to-load.

Speaking of the high-resolution images chosen by you for the aesthetic value of your website, they do serve the purpose of making your website look appealing, but they can also slow down your website or simply make it heavier. To improve your site's front end performance, optimizing these images is a must! It is easy to do with tools such as Kraken.io, Optimizilla and JPEG Optimizer.

Keeping all Repairs, Fixes and Upgrades Current

We kept this towards the end, even though this is the most basic part of the website maintenance routine. Here, we need to take care of the errors, bugs, and broken links on the website. Checking to see if all the images and external files are properly referenced is also a part of this basic step. As a front-end developer, removing older, unsupported plugins and updating the relevant ones is also going to be an important task. Making sure that you have the upgraded version of your content management system (CMS) is also a checkbox item that needs to be clicked.

Act Upon User Feedback

As a front-end developer, your emphasis is on the presentibility of your website. It should look good and function well. The best way to go about ensuring this is through acting upon any user feedback received. Since user-experience is a prime factor in the quality assurance of your website, you must regularly check into the user feedback forms to see if there are certain things that the users are concerned about.

Conclusion

Poorly optimized and maintained websites fall prey to a lot of issues that hinder their success and growth. If your website is facing issues similar to slow loading times, browser incompatibilities, and issues with the code, you need to take charge and focus on the tips mentioned above. By implementing these tips, you can effectively increase the speed/overall performance of your website and contribute towards its routine maintenance.

About the Author

Madan Pariyar is a blogger at WebPrecious and a digital marketing strategist helping clients to resolve their website woes. When not busy with all these things, you may find Madan occasionally watching movies, traveling and spending time with family.



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