Maintaining your website once it has been created and made live for the world to see, is equally as important as having it well designed and functional. It's a consistent problem for any web designer when clients assume that once their website is created, it will magically create new business for them with no further input. If only this were true, but the sad fact is that marketing your business through the internet requires time, planning and regular action.
We explain to everyone who contacts us about developing a new website, that every business and every project has unique requirements. Some websites are just intended to be a static source of information and others may require a range of features which will be an asset for the company to save them time and money.
One of the great assets of a website is that unlike a brochure or an advertisement, it doesn't have to be a static thing. It can and should be regularly updated with new information, new products, new campaigns and therefore generate new business. This of course requires fore-thought and planning, someone to input the changes, and then also to promote them - to drive traffic to the website so the changes can be seen.
We suggest to potential clients that it will be to their advantage to consider us as their contractor who can perform all their future website changes and updates, instead of training a current employee. After all, no-one knows the website better than the designer/developer, and that person can perform ongoing work faster and more efficiently for this reason.
Generally speaking, a professional web designer has a good handle on current internet marketing practices and trends, and can advise you. They probably have associates in the industry who can handle more specialised projects such as search engine optimisation and code engineering, should these services be required.
A contract agreement can be drawn up which is unique to your business and the ongoing work requirements of the website and the internet marketing plan. As I keep saying, all websites are unique, so the maintenance contract will also need to be unique. Some business may only require infrequent changes, others will want to be pro-active and update daily or weekly.
Not to be forgotten are maintenance upgrades of the website system. If your website utilises a database or is based on a content management system like Joomla or WordPress, or is an ecommerce store using Magento or another system - it will need regular security upgrades to ensure it is not vulnerable to hacks. If your business is handling client information this is especially important. The person who developed your website is the best person to handle this kind of ongoing work.
If you do have employees who are technically minded and capable of performing all your ongoing updates and website changes, your web designer should be able to train them in how to use the system they have designed for you. This can easily be done using the free and awesome Skype which allows two computer users to talk and also screen share. I have trained clients and their employers all over the country and overseas as well in minimal time, and my support can be on an ad hoc basis as required, or provided as part of a maintenance contract.
Your website will never live up to its promise if you leave it sitting dead in the water.
Before you start your website you should be thinking one step ahead, so that you can develop the site intelligently and vigorously, and ultimately be successful in your web project.
You must promote your website constantly. Every single day you should do something, anything, which attempts to get people to your site. This is extraordinarily critical in order to ensure that people continue to visit your site day after day. The "Advertising" section describes many of the techniques that you can use to get your site noticed.
Another task that must be performed on a regular basis is checking for "link rot". This is the tendency for broken links to appear all over a site. It is most common with external links (sites move, are abandoned or are modified all of the time) but can occur occasionally with internal links.
People expect sites on the web to be constantly changing. If your site is static and unchanging there is no reason for someone to come back again - after all, they've already seen it so why return? One major way to get them to come back is to change the content constantly and to be sure that your visitors know it is changing.
Monitor Your Site
Subscribe to a service which checks your site on a regular basis. This is important, as if your site is constantly "bouncing" you will find it being removed from search engines and your visitor levels will drop.
Review Your Statistics
A task you should be performing on a regular basis is to review your statistics. At a minimum, you should check your page counts to be sure that your site is being viewed. At best, you need to know where people are coming from, which browsers they are using and what they visited while they were at your site. A webmaster who does not have access to statistics is a crippled webmaster who has no idea how effectively his website is performing.
Publish A Newsletter
We firmly believe that all web-masters who maintain sites of any significance (a reasonable amount of content) should regularly publish a newsletter. This allows interested visitors to be updated on events and new materials published on the site, and gives the business a method of communicating with his customers or visitors at will.
All web-masters need to stay up-to-date on new technologies which they can use to improve their web site. In addition, getting certified, joining organisations, continuing their education and attending conventions is essential to staying current and active.
Review Your Site
Occasionally review your site. When you look over a page, check your grammar, spelling and accuracy. Remember that as time progresses your articles may become stale, so be sure and recheck your conclusions and facts. What may have been true when you wrote the article last year is not necessarily true or important anymore.
Check Your Site's Security
Learn as much as you can about web site security, and ensure that, to the best of your abilities and knowledge, that your site is secure. This ensures that your customers and visitors information remains confidential and safe. It also protects you and your web host from harm.
Protect Your Visitor's Privacy
Call us today on 07 5345 6011 or 0418 723 886 for more information.