You Have a Business Website. Now What?
Many business owners believe that by establishing a successful business website they are done. But having a business website is only the beginning. One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is to believe that once their website is up and running, it can take care of itself. Regardless of how technically advanced your new or existing business website is it needs to be updated and maintained on a regular basis. And this is why your business needs a website maintenance plan.
Look at it this way. When you buy a new car you plan on keeping it well maintained with regular oil changes, tire rotation, etc. A business website is very similar and also needs to have regular maintenance. By not having a website maintenance plan your business website will deteriorate and become less useful over time. If you have outdated content, broken links or links that redirect to unrelated pages, your customers will get frustrated and go to your competitors’ better maintained website.
A website is never really “complete”. It must constantly be updated with fresh content in order to engage and grow your audience. By using a website maintenance plan, you are ensuring that your website is up to date regarding design, content, regular back ups and protection against malicious login attempts, spam, and malware.
Key Benefits of a Website Maintenance Plan
According to a report from Forbes Magazine 30,000 websites are hacked each day! And especially small business owners tend to believe it will never happen to them. Their business is not big or high-profile enough to attract the attention of hackers. Wrong!
Most websites are hacked with the simple goal of proving it can be done, or to see how much disruption the hacker can cause. Many times small business websites and blogs are targeted simply because they are small and therefore less likely to be secure.
The average hacker doesn’t care about the impact their actions have on you and your business. If your site is not up to date with the latest cyber security programs, patches and fixes you are simply leaving yourself wide open to attack. Don’t forget that this also applies to your online forms, comment boxes, company email, and even your website theme, plugins and extensions. And if you are on a shared server an attack on your website also puts every other site on that server at risk.
A professional website maintenance plan not only includes an initial risk assessment of your site, but the professional tools required to harden and protect your business website. Having a website maintenance plan in place means your website is continuously scanned for threats. In most cases this will protect your site from harm. And in the rare case it does not a website maintenance plan includes regular backups. That allows your service provider to restore your business website very quickly.
Better User Experience
Providing the best possible user experience is essential to your online success. When major technology updates, like a browser or CMS update, occur it can have a big impact on how your business website, or parts of it, perform. As technology updates become more and more frequent they often result in one or more components breaking and not working at all.
This also works the other way around. If you update a plugin or extension on your site, and your browser or CMS can’t work with that update, that part of your business website or blog will break. When visitors come to your website they expect the best possible user experience. If forms, links, or any other components fail to work your visitors will simply go elsewhere.
A website maintenance plan protects your site from incompatible components. Before updating anything your service provider will not only do a full backup, they also perform compatibility testing to ensure that your updated business website works better than ever. And that provides your visitors with a better user experience.
Regardless if you are actually selling products or services on your business website, your website is your shop window. Most often it is the first thing shoppers and consumers will notice about your business. Just like a brick-and-mortar store owner will keep their store windows appealing you need to do the same on your business website. And if you sell your products or services online your website needs to convert visitors into buyers.
What happens if a website visitor comes to your website and clicks on a button, and that button does not work? You guessed it; they leave! If your content is outdated what kind of impression does your business make? Visitors and search engines require constantly updated content to show your business is relevant. Broken forms can cost you leads. Broken shopping carts are the main reason for shopping cart abandonment. And if your payment system doesn’t work you are definitely losing sales!
A comprehensive website maintenance plan can take care of all that for you. In addition to protecting your online store and keeping it running smoothly your service provider can help in many other ways. Perhaps you need a successful landing page for an upcoming campaign. Effective blog posts are essential to any effective content marketing strategy. And fixing any SEO errors on your website can have a huge impact on your search rankings.
Just like with your car small initial problems can become big expensive problems if you wait too long to deal with them. It is the same with your business website. If you keep your business website maintained and updated on a regular basis there is much less of a chance that something drastic will go wrong, and cost you a ton of money to fix. But you have to decide yourself. Ongoing monthly fees to maintain and protect your site versus a potentially very expensive complete site rebuild.
And there is another consideration. Regular website maintenance plans usually allocate time for website updates. When you have a one-time project, like adding a new product or services page you want to include in the scope of work for the month this comes in handy. Professional service providers will factor in the time and resources your added project will take. And many times that will make the extra work much more time and cost-effective.
Elements of a Website Maintenance Plan
Any effective website maintenance plan needs to consider the specific needs and requirements of your business. Small static websites usually need less effort to maintain than large e-commerce sites. A professional web design agency can provide you with a comprehensive website audit and need assessment and go over all the options with you to help you make the best decision for your business.
Here are some of the things you may want to include in your website maintenance plan:
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- Web hosting discounts (some service providers include web hosting in their website maintenance plans)
- Daily, weekly, or monthly website maintenance
- Fixing bugs and compatibility issues
- Hourly, daily, weekly or monthly website backups, including the database, theme or framework, plugins and extensions, and all of your content, including inventory and sales records if applicable
- Monthly retainer for website content updates (usually X number of dollars for Y number of hours per month)
- Creating or curating daily, weekly, or monthly blog posts
- Email configuration and support
- General search engine optimization, including on-page and on-site updates
- Checking for broken and orphaned links
- Performance tracking and analytical reporting
- Google Analytics reporting
- Updating information about your staff or business
- Adding new photos to a photo or product gallery
- Adding new photos to a photo or product gallery
- Adding new promotions or monthly specials
- Adding new products or services
- Creating landing pages for seasonal promotions or sales
Establishing a Website Maintenance Plan
Regardless if you have a new or an existing website, website maintenance is a very important aspect of owning a website. You can have the best designed website with SEO and the works; however, it defeats the purpose if you do not have a solid website maintenance plan in place. Mobile-friendly CMS websites have many components that all have to work together to provide the best results.
More companies are realizing the importance of hiring web design agencies to handle their website maintenance. Many professional web design agencies provide a variety of website maintenance plans at reasonable rates. If you have a static or brochure website that does not handle sales or financial transactions it will require less maintenance than a large e-commerce site.
If your business or organization does not have a comprehensive website maintenance plan, it’s never too late to start. All you have to do is contact a reliable web design agency and they will provide you with an initial assessment and consultation. During your consultation, they will explain the nuts and bolts of website maintenance step by step. You will sleep better knowing that if anything should go wrong with your business website you have professional website support.
We Can Maintain Your Website!
Reach out to us to learn more about our business website services, and how our team can help you establish a comprehensive website maintenance plan.
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