This approach to website maintenance is detrimental to your brand reputation.
I have seen several companies make the of mistake treating a website as a “set it and forget it” sort of project. In today’s market, that’s a pretty crazy move…but I’m sure you’ve seen it too. Maybe it’s the Chinese restaurant down the street that has great food, but when you go online to view the menu….404 error!
What!? Ok, so you just look up the next closest restaurant instead. You’d think it would be simple, but I stumble across this all the time.
Maybe it’s even you! You had a friend build your website, and it’s been a few months…ok, let’s face it…6 months since you’ve even looked at it. Heck, does your contact page even work anymore?
The internet and technology continue to evolve so rapidly that sometimes the technology you are using can become incompatible with a browser, or maybe an integration you are using stops working because the password got inadvertently reset…and now you aren’t capturing leads!
The point is, it’s not a matter of if something will go wrong with your website, it’s when.
Your website is a living creation and it needs maintenance and attention on a regular schedule to keep it in optimal performing shape.
Now, I’m not implying that any of this needs to be complex, or even very time consuming – it just needs to happen on a consistent basis.
There is more at stake than a simple inconvenience of a contact page not working. Your brand reputation is on the line. When potential clients see your website is out of date, or not functioning properly, you lose credibility and maybe even a sale. Reputation is something you work too hard to maintain and build, don’t let bad experiences on your website drive down your brand value.
Your website should be vetted monthly at minimum to ensure that everything is working properly and evaluate if there are any areas that can be improved upon.
There are a few ways to handle ongoing maintenance:
Do it yourself
Unless you have a custom website, you probably have options to update and maintain your website already. On platforms like Wix and Squarespace, this is a relatively simple task. WordPress is also doable, but I’ve found that clients who use it infrequently become confused and frustrated. Many of them prefer to pay someone to do it for them.
- You control your content at all times – no waiting
- Don’t have to pay a monthly maintenance fee
- You will have to spend your valuable time making updates
- You may have to learn the software (and don’t forget updates!)
Pay for Ongoing Maintenance
Pay someone to do it for you. In most instances you can use the same vendor you used to create your site. Each vendors service may vary, but in general you want a service that will keep your website up to date, secure, check for any broken links or forms, and may even include a few small content changes allowances in the monthly agreement.
It is important to get a written agreement for guaranteed response times for when problems do arise.
- An always up-to-date website
- Guaranteed response times
- Monthly cost
- May have to wait a few days for updates (depends on your contract)
Pay Ad hoc
I’ve seen companies try and work this way to avoid paying a monthly fee. However, some agencies may not even give you this option. This is a reactive option instead of a proactive one and most customers end up calling the vendor only when the crisis hits….like 9AM on Monday when their website suddenly isn’t loading…and yeh…it’s CYBER Monday and they have a giant sale and need it fixed NOW.
- Avoid a monthly fee
- Likely to pay a higher price for services since you are not in a monthly contract
- You don’t have “retained time” with your web vendor, so you may be a low priority with no guaranteed response time
- Frustration. Vendors don’t love when clients come to them in crisis mode for issues that could easily have been remedied on a monthly maintenance package.
I HIGHLY recommend steering clear from this third option. I’ve never seen it work well.
Your website is one of the many touch points that makes up your brand and it’s likely to be one of the most important ones.
The takeaway for today is that a website is not a “set it and forget it” piece of your business. Commit to maintaining it on a schedule yourself, or pay a monthly maintenance fee. You will help maintain your brand reputation with a fully functional site, save yourself headaches, and have happier customers!
P.S. Be honest with yourself. If you’re too busy to keep up on the maintenance, don’t try and force it – some things are just easier to pay someone else to take care of. 🙂
Looking for help creating a new website, or does yours need a little facelift? Aspireen offers WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace packages for informational websites (no ecommerce at this time). Message me personally for a 30-min consult to see how I can help you create a website that helps your business look and feel legit!