You built a great, professionally designed website using the latest and greatest in web technology and everyone loved it. But that was 2005, what about today?
If you left the site as is, today it would be outdated, old and behind your competition. Content would need to be updated, images replaced and new elements added to keep up with today’s socially connected world.
On the other hand, a well maintained site will look great even today and there will be minimum degrade in website performance. Website maintenance is as critical as website design and development. Keeping your website current and updated has significant business benefits and reduces costs.
But you have to run your business and cannot give time to the website. Outsourcing to a professional website maintenance company is a good option. The key is setting a proper process in place and understanding the vendor’s capabilities.
Key elements for proper outsourced website maintenance
The technology your website runs on
This is critical as the company looking after your website has to be proficient in the technology used. While a simple static HTML, CSS site is easy to maintain, a dynamic database driven website or one built off a Content Management System (CMS) like Joomla has a lot more complexity. Upgrading the CMS, the components or plugins correctly requires a certain level of skill and experience.
Elements of the site which need to be updated regularly
Some elements like data, product price changes, product offers follow regular cycles of updates. This work will usually be quantifiable and measurable and the time needed for completion, easy to predict.
Elements of the site which are updated infrequently
These will usually occur in case of website issues, website repairs and corrections, replacing a component with another, recovering from hacks or scripting bugs. These will usually be unpredictable and the scale of work can vary from simple edits to complex programming corrections and bug removal.
This is critical especially if the changes are urgent and due to unpredictable issues. The skills of the service provider are crucial as longer downtime will mean more losses. For regular scheduled changes, a 24 to 48 hr turnaround time should usually be fine.
Accuracy of the updates and changes
This is measurable for regular, predictable changes and should be 100% if proper information and resources e.g images to upload, scripts, component code have been provided in advance.
For urgent and unpredicted changes, this may not be the case and can cause rework. Experienced firms can usually anticipate this better and reduce cases of rework.
A company which offers multiple pricing options like pay as you go or fixed website maintenance rates (weekly, monthly) is the best choice.
The pay as you go model is perfect for an unpredictable and small set of changes.
The fixed price model on the other hand ensures that website maintenance is done proactively rather than reactively on a regular time scale and what will be done is better defined.
Website maintenance is a crucial element for any successful online business. Done regularly with a well defined processes your site will never be boring or outdated again.