Demystifying Web Maintenance: What Exactly Are You Paying For?
Website maintenance is the part of having a website that most everyone overlooks when it comes to ongoing costs and its upkeep. Some folks even think that “web maintenance” is merely a ploy to make recurring income for a web development company. What are these mysterious costs associated with web maintenance and are they actually necessary? Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to maintain your website on a monthly basis, even if you make no changes at all.
ROUTINE MONTHLY WEB MAINTENANCE
Even if you’re not on a platform that requires being maintained as updates are released, it’s important to be aware of updates to your web server (these updates should come from your host and should be communicated to you), updates to search engine algorithms that help your site be found (for instance, Google updates its algorithms frequently), and that you’re up to date on your CSS and HTML markup (your actual site and how it looks). Sometimes browsers themselves update and after an update will display your site unpredictably due to the effects of the update. Routine web maintenance should cover this type of support as these types of changes are ongoing.
The web maintenance mentioned above is, or should be, done whether you have changes for whoever is maintaining your website or not. Like all types of maintenance, being proactive, being aware of updates and changes that affect your website is key. Look for this when choosing someone to maintain your website.
YOUR WEBSITE’S MAINTENANCE
Depending on how often you update your website, which should be frequently to avoid having information getting stale, web maintenance may or may not seem more beneficial to you. But, whether you find it beneficial or not, you should be updating your website regularly – not necessarily the entire layout and your site’s pages, per se, but the content within them. Here’s why.
As I said before, content can get stale and be ineffective if it sits for too long – in fact, you may not even be ranking for the keywords that you want if you don’t update your content regularly. Search engines update their search algorithms frequently and depending on what people are searching for, your keywords – your content – need to change. That said, ALL of your content doesn’t need updating – just the important stuff like keyword use within your content.
How do you know what people are searching for? Well, by using tools such as Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools, you can get valuable insights into what people are searching for, how they are finding you and what they are clicking on. Setting up Google Analytics can also be used to tell you where people are exiting your website and where people are “dropping off” – leaving your site without moving closer to converting.
Making sure your site uses alt tags on images and that they include the page’s keyword is also important in making sure your content is up to date and keyword rich. These types of edits help your site get found and ensures that you rank for the terms you want to be found under.
These are the kinds of things that you should be performing regular maintenance on, reviewing and updating regularly as part of your website’s maintenance. If you’re not, or your site isn’t being maintained this way, then you’re missing out on the importance ongoing web maintenance.
IS IT SOMETHING YOU COULD DO?
Sure. You could certainly make edits to your own website – go for it! However, I would recommend getting some training (either a class or two on HTML, a tutorial on basic SEO practices or a guide to maintaining your website internally) before taking on the website maintenance of your company or organization’s website. But there’s more to it than just changing text and updating images. You’d need to be keeping up with technology and security best practices. You’d need to be updating plugins and code as they are improved or become obsolete. You’d need to make sure that your website can be found and that you are ranking for your keywords. You’d essentially need to be spending as much time on maintaining your website as you do on building your business.
That’s not a really practical idea, now is it?
The important thing to think about here is that web maintenance has changed – probably in the time that you’ve had your website and continues to change as technology changes. The “if you build it, they will come” theory just doesn’t work anymore. Having a website is much like having a car; you need to take care of it – keep it look good, making sure it runs efficiently and gets you where you need to go. You have to maintain your car, why not maintain your website?
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO THEN?
Consider checking out our web maintenance packages here. While you may choose to not purchase a plan from DPi Graphics, our plans to give you a reference point on what to expect for web maintenance plan costs, what they cover, etc. As always, if you have any questions about website maintenance, please reach out – we’ll answer them with out giving you the hard sell.
Seriously, though, you should take the time and find your business someone to maintain your website. Why? Well, so that you don’t have to. Your time is already at a minimum, so why add something to it? Besides, folks who do this for a living know what to do and can do it quickly. Efficiently. Correctly. And don’t forget about the fact that your site would always be monitored, protected and updated, without having to worry about technical issues or frequent technology updates. It just makes sense.
Do you have someone who maintains your website already? What kinds of things do they include in their maintenance plan? What do you wish was included? Let us know below!