Maintaining Your Website

So, you think because your website is up and the world is looking at it that your designer is no longer a factor? Not necessarily. Websites need to be updated or modified to keep them fresh. If your services or products change, your customers need to be made aware of this and one of the best ways is to update your website. If your developer's work was satisfactory, then he or she can make these changes as part of your ongoing relationship or contract.

The following list encompasses most of the tasks that your developer might do on an ongoing basis:

  • Content updates
    Rotate your information to keep your website fresh. Ask your developer about some ideas to keep your customers' interests.

  • New products
    If your products change, become extinct, or new ones come in, the customer would like to know. If this is a frequent occurrence, work with your developer on the fees to maintain this portion.

  • Site navigation
    The initial navigation is probably suiting the needs of your visitors. As your website grows and you get feedback from your customers, you will want to rethink the page layouts. Your key pages should be the most prominent and easy to navigate. Usually, if a customer has to click more than three times to get information, you probably have lost them.

  • Offers and promotions
    Offers and promotions keep your website looking fresh, as well as provide incentives for customers to shop online. Most companies have specials online that they do not have in stores. If you do this, make sure you have tracking features so you can understand the customers' purchases.

  • Redesign
    It may be too soon to think about redesigning your website, especially if you just launched it. Redesign is something to consider 18 to 24 months in the future. You will have feedback, experience, and understanding of your customer base and can put this to use with your new and improved website. Talk about this in the initial stages of your website.
Your website will require time, energy, and resources after the initial concept and implementation. This doesn't mean that you have to do something different every day, but you will need to be on top of your maintenance. If not, you will lose customers.

Maintenance is simply ensuring your files and directories are running and functional all the time. If any changes are made to the links, it will affect all the documents and pages associated with those links. User feedback is usually the first to alert you of these problems, but try to proactive instead of reactive to the situation.

Update Your Website

This entails simple content changes. You might change the location of information, rotate informative links, or adding new capabilities. Even if you add new content, you will not need to throw out the old information. Most of the information is useful and can be archived for searches and easy access.

Strategic Maintenance

This is as simple as using all of your knowledge and implementing a plan. This may be hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly. It all depends upon your product and the shelf life. Also, listen to your customers.

What are they saying about your website?

Are they complaining about load time or difficult navigation?

Are they disappointed about the lack of information?

All of these comments, as well as other ones, will help you and your developer redefine and refine your website. If you do not have a way for customers to make comments, then that would be a good place to start. You'll also need to track your page visits. It does not have to be intricate; it needs to be accurate and useful. This will assist you in making future changes to enhance usability.

If your website is not quick to load or easy to navigate, your customers will likely leave. Think of websites that you like or dislike and how you feel when you sail through and make a purchase or get frustrated and leave the website altogether. Putting yourself in the customer's seat will make you a better company and ensure you have a better website than your competitor.
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