Getting your new website up and running is like welcoming your customers to a stylish new building. You’ve made an investment in the construction and things are running smoothly, clients are finding and using your site to contact you, and you are proud of how everything looks and works.
With time though new and improved website features that can attract or engage clients become available, and parts of your site might begin to break down – not necessarily because there is something wrong with them, but because technology on the web moves so rapidly. Hackers love to find out of date websites and use them to send spam.
Rolling up your sleeves to fix the plumbing or the wiring of your website probably isn’t the reason you decided to open a business in the first place. Hiring a team to carry out the maintenance jobs not only lets you focus on your own work but ensures that things function as best as possible so that new and current customers arrive to an informative and secure environment.
A website maintenance plan can help you ensure that customers and prospects have a positive experience on your site and that you stay on top of security updates. It can be a valuable investment for your business or organization. Here are three ways a plan can contribute to your business.
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1. Customer Experience
The last thing you want for your business is for customers or prospects to become frustrated when trying to find the information they need to make decisions. Changes to web browsers like Internet Explorer or Chrome, and changes to other websites can impact a users experience on your website. It is vital to be sure that when a customer clicks on a link it takes them to the desired place and its easy for them to read. (Have you come across any teeny tiny websites on your phone lately? In the last few years most websites were updated to be responsive, but there are still a few out there that try to squeeze the desktop view down onto a phone).
Oh, and don’t forget to update your content! Information in your industry may change rapidly and the data that you have on your website may become outdated sooner than you think. Regularly updating your content is a clear signal to your visitors (and search engines like Google) that your website is active and up to date. Ideally a maintenance plan will include a provision for content updates, in addition to the security and technology updates, so you can just email in your updates and the site gets update for you.
2. Sales Impact
Being able to get their questions answered is essential for your customers to take the steps to buy your products or hire your services. With a website maintenance plan your site should be continually monitored to ensure that it is up and running and to make sure that contact forms and other methods of contacting your business are working properly so that you do not lose any leads.
In the last week alone we’ve had 3 non-maintenance plan clients contact us about the following:
- one client’s website had been down for 10 days and they hadn’t noticed (how many possible clients may have noticed though?). Their hosting company had made an update which broke their website.
- a new client’s website had been shut down by their hosting provider because it was sending ‘phishing’ emails, and had hundreds a fake bank login pages hidden in a directory – their site had been hacked. When they realized the problem they found us by searching google for website maintenance
- a third client’s shipping function on their website had stopped working when the courier updated their system. The client contacted us because someone had emailed them to let them know they couldn’t complete their purchase. They hadn’t received an order in 3 days and thought it must have just been the time of year
In all cases we were able to resolve the issues and get the sites back up and fully functional, but who’s to say how much business might have been lost? In the long run a small investment in maintenance will pay off for your business.
Let’s face it, hackers out there are hard at work every day presenting us with increasingly complex new threats. They don’t even have to target your website specifically, but rather they run automated robots that scan the web looking for outdated code. Once they find a website they can use the robots then break into them and set them up to send spam or set up fake ‘phishing’ websites within your own site. Applying the latest security updates to your content management system (CMS) avoids leaving your website wide open to their attacks and ensures that your information, and that of your customers, is secure.
Whichever route you wish to pursue to keep your website in top shape, remember that the company that you choose to assist you is really an extension of your team, a specialized task force. It is there to free you up from having to remain vigilant over these details so that you can spend time with your clients and focus on what you do best: your business.