The Challenges of Managing a Website In-House
Probably the best analogy we’ve come up with is to think of your website like a car. For many of us, the website plays a crucial role in the lives of our business and we simply couldn’t do without it.
But, just like a car, it needs maintenance to avoid having random bits and pieces stop working and to avoid eventually suffering a total breakdown. If this happens, you’re typically looking at a full site rebuild as you’ll discover the site you had was built on very wonky foundations indeed.
You can try DIY web maintenance but if you don’t have the right expertise in-house, chances are it’ll turn into a series of bodge jobs that accelerate the degradation of your website rather than slowing it down.
Here are some things to think about to help you weigh up the pros and cons of having your website maintained internally or by an expert support team.
If you’re the kind of company who expects things like ROI, enquiries, downloads and more results around marketing and sales, then your website will be constantly improving and evolving. A year or two into this process and your site will look and feel completely different to how it looked when it was first built.
Website Changes & Improvements
At this point, everything you do needs to be strategic or it won’t work. If your website isn’t being improved and evolved by the same people responsible for maintaining your website, things are going to go wrong if they don’t synchronise their tech stack.
For example, if you’ve hired a (proper) web design and development team, who can give you complete freedom and flexibility in terms of page design, layouts, features and functionality, they will build your site using a specific programming language; none of these BS drag and drop DIY website builders.
Without the right expertise, your site will suffer a series of issues that plague user experience and sabotage your efforts to win sales or perform well with SEO.
In the past we’ve seen really simple things cause havoc that weren’t discovered until months later and it was impossible to know how much money was lost as a result. In one case a company was pumping thousands into marketing, only to discover their contact form had been broken for 5 months.
They had no idea because they chose not to invest into regular website maintenance services. They came to us with this problem and our maintenance tasks revealed dozens of other “time-bomb” issues that would have caused a major disruption to marketing and sales efforts had we not caught them first.
Slow Site Speed
Over time your website will slow down as more and more is added to it without consideration for future performance. It’s common to see in-house teams, who lack the full breadth of expertise needed, to keep adding new pages and other bits and pieces – in non-ideal ways – without concern for page load times and the overall site’s performance.
Typically these issues would be caught with regular maintenance services, but if you’re not doing them, you won’t catch it when issues arise and they’ll keep building up over time until something breaks.
Without proper website maintenance, your site could be exposed to hackers. Every plug-in, line of code or extension will become obsolete and vulnerable to hackers sooner or later. They need regular security updates to protect your site against the many different and often new ways hackers can break into your site.
It may not sound like a risk you need to worry about, but when you realise that your web server has been sending spam for over a year, due to a stealth hack, your domain has been blacklisted and all emails you send are either rejected or automatically moved into the spam folder, you’ll have a much bigger problem to deal with.
Evolution of Web Infrastructure
Servers keep your website online and functional, just like your website they rely on programming languages to maintain a healthy connection between the server and your website. Think of it like the Operating System for your car, without it, it wouldn’t turn on.
Every three or so years, these programming languages undergo major overhauls. For example there are 20 different versions of PHP (the most common language) since its release in 1994. But here’s the thing, if your website and server are configured to use significantly different versions, your site simply will not work.
With every new release comes new ways to write safer and more efficient code. At the same time, certain ways of writing code are made obsolete. Web hosting companies will force their servers to run using the latest PHP versions, because sites getting hacked means more work and less money coming in. When (not if) your server PHP version is upgraded, if your site is built using old code then it’ll stop working.
Factors to Consider When Exploring Website Maintenance Companies
If your site isn’t being maintained, all of the above issues will accumulate over time, causing a series of unpredictable, costly and sometimes undetectable errors that cause unnecessary stress and frustration.
But how do you choose the best website maintenance services?
Relevant Experience and Expertise
Navigating the digital world can feel like sailing in uncharted waters, right? It’s complex, constantly changing, and full of unexpected challenges. That’s where the right maintenance plan can make all the difference. Partnering with a company that has the relevant experience and expertise in website maintenance can be your compass, guiding you through the digital seascape, ensuring your website not only stays afloat but sails smoothly towards your business goals.
The company you entrust should demonstrate a robust understanding of and experience with the technologies used to build your website. This is especially important for more complex websites that may require advanced technical support.
For instance, if you have a WordPress site, ensure that the company you choose has demonstrable experience in WordPress maintenance. Why is this so important? Well, WordPress websites, much like other content management systems, have unique characteristics and potential vulnerabilities that require specific knowledge and skills to effectively manage.
Additionally, consider their understanding of SEO best practices, usability, and accessibility standards. These are key elements that contribute to the success of your website. They need to ensure your website is not just functional, but also user-friendly, accessible to all users, and optimized for search engines.
But remember, it’s not just about ticking off a checklist of skills and experiences. The company you choose should truly understand your business, your clients, and your goals.
Support Services Offered
The more chefs in the kitchen, the more difficult it is to maintain operational stability and keep things running smoothly, with one set of opinions often trying to override another. Too many cooks – or in our case, service providers – can lead to confusion, miscommunication, and a less than stellar outcome.
The ideal setup? One partner who oversees the ongoing maintenance and long-term development of your website.
But what else should you consider?
Site Security Services
Security services are a crucial component of site maintenance packages, especially for larger websites. These services help protect your site from potential threats and vulnerabilities and keep your security systems up to date. They involve regular security audits, implementing secure protocols, and working with your web host to ensure server-level protection.
By maintaining stringent site security measures, you can safeguard your online presence and provide a secure browsing experience for your clients.
SEO services are designed to ensure your site ranks well in search engine results. This involves optimising your site content and structure, fixing broken links, and implementing strategic keywords. Regular SEO audits are also conducted to identify areas for improvement, helping to increase visibility to potential new clients, drive traffic, and improve user experience on your site.
Fresh, relevant content is the lifeblood of any successful website. But who has the time to action content updates on a regular basis, especially when you’re busy running a business?
Enter content update services. On a monthly basis, they can assess your site, update existing content, and even create new, compelling fresh content that aligns with your brand voice and resonates with your audience.
When assessing potential website maintenance packages, it’s essential to look beyond the traditional ticket support systems. These systems can often be slow and outsourced to countries where English isn’t the first language, making detailed technical communication about web maintenance a challenge.
Dedicated Account Manager
Instead, look for a website maintenance company who assigns a dedicated account manager to support your business. This individual should be well-versed in both the technical and business aspects of your company and act as your single point of contact. They should be capable of understanding and addressing your needs promptly and accurately, ensuring that you are not just another ticket in the system.
Assess how potential partners handle ad hoc requests and small tasks. A good partner will be available during specific support hours to assist with these tasks efficiently, showing that they value your business and understand the importance of these smaller, yet critical, ad hoc tasks.
Lastly, consider whether the maintenance services provided include direct email and phone support. This provides immediate access to the team managing your servers and signifies a more hands-on approach to client support. The ability to communicate directly with the team that understands your systems is invaluable and can make all the difference in a successful partnership. Remember, a business relationship should feel like a valued partnership, not a transaction.
Website maintenance is important, but it’s very common for agencies and developers to overcharge and over service. Many offer monthly maintenance packages but we feel this is excessive unless you’re generating £250k+ from your website annually (or you have multiple websites). In most cases you don’t need a monthly plan, you’ll more than get by with a quarterly maintenance plan.
Case Studies for Previous Clients
Providers of the best website maintenance services should be able to walk you through, in detail, a client story where they were able to take on a situation similar to yours and provide a positive client experience. Even if they don’t have branded case study materials ready-to-go they should be able to talk about the support they offered in depth.
There’s nothing worse than being left days on end with a problem you can’t solve, especially one that is affecting marketing and sales activities or results. When reviewing potetntial website maintenance packages, ensure you ask about their approach to response and support time.
Understand the terms and conditions of their service agreement. It should clearly define what’s included in their website maintenance package and what’s not. You’ll also need to explore whether you’ll be tied into any long term contracts.
They should have a proactive approach to website maintenance and uptime monitoring, preventing problems before they occur.
What to Expect from Website Maintenance Plans
When things go wrong, it’ll be an emergency. Requiring people to drop what they’re doing to solve your problems is the most expensive way to manage website maintenance – and ends up costing a lot more than ongoing maintenance packages in the long term.
Website maintenance plans typically give you:
- Operational stability
- Peace of mind
- Direct access to web development experts
- Preventative hacking measures
- Cost effective problem prevention
- Prevention of vulnerabilities and security issues
- Uptime monitoring
- Plugin updates
- Regular backups
Our Website Maintenance Services
Clone Your Website to a Test Server
So that we can make changes and break things for testing purposes without worrying about taking down or negatively impacting your live site in any way.
Update Everything In One Go
In some cases you can update every single aspect of a website without much breaking. We always do this first so just in case. The alternative is that we skip this and go straight into updating and checking everything individually, which would mean a higher cost for you. Obviously it can be risk, so we only do this when the test server has been set up.
Test All Core Site Features & Pages
Everything gets checked manually, by a senior developer, we don’t just run the updates and assume everything is fine. Key marketing/sales features, such as any sign up or lead magnet forms, are tested more thoroughly.
Review all Page Templates & Hunt For Fix Bugs
Whether the server’s PHP version has been upgraded and we need to replace old code with new code, a plug-in or extension has malfunctioned or is no longer being supported or we’ve detected a new conflict between existing plug-ins/extensions and new ones added since the last web maintenance review, we’ll get the issues resolved.
Compile a (Plain English) Report
This will outline everything we’ve done, any issues we found and fixed and whether or not there are any new decisions that you need to make. For example one of your plug-ins or extensions may have been abandoned by a developer and we had to find a replacement.
Make The Changes Live
If there are no major issues, we’ll go ahead and just make all the changes live without waiting for your go-ahead. Otherwise, we’ll hold fire until all decisions have been made.
Take a Backup & Store it in Multiple Locations
Once the work is done, we’ll take a backup. We offer robust backup management as part of our website maintenance services. Every time your website undergoes a significant change, we’ll take and store a backup. If your website is ever destroyed by hackers or infected by a self-replicating virus that can’t be gotten rid of, we always have a selection of non-infected backups to choose from. Each backup is stored in three separate locations to prevent file corruption and service disruption.
It’s The Ultimate Peace of Mind
Honestly, there’s nothing worse when you’re trying to get through your day, and focus on the tasks you have to get done, only to be bombarded with constant notifications of things going wrong and that need your urgent attention.
If you want one less thing to worry about, sign up to our website maintenance plan for ultimate peace of mind. Ditch the reactive approach and stop dreading the next big website problem, work with us, a team that understands the technical bits, whilst also being able to communicate like regular human beings!
So, what do you think? Isn’t it time to stop worrying about the technicalities of maintaining your website and focus on what truly matters – growing your business? With a website maintenance package, you’re not just purchasing a service, you’re investing in peace of mind. You’re securing a partner who’s there for you, ready to handle the small tasks and the big challenges alike.
Imagine, no more sleepless nights over server crashes or security breaches. It’s a reality that’s within your reach. Remember, in the world of business, it’s not just about tackling the present, it’s about planning for the future. And this, my friend, is a step in the right direction.
Why Choose Our Website Maintenance Services
Choosing our website maintenance packages is a decision you won’t regret. With our deep-rooted expertise in WordPress sites, we are well-equipped to handle any issues that may arise, ensuring your site runs smoothly and efficiently.
Our wealth of experience spans across various industries and website types, which gives us a unique understanding of what works best and what doesn’t. We don’t just maintain your website; we enhance it, optimise it, and ensure it’s always performing at its peak.
Plus, with our dedicated team by your side, you can rest assured knowing that your site is in the hands of professionals who care about your success as much as you do.
Choose us for your website maintenance needs, because we’re not just service providers, we’re your partners in growth. Let’s have a chat.