When a business has a new website built it can be exciting
You are literally putting your values, thoughts and ideas on the interweb for all the see, usually with the skills of specialist designers who translate your ideas into web real estate.
But what do you do with your shiny new website once the designers have handed it over? It still has to meet Google's user experience guidelines long after design phase and be indexed by Google so your business can track on Page Rank.
That's where many web designers leave businesses cold.
Web hierarchyAll websites when they were born had web designers. Some even have web managers that stayed on after the build to look after hosting, security and updates as required by the website, depending on the SLA between the business and the web company.
Today, websites are no longer set and forget. Website content and functionality changes more and more as users' needs demand and Google algorithms change - case in point was 2017's SSL Certification requirements. And it's very much about HOW you drive traffic from other marketing channels back to your website.
The point is, once you take ownership of a website, the modifications to it and subsequent costs for ongoing maintenance (on top of annual hosting) will continue as the website needs to remain relevant. More and more businesses are trying to find ways for users to engage with their website for longer, and Google keenly measures this as one of numerous metrics in Google Analytics.
Typical website functionality updates can be adding payment gateways, secure client portals, creating an opt-in form or subscribe to newsletter or a whole host of other functions for e-commerce websites. It just depends on what clients need to be able to do whilst on someone’s website and the reason why a website would be updated with new functions is to optimise the fact that it has been around a while (longevity is great for Google indexing) and, for WordPress websites, it’s even easier to add new functions with plugins and add-ons as opposed to building a form or portal from scratch with hard coding.
So don't be shy of budgeting a few extra bucks each year to keep your website health in tip-top condition with theme / plugin / add-on updates, new features to engage people or just tweaking your SEO on a regular basis. Your website, its users AND YOUR BUSINESS will benefit all the more.
However, if you haven't heard from your web manager in some time, now might be a good time to follow them up before the day comes when you try to log into the backend and you find your security settings out of date or, worse, the site has been hacked (don't laugh - this happened to a business we know a few years ago but it did have a happy ending, eventually).
Normally a half decent web manager will get in touch with your business to advise if an update of any type is due, but it pays to check to be on the safe side.
Marketers often come into the picture to provide content creation and publishing, but we do also gain some idea as to the state of a website once we're trying to blog, edit landing page content or optimise metadata. That's pretty much the basic remit for most marketers such that our access allows.
Wendy Gleeson Fellow AMI is Alliotts' Certified Practising Marketer (CPM) and is passionate about creating a well-designed marketing presence that generates results and ROI.