Yes, we all know a guy, or a kid or a neighbor who “does” websites and can help us for $12/hour and a case of beer. But is that who you want maintaining your site? You are building a business, a division, launching a product, a book and event - don’t trust the results of your efforts to someone who only has evenings and weekends available to you to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. Your website is more than your online brochure, it’s your first impression, the gateway to your sales funnel, and ultimately your revenue.
Recently I took a website over from someone who had very little time to keep things current, make simple updates and never considered teaching the client how to do simple text and content updates. This is typical of “the guy”. Typical of “the lady, the gal, the girl” who is MIA is that they just disappeared, stopped working on sites, took a job, etc. “The guy” is usually a control freak who is so afraid of the impact of imparting knowledge on the client because it will cost him money. This is my favorite type of new client because one of the tasks I love more than anything is TEACHING clients how to be in control, or at least understand their websites, online marketing, profiles and how they all play together to help generate REVENUE! I love smart clients and clients who want to learn how to do things. BUT, I also think that knowledge and energy needs to be weighed against the tasks that need to be done by the client in order to continue generating revenue. Sure, DIY your website and you save that monthly maintenance fee, the periodical overhauls, the check ups, the time to test forms, links, security, SEO. Are you starting to see the issue? YOU are GREAT at meeting your customers, opening doors, developing your product, marketing, so why would you want to add website maintenance to the day? Many of my real estate clients completely accept this. Their business ebbs and flows, so we adjust our budget accordingly. They have me do the basics no matter what to keep their site and marketing efforts worry free. AND during fat months, we add bonus items - preparing drip campaigns, cleaning up social profiles, enhancing the website with new features and more.
I had a frank talk with one that was stressing about having to do it all. I asked, “How about you focus on your job, getting listings, closing deals and make enough that you don’t have to do the online maintenance or skip it because you are being cheap?” They appreciated the frank talk, and question. They laughed and agreed. One deal pays for my services for a year, easily. Money well spent at that point.
Here’s another situation, I made the mistake of assuming a small business understood that a website requirement maintenance. I made the assumption because we ended up in a client/vendor relationship because he had a site, HAD one that lapsed and then disappeared because he hadn’t continued to pay for hosting. It was a do-over. When we rebuilt it through the Wayback Machine version of his site to get the basic content back, we talked about why it happened, and how to prevent it. I thought it was understood that after I was done, SOMEONE still needed to update the site, make sure the theme, plugins, hosting, security, links, feeds were all current. We TALKED about it, I did not have it in writing. When things needed to be updated and I asked if I could do it and told him what it would cost he was furious. We have mended, and he understands now that it will cost money. He hasn’t wanted to pay to do this regularly so now it’s been 7 months on two sites since the admin has had any maintenance. This kills me, but I can’t give it all away just because I care and it bugs me. I’m a professional, so is he. So here’s the takeaway:
First time entrepreneurs - good for you for choosing to pay a pro create your site. That is EXCITING, but, it’s way beyond building the site. You’ve paid the pro, you’ve launched - now what? The part that’s on you is maintaining the website or hiring someone to check in and maintain it monthly, or at minimum quarterly - it’s more than clicking “update” of the plugins. Just because you paid to have your site created, doesn’t mean it’s on that original vendor to maintain it forever as part of that agreement. Things change with online security regularly. Browsers update, plugins update.
Even a very small maintenance agreement will keep your site updated regularly and made less vulnerable with this tune-ups. Spend a small amount each month to check you are not blacklisted, that your theme, plugins, links are current and that your site is being submitted properly to Google Analytics.
Your site is not a one time deal. It’s a living, breathing marketing tool. Get a pro to help you keep it current and keep it useful. It’s super embarrassing to launch a marketing campaign and they go to a link on your site that returns a 404 error, or your site gives the white screen of “scary” because you are not HTTPS:// compliant.
You get one shot when you reach out to people through a campaign, through a business card when you meet them in person, through your profiles on LinkedIn, Google My Business and more. You don’t want them doubting your capability because you didn’t want to spend between $45 and $100 a month to keep it all working smoothly. Do what you do best. Interview and hire a pro to do the parts they do best. Ask your peers:
- Who do you use for website maintenance, not content?
- How much do they charge?
- How often do they work on your site?
- What’s the turnaround time for update requests?
- Has your site ever been hacked?
- Would you recommend them to me?
- What do you like BEST about this company/service provider?
And visit their site to see if it’s fast loading, if it’s logical, easy to navigate. Get more tips and free guides at: https://susanfinch.com/rootedtips