Website maintenance for small businesses
The phase where a website is just your business card is long gone. Your website is a business asset to achieve your business goals, and often the center of your marketing campaigns or... mareting campaigns. Small companies and organizations often struggle with website maintenance: multiple tasks that come in handy and especially inappropriate. A number of practical tips from my work experience to make it easier to maintain your website as a small business.
make someone responsible
Sounds like an open door, but I mean it this way: make someone responsible for the website, but not necessarily the work itself. It is about keeping an overview, planning and directing.
Take care of short lines
- Give visitors to your website the opportunity to email the website builder directly in case of errors on the site.
- Make clear agreements with your website builder: how do you efficiently pass on a report and how does the website builder respond? A report 'the site is not working' from someone by email who cannot be reached by telephone will save the website builder a lot of time to find out what exactly is meant. When will the report be picked up and how will you be informed?
- As a responsible person, don't get caught up in everything. If a photographer provides photos, ask to do so directly to your colleague who will post the photos. And preferably in the right format for the internet.
- Are reports required? See if you can automate it. For example, Google Analytics offers the free service to email reports as PDF every week.
Planning: continuous and ad hoc
Separate all tasks into continuous tasks and ad hoc tasks. Ad hoc can be a notification to the website builder, a new photo of the property, modified text… anything that is one-time. Continuous tasks are ongoing every week or month or quarter. The new collection. New prices. This way you keep an overview of the time that is needed at which time of the year.
Lack of time
The well-known problem with website maintenance is lack of time. There is always more work than time. The solution I propose to you: see which tasks are important for the ins and outs of the company. Make sure that the colleagues responsible also have the time for those tasks. The other tasks are stop jobs: a list of tasks to tackle when there is time for it. That is why it is important to prioritize those tasks.
That does not mean every week, but can also be every month or 2 months. Briefly discuss how the website is running. How does it work with the website builder, how does the site maintenance work, and what could be improved?
How well is your website running?
Make sure that someone regularly checks the status of your website for broken links, indexing and speed. A website can be outdated after 4 to 6 years. Consider a timely to have a new website made.
A link that does not work: annoying for the visitor and indirectly also for you. A handy free tool: www.brokenlinkcheck.com. Enter your website and you will immediately be told what needs to be fixed.
Does Google see your website completely? Google Webmaster Tools gives the best answer. Before you can use it, a verification is required, but after that it is an easy tool to see the status of your indexing (Google index), but also Crawl errors and Security vulnerabilities.
A good website works quickly. A slow website not only works slowly, but is also bad for your search engine position. Check your website speed via Google Pagespeed. The results are quite technical; if you see anything concerning, please contact your website builder.
How do you deal with all feedback about the website?
It is inevitable that you regularly see points for improvement on your website. Emails from customers, comments from your colleague or calls from management. Depending on the size of your company, that can be quite stressful.
Divide all input into notifications, content or technology. Notifications go directly to the website builder. You assess content whether it is a continuous task or ad hoc. However, be careful with taking on new continuous tasks for the website: you can only do more work if you have more time for it. Otherwise it will be less time for everything. And technology puts you on a wish list.
Website wish list for quickwins
The wish list includes all website wishes that are not a notification and that you cannot solve with content. Give each wish a number, a priority, a reporter and a short description. Discuss the wish list with stakeholders on a regular basis. In this way you determine which wishes you really want to fulfill and how you will divide your budget.
Send this wish list to the website builder as a request for quote. You want an hourly estimate or price per wish. Then discuss the offer in an additional but short consultation. This is how you get the quickwins: wishes with a high priority that cost little. And points that cost a lot but have a low priority, put you on a parking list.
You can view the parking list over longer periods, for example if you are ready for a new website. What can then be important is to be able to find the considerations for whether or not to make an improvement. Otherwise, points on a parking list will soon be discarded because you no longer have a feeling for them. On the other hand, as an organization you don't want to say yes to every suggestion. You can also direct points out the door. But whatever you do with a point for improvement, always give feedback to the reporter.
Website maintenance for a sole proprietorship
If you have a sole proprietorship, then you have little to discuss internally, but you do have enough to take the time for it. Record all points about your website at a fixed point, for example via a document on Google Docs. Make a recurring moment to check the status of your site. If you find it difficult to reserve a fixed amount of time, always go through the list to determine the top 3 priorities. Then you can more easily estimate whether or not you will have to find time for this.
Outsource website maintenance
If you are not able to maintain the website on a structural basis and it is important for your company, consider outsourcing the website maintenance. You are thus guaranteed of continuous website maintenance and you can make clear agreements about everything. Make the following considerations:
- How do you deliver text and photos? How complete can you deliver it? Can you give the website administrator access to your photo archive?
- Who chooses the photos?
- Which content needs to be updated regularly? How can you make this run as smoothly as possible?
- To what extent does the website administrator direct other parties, such as the translator or photographer?
- How do you deal with ad hoc content? Do you have regular meetings to prioritize these tasks?
- Is the website maintenance done at fixed hours in the week?
- How often do you consult in person?
Bloeise offers website maintenance writing content and optimizing for Google.