Small Business Website Management Plans
If you own a local business and want to use the internet to get new clients and customers, then having a website is a MUST. A website gives your business the best chance to compete locally and get found by people searching for your services. When discussing web design and remodels with local business owners, one concern and question that we hear often is, “do I need someone to manage my website for me?”
Do I Need Someone to Manage My Website for Me?
The answer to this question can vary depending on who built your website, how it was built, and how hands-on you like to be. The good news is that website building and development has come a long way in just the last few years and it’s never been easier to edit your own website.
The Old Days of Website Management
In the early days of website building, if you had a website for your local business then it was likely built using basic HTML files. This approach was fine except it meant that any website edits that were needed required knowing how to code HTML. This made it difficult for most business owners to update their own websites.
The process included knowing how to access the server where the website was hosted, downloading the current website files to your computer and editing the files. When you were done, you’d have to upload the updated files back to the server, replacing the current website files. If you didn’t like how it looked or noticed a typo then you’d have to repeat the process.
As you can imagine, that entire process required a decent amount of knowledge and time to make even the most basic edits to your site. So when someone asked “do I need someone to manage my website”, the answer was almost always “YES”.
The good news is that those days of website management are behind us. If your website is still managed like this then it’s likely time to upgrade anyway.
Editing Websites with Content Management Systems
Local business websites have evolved quickly since the “old days” and most sites are now built using a content management systems (CMS), like WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, or something similar. This is great news for business owners because a CMS makes it much easier for business owners or employees to learn how to make basic edits to their company’s website.
Text and Formatting Edits – Nearly every CMS now comes with a basic text editor (think Microsoft Word in your website). Like sending an email, you can easily login to your site online (no need to download files to your computer any more), find the page that you want to update, and quickly make your text or formatting edits as if you were editing an email or Word/text document. When you’re done, click the “update” button and the site is updated! Pretty simple process for most business owners to follow.
Design and Style Edits – Design and style edits still require some more advanced knowledge of the CMS and maybe some graphic design tools and skills. Some edits even require basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, or PHP, but business owners that like to DIY (do it yourself) and have the time to dedicate to learning it can spend some time on Google and YouTube and try to learn how to make basic edits themselves.
Knowing how easy it is to make edits to text and formatting, is it worth it to pay someone monthly or every time you need an edit?
Small Business Website Management Plans: Are They Worth It?
While it’s never been easier to make basic text and format edits to your website with a CMS like WordPress, there is a lot more to website management than just making simple text and formatting edits. A lot of business owners don’t think about the many other things that come along with managing a website. We cover some of those area below:
Hosting Management and Server Monitoring
Nothing quite like finding out that your website has crashed.
Do you look at your website every day? Most business owners don’t so it’s unnerving when you notice that your website is down. If you’re not familiar with error codes or hosting management then you will immediately start to wonder what went wrong. Is it something you did (or didn’t do)? Is it fixable? Did you forget to renew your domain or hosting subscription? How long has the website been down? Have customers noticed that your site is down? Have you lost any potential customers because of this?
These are all valid questions and ones that will cross your mind when you find your website isn’t up anymore. Now you have to figure out how to fix it.
One of the most important parts of small business website management is monitoring your server for potential crashes and then knowing where and how to fix it.
Someone who maintains a website will monitor your server and manage your hosting so they can quickly assess the problem and get your website back up as soon as possible. Most businesses overlook this aspect of website management, but the first time your site crashes and you have to spend an hour or more trying to get it back up, you’ll quickly realize the benefits of having someone manage your site for you.
Spending hours trying to get your website back up is hours that you won’t be able to spend actually working on your business and serving your customers. We’ve met many business owners that push off getting their website back up and running until later so they can continue running their business. In these cases the site can end up being down for weeks and months at a time, which creates many other issues. Don’t be this business owner.
Website Backups and Storage
Your website crashed, for whatever reason, and now you can’t get it back up. Do you have a recent copy of your website stored somewhere? What happens if your hosting provider gets hacked and your website gets compromised or deleted?
These are just a couple scenarios where having a recent backup of your website that is stored somewhere other than your server can save you if something unexpected happens. Any good website maintenance plan should include routine website backups and off-site storage.
Content management systems are software and software needs to be updated. In addition to updating the CMS, there are other softwares built on top of your CMS that also need to be updated routinely. Themes and plugins are two examples that control important parts of the design and functionality of your website.
Outdated software on your website can create a serious security risk for your website. It can also reduce the speed and efficiency of your site, resulting in a poor user experience for potential customers.
Any small business website management package you purchase should include these routine updates.
Updating these softwares can be as simple as clicking a button and waiting for it to update. However, occasionally software updates can crash you site. This is an example of when you will need a recent backup of your website handy and know how to use it to restore your website.
Web Security and Malware Protection
Another important part of small business website management is security. Hackers are always looking for ways to get into websites. Your first line of defense is keeping softwares updated. Outdated software have holes that allow hackers and malware to get thru. Having a great hosting provider is also a must have for security.
In addition to using a great hosting provider, and updating your website regularly, you’ll also want your website management team to actively secure your website and monitor for security issues. This will allow them to identify issues quickly and address it promptly.
Ever been on a website and see text for something like Viagra, Cialis, live nudes, or something along those lines? This is not a great look for your business and it puts your customers and users at risk. Unfortunately, this is usually malware that’s found its way through a hole in your CMS. 99% of the time this can be avoided with an active website management package that keeps your website updated and scans regularly for malware and other threats.
The Bottomline on Website Maintenance Plans
Still wondering “do I need someone to manage my website”? If you’re not setup and prepared to do most of the items mentioned above then hiring a team to manage your website could be a great option for your business. For a small investment, as low as $59 per month, a website maintenance plan can protect your business and keep your website optimized to run securely and efficiently for years to come.
Like a maintenance package on your car, a maintenance plan will increase the health and longevity of your website. It will also make your life easier by freeing you up to focus on your business and customers, instead of trying to figure out how to be a website expert.
If you are just starting your business and on a tight budget, or if you’re a DIYer, then you should know that it’s never been easier to manage a website yourself. There are great tools and tutorials available to help you fix just about any problem you’ll run into. However, we do recommend being prepared ahead of time for when things hit the fan and you need to get your website back up and running for when it crashes or runs into a security issue.
Not sure where to start with website management for small business? Enter your information below to get a FREE website analysis and discuss our 100% done-for-you WebCarePlan packages by Conversion Strategies.