In Tips For Small Businesses, Web

EPISODE 2:  MAINTENANCE

Maintenance of your website after it’s been built is one of the biggest overlooked items for just about everyone who has built a web presence. Whether you’ve had someone build your site or you did it yourself, do you know what is being done to your website after it was launched? For most people, nothing. Some spend time on SEO and write blog posts (good for you!), others use it as a contact form and business listing, not fully utilizing what the web can do for them.

Very few people realize that if they leave their site alone, (often for months or even years) things may start to break. Just as anything in this world (like your home, car, or even yourself), there needs to be some attention paid and modifications made along the way. When things that needed attention are overlooked they begin to crumble, decline and possibly fail to do what they were originally intended to do. When this happens, one is often perplexed and they call their web developer asking, what has happened to their site that used to run so perfectly?! Or worse, they don’t even notice and are unknowingly losing business as potential clients leave the website out of frustration from it not working correctly.

WHAT IS MAINTENANCE?

We have all heard of “retainer” especially as it applies to our lawyers. It usually works like this, you can call your attorney and they dedicate to you a certain amount of work or time for a pre-set monthly fee. They answers your calls and work quickly for you to get what you need, sometime placing other projects and clients behind your requests. A maintenance contract is somewhat similar and has different levels of support for varying pre-paid amounts.

WHY DO I NEED THIS?

For example, a common way to build websites is through WordPress. In WordPress, a theme is developed based on the initial request, or there is a pre-existing theme that may have been purchased by a previous developer. The Developer then makes modifications to the framework, adds functions, certificates, forms, and usually plugins that help run services that the client wants or needs on their site. The Developer writes code, modifies or customizes the database, and creates the design (amongst other things). Your website is finished and then launched.

WordPress releases major updates every 3-4 months with security and minor bug fixes, though security updates may happen weekly. These updates may break or render inoperative features that were working before the update. Plugins that are used on your site also need to be regularly updated for the same reason. As with WP and other updates, changes may be needed to ensure that what was working will continue to work with the new changes.

Unfortunately, all websites are vulnerable to hacking and attacks. There are a lot of ways a website can be hacked and used for the benefit of the “bad guy”. Sometimes one doesn’t even know what’s happened, but all of a sudden the web pages are loading slow and things just aren’t quite right or worse, the site isn’t loading at all. The developer has the tools and knowledge to monitor these things so you don’t have to think twice about it, as you do more important things, like manage your business.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN OUR MAINTENANCE PACKAGES?

The first level of support and really the most important and recommended to all of our clients and to your website is our BASIC PACKAGE. In summary, it means that your site will be monitored so that you don’t have to. If your site is breached in some way or if it breaks we will work to fix it.
It includes:

  • Site Security Monitoring
  • Load & Access monitoring
  • Error reporting monitoring
  • CMS security updates and modifications to ensure site compatibility
  • Theme Version Updates and modifications to ensure site compatibility and security
  • Plugin Updates and modifications to ensure site compatibility and security
  • Outage handling and regression
  • Weekly offsite database backup for regression purposes
  • Server based code modifications including:
    • Configurations required on the hosting server to ensure the correct functioning of any currently available aspect of the site
    • Firewall configurations for third party access
    • User creation and access configuration for CMS
  • Maintenance notices to be issued for the following:
    • Any modifications made to the live site for purposes of maintenance
    • The scheduling of any modifications made to the live site that result in outage, site accessibility, or feature accessibility.
    • Status reporting on any site outage or critical issue
    • Logging – all modification to the site will be logged in an accessible manner to the Client for historical and reporting purposes.

We all take care of so many things that are important to us. We hope you see how important taking care of your website really is. The reason you made the website was to assist in bringing you clients and new business. If your site doesn’t work correctly – it can’t do it’s job. Let us handle your website’s health and security so you can do your job, which is to handle your business and customers – not deal with your website

Website Tips for Small Businesses is a series designed to help small businesses save money and take the mystique out of building a website. Many small businesses miss the low hanging fruit and either end up spending too much money, time, effort, or frustration for a bad solution that does very little to help their business.

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Tips for small businesses Ep. 1: Content, blog post from Stäfe Design & DevelopmentIs it time to update your website? Ep:3 Tips for Small Businesses, Stäfe Design & Development