Company Web Series #6 – The Ongoing Support Your Website Needs
By Rock Paper Simple // April 12, 2012
Your website can only function as good as the ongoing support you put into place for it. If your hosting can’t support your CMS choice, your website will have difficulty even launching… if your plan for updating your content is not solid your website will go stagnant quickly. A company website is a very powerful tool, but requires some careful planning. These articles should help prepare you, however it is always best to consult your web developer or agency and continue to learn from their expertise through-out development.
Before we talk about any other support services, let’s be sure you have your domain name. This is your company address on the web. It is what points your visitors to your website. The domain name you choose is critical and should be as short as possible while still communicating your company brand and what you do (ie: yourcompany.com). Always go for a “.com” if you can as most visitors expect a “.com”. You can search for and purchase your domain at any trusted provider such as Network Solutions, Enom or GoDaddy. Remember that not only will your domain be the address visitors type in to get to your website, but it will also be the extension on your professional email (ie: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Expect to pay a yearly fee for your domain name ranging from $8.00 per year to $35 per year depending on your company choice, current specials and the number of years you pre-purchase.
Your web hosting choice is critical. This is where all your website files will reside and where your domain name will point. Your web host is the computer server that runs your website, so you can imagine what happens when this server is cheap or lacks the proper software. Many low-end servers are outdated or overloaded since the provider makes up for the cheaper prices by putting more websites on each individual server machine.
Choosing cheap hosting can result in a slow website and/or email services, periodic downtime for both the website and email and in some cases it may not support modern website development or content management systems at all if it lacks up to date software. Another item many companies fall into when setting up their first website, is they get what they think is a deal on web hosting, but then end up having to pay a fortune for add-ons they thought were included. This is common with email. Always make sure your host plan includes email addresses.
Find a good web host who will provide quality, fast hosting with up to date servers and most importantly, good customer service. Expect to pay at least $10-20 per month for decent hosting and at least $20 if you expect good customer service along with it. Again, keep an eye out for companies that have a low initial fee, but will charge large fees for “additional” items like email.
Maintenance – Updating Plan
Your maintenance plan or your content updating plan is critical. In some cases this plan is to use a content management system and update the content yourself, in other cases you will plan on having your web developer or agency maintain and update the site for you. This will really depend on the time and energy you or your team has to dedicate to this process. In many cases it is more time and money efficient to hire someone to do this for you.
If you do opt to have your web developer or agency run maintenance for you, be sure to ask what they include. Typical maintenance packages include content-only updates such as page text and images, editing or posting new blog posts, replacing banner images, updating or adding new videos or media. You are able to email, fax or mail updates to the webmaster who in turn updates the site for you. What is typically not included in these packages are structural changes to the site design and layout simply because these changes are much more extensive. If you do get a monthly maintenance package you will be able to avoid the hourly charges when hiring someone piecemeal.
Be clear on what you are getting with your maintenance plan if you do go the route of hiring.
And of course, the all important marketing aspect of your website. Building a solid company website is a long term marketing investment and will only do you good if you have traffic visiting it. Be sure to plan how you intend driving traffic to your new creation because no matter how amazing your website and content… if no one ever visits it, it will do you no good.
There are many many options for internet marketing, too many to go into in this limited support article, however items to consider are:
- Pay Per Click advertising with Facebook and Google. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
- Search Engine Optimization to build your rank up organically in major search engines such as Google or Bing.
- Social Media Campaign to drive engagement and followers who you in turn drive to your website.
- Email Newsletter Campaign to build a list of interested followers who will visit your website indirectly through your newsletter
- Content Marketing which uses large amounts of content posted across the web to drive traffic back to your website.
This article concludes our six-part web series.
This has been a Rock Paper Simple Informational Series. Visit our website to see what we can do for you.
Written by Joshua Adams at Rock Paper Simple
Joshua lives and breathes web development and internet marketing and is passionate about not only providing quality service, but also educating fellow business owners about internet marketing and web presence.