So you’ve launched your website but now what? Congratulations! It’s shiny and new and everything you imagined it could be. All of your clients love it and it’s even got that new car smell!
But like a new car, it requires regular maintenance or it will start to deteriorate – fast.
Websites require ongoing support if you want them to continue being a success. Our web experts have put together 6 reasons why ongoing website support is vital.
1. Security updates
Your website is live and is up to date with the latest and greatest code, however, technology is a fast-paced environment, security requirements evolve and the threat landscape can change very quickly.
Hackers are waiting in the shadows, some good and some bad searching for weaknesses in your technology. The bad hackers, known as ‘Black Hat’ will use these weaknesses for their own gains. Once a hacker has access to your website, they could do all sorts with it from stealing your sensitive data, to changing the copy to show you in a negative light, or even using your website as a platform to hack into another site.
This is where security updates come in. Ensuring your website is up to date with the latest security patches will remove any vulnerabilities from your website and stop the black hat hackers exploiting these weaknesses.
Keeping your website security patches up-to-date is a constant job and unfortunately not something you can look at once every few months.
2. Check your Analytics
Now I must admit, Google Analytics (GA) can be daunting, confusing and full of random facts and figures when you first look at it. Yet when used correctly, the vital data within it will tell you how your new website is performing.
GA and Search Console can show you so much more information than simply how many people have visited your site or whether they used a mobile or desktop to view it.
By analysing your data you will see where your website could be improved or where your attention should be focused to increase conversions.
For example, within Search Console, you can see what keywords people use to find your website and how they got there. If they’re using words you didn’t expect, maybe you should look at your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and on-page SEO to target these keywords. It’s not just a case of getting anyone to your website, you want the right kind of people – the ones that interact with it and you can sell or reach out to. It’s no good being a charity when you get people visiting your site looking for a plumber!
Or maybe you have a key performance indicator that determines if your website’s been a success i.e. you want to grow the number of visitors by x% to a particular landing page. If it’s not hitting the mark, then take a closer look at improving the user experience of your landing page. Also, look at the user journey, what pages are performing well and why? Do these pages link to your landing page?
3. Ongoing minor website updates
It’s very rare that once a website is launched then that’s it for life and that nothing ever changes on it ever again. If a website does do this, then often there’s no reason for repeat visitors to ever come back to it. A website should always be kept fresh, with new developments, fresh content and new designs to give visitors a reason to return.
Below are just a handful of some of the small changes we often get asked for:
- New blog content
- Image updates
- Add a robot CAPTCHA (completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart) to forms
- Change/ update contact details
- Add social media links
- Remove or update someone who has access to the website CMS (content management system)
- Alter the format or a list e.g listing organised by date rather than alphabetical
4. Ongoing big changes
So, there’s a change in the company and this needs to be reflected on the website but you don’t know how to make it work; or you missed something in your initial project requirements but it’s still needed. Fear not, things can be changed, your website isn’t and shouldn’t be static once launched.
Businesses are constantly evolving and your website needs to reflect this. You may find a few months down the line that you’ve moved to a new office and this needs to be updated, or the website needs to be translated into another language or maybe an area of your business is changing and their section needs completely re-writing.
Performing bigger changes to a website are natural and to be expected for any dynamic organisation. Even if you don’t think you’ll need them at the time of build, factor them into your budget just in case.
When the website was launched, you updated and added all of the content yourself and knew exactly what you were doing, but now, a few months down the line, you’ve forgotten how to do anything apart from login to the CMS.
It is always good practice to have more than one person in your organisation fully trained on your website. We often get asked by our clients for refresher training for themselves and their wider team or training for a new starter to their company.
6. User testing
The best way to see how a site is performing and being used (other than looking at Google Analytics) is to test and observe how users interact with it. After all, they are the reason you created your website in the first place and you want it to be as easily accessible and user-friendly as you can make it.
There are a variety of things you can test on a website such as checking people know where the search function is, or making sure they know how to contact you or find a specific piece of information.
The testing itself can be performed before the new website build is started (looking at your existing website), during (to check the designs and wireframes work) and after the site has launched (to confirm it works to your requirements).
Once the website’s been tested and the data has been analysed, we can help you identify any gaps in your website functionality and make recommendations on areas to improve.
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