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Should Website Maintenance Be Done In-House?

Working on a computer

You've got your company website and you know it needs to be updated. Some key contacts have left, some people have been hired, some products and services listed on it are now gone and you know that your website is very often the first point of contact for your new customers since people are using the Web everywhere now. So what do you do?

Should you have someone that works for you do it or should you go to a website design firm?

I'll be honest here - it might actually make more sense to do it in-house and not hire a website maintenance company to do it. I'll present some points and then you can decide.

Should You Hire a Website Maintenance Firm or Have it Done Internally?

  1. What needs to be updated? Are you looking for just some text changes or do images or the design need to be changed? If it's more than just text, then see if you have someone on staff that has these skills. If images are not created for the Web, then your website could load slowly. Not only is that a problem for people coming to your website, but it would make sense that search engines like Google are actually measuring your website's speed / load time. Why? Well, they want to give the best results to their users, right? So the best websites in the results would be the ones that both have good information, have plenty of inbound links and load quickly.
  2. Do you have the necessary software? Yes, with some websites, particularly ones with content management systems (CMS), all you really need is a web browser to update pages. In addition to that, you will need image editing software like Photoshop. It does help to have FTP software as well. If you don't have a CMS, then you'll need web editing software like DreamWeaver. Other things like network tools can sometime help as well.
  3. What else would that person be doing? Are you pulling an employee off of a job that they do very well to have them update your website, which might take them more time than a professional? If your employee takes an hour to do something on the website, then you've lost an hour of productivity from what they normally do. They might also take 2-3 times as long to do something as a seasoned website professional can do that same work. And how long does it take before they get to working on the website?
  4. What are they forgetting to do? With website design, there are a number of "gotchas" that can really come back to bite you if you're not sure what you're doing. Are they doing testing in all browsers? Are they taking backups of their work? Are they taking notes of what they do and keeping a log?
  5. Can they add the cool tools and things your business website needs? There are new technologies evolving all the time in the web world. Can they spend time keeping up with that while doing their other work? Are you willing to pay them to do that? Does that it make sense for them to spend time doing that when you can hire people that are already doing that very thing (where you can essentially get it for free)?
  6. Do they know what else to do in order to keep your website ranking high? Again, there is daily news and information out there to keep up on if you want to make sure you're keeping up with changes in the search engine world and SEO. Do they know what to do? Do they know what has changed from last month?
  7. Are they keeping up with CMS software updates and security patches? If you are using a CMS, then there are updates to software and plugins weekly. Are those patches being applied? Do they know how to fix things if there are incompatibilities or problems?
  8. Are they watching website server logs, analytics and other reports to make sure your business website is performing well? Items on websites can often break if they are not tended to. Watching logs and analytics reports is something that should regularly be done.
  9. Does the website knowledge leave when one member of your staff leaves? Are you stuck when a certain person leaves? Are they not sharing their knowledge or documenting everything? Offices with teams to handle websites will not have these problems but other companies with just 1-2 people working on the website do face this issue and often don't know about it until it's too late.

Those are just 9 things that come to mind. I didn't want to publish an overwhelming list. If you have staff in-house that can do all of these things (or even most of them) well, then great - you've got your website maintenance staff available to you already. If you think that taking someone off a lucrative task to work on the website is worth it, then that will be for you to decide. Most business owners that know how to make their business successful do see the value of hiring a team of experts at a fraction of the price of paying someone to do the same task. They see the benefits and it's an easy decision.

-Tony

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