When website development agencies first emerged in the 1990s, one thing that they were criticised for was their lack of post-launch service capability. The big demand was for the production of websites so much less thought was given to the ongoing maintenance of these websites once launched. This initially gave the sector a bad reputation when it came to customer service.
Naturally, client demand ensured that this was a relatively temporary situation and most serious agencies developed support desks to handle both website support and also technical maintenance of the websites they were building.
However, to this day, not every agency offers post-launch services. Some agencies outsource this part of the service while others leave it to the client to make their own arrangements. Sometimes this works out fine however it can cause a variety of issues that all fall on you, the client.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find an agency to take on just website maintenance.
Even if you do succeed in finding an agency to take on the maintenance it can often cost a lot more because the second agency is dealing with a codebase that they may not be entirely familiar with. So a support ticket that might have taken one hour with the original development team might take twice as long with the second development team.
The strategic understanding of the goals of the initial project can often be lost when you move to a second agency as you are now dealing with a whole new set of individuals.
So, in our experience, we believe that it is hugely advantageous to find a single agency that can both build the website and also subsequently maintain the website on an ongoing basis.
Website maintenance checklist
Another issue here is that businesses often underestimate the various different tasks that fall under website maintenance:
Availability monitoring and uptime reporting
Software updates (although many modern Content Management Systems now offer this on an automated based as part of their license fee)
Monitoring of advanced functionality including third-party integrations
Page speed tests
Broken link checkers
SSL certificate maintenance
Monitoring of cookie compliance
Given how critical your website is as a marketing asset for your business, it must be technically as sound as possible at all times.
It's also worth considering carefully what type of support contract you need to maintain your website. You may be fine with a modest support package if your website is static. However, if your website is much more dynamic and constantly changing, you may need a more comprehensive support package.
Support contracts can vary based on the following elements:
Level of access You may require phone and email support or are maybe just happy with the email-only support.
Speed of response You may be happy with a 48-72-hour turnaround time but some businesses may need much quicker response times for example e-commerce stores.
Frequency of monitoring The above diagnostics listed could be run on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis depending on your specific requirements.
Number of support hours included Businesses that have needs every single month may wish to add a set number of hours each month that is included in the package. The advantage of this can be that these hours are offered at a slightly discounted rate because they're part of a retainer package.
As the centre point of all your marketing efforts, a website is an essential part of your business. Having a maintenance package will guarantee that your website is working around the clock and available at all times for your clients, and optimised for key search engines so that your website pages are more visible.
As previously stated, hiring one agency that can build a website and maintain it post-launch is the key to helping your website succeed. And remember: outsourcing the work may prove problematic over the long term, leading to additional costs and delays. Also, building new relationships from scratch could result in communication difficulties.
Rest assured, however, as a good agency with a highly qualified team of professionals we will work with you every step of the way. And if your website is in safe hands, it allows you to focus on doing what you do best and commit 100% of your time to make your business a success.