The Curse of the Un-Updated Website
One of the great things about having a website is the opportunity to bring your message to everyone! Not just people that you meet, not just people that you call, not just people that respond to your direct mail or email or other marketing schemes, but to everyone. Your website has the ability to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of year showing your work, your services, and your products. It is literally bringing your message to the people. However, once you have a website put together… then what do you do? Every time there needs to be an update you’ve got to contact the person who put your website together. We wrote about how to Take Back Control of Your Website in an earlier article, and we got some nice feedback!
Well some of you have decided to take back your website ( thank you for the calls, there’s been a lot of improvements in the marketplace), some of you are still under the old system and that’s fine. But if you’re not taking control of your website, when was the last time you updated?
The curse settles in
One of the problems with having an HTML website is that no one is there to update your system. Maybe you have a web designer on call, and it will cost you a minimum of one hour of graphic design services (totaling thousands of dollars a year) just to get them to update your material. Or you may have a contract where they charge you whether you ask for updates or not. If it sounds crazy to pay anytime you want changes made, imagine a system where you were billed monthly for updates you didn’t ask for… A lot of businesses out there are living that life.
Whether you’re making adjustments yourself, or getting assistance from an outside source, it may have been months since the last time you updated your website. It may be a cost related item and you haven’t updated in a long, long time. Has your company moved forward since the last time you’ve updated your website? Well, without any updates to your website, you could be running into potential problems and, once this problem goes on for any amount of time, it becomes a curse. If your website has not been updated in a year, you will certainly have issues. Google sees an old, un-updated website as a stale resource… and drops it in the rankings or will not revisit the website until changes are made.
Think about it: In the last year, your company has probably brought in new products, new services, and possibly even new personnel. If you haven’t updated your website, no one will know. Have you ever had someone call into your office and ask for someone who doesn’t work there? That is a clear indicator that you have a problem. People get excited about new contacts, and when they look for a person only to find they no longer work for company, in their head they feel that perhaps the company isn’t worth working for. And if it isn’t worth working for… it might not be worth working with.
If you haven’t adjusted your website over to a WordPress website which any employee can adjust – there are other solutions available to you. Let’s examine them:
1) Contract Re-Negotiation
Reach out to your web designer and talk about a possible contract renegotiation for your website contract. Consider any of the following:
- Moving from a recurring billing system, to one in which you are only billed when updates are completed. This drops your bill, and allows you to schedule website updates at a more regular system— say once per quarter.
- A rollover bill: Every time you are billed, your contract racks up hours or minutes which can then be used only when you need it. In this case, your web design specialist keeps a monthly income, but after a year you may have enough hours left over to build a new series of landing pages for your new products!
- A system of guaranteed upgrades. Your bills should include a guaranteed wordpress update, and bi-monthly web updates with a calendar prompt from the designer.
- How about a reduced billing rate loop. Consider an adjustment where the monthly rate is reduced if there are no updates made.
- Empower the website designer to add their own updates in the form of blog or blog entries. Require the designer to give you 3 to 4 ideas for new blog entries which you could then write on for a month and have ready for the following update. Payment will be received after your updates have been made and the new ideas come through.
2) Moving to WordPress
Moving to WordPress allows your company to take back control of your website. There are many reasons why you would want to do this, but most effectively would be to give the power back to you and your team. Got a new update? Why not make it right now! Expecting a new update? Mark it on the calendar! Does your marketer have a brand new idea? Set aside some time to do some AB testing.
Word press is a great and versatile tool, allowing you to join a community of millions. Online support personnel, and millions of websites are already using the same product. It’s safe and effective, and puts the power back in your hands.
3) Hire new personnel
This may seem a little extreme, but if you’re paying thousands of dollars for a service you are not receiving, it’s probably time for you to make a change. That change may be to add a new employee into the mix. Why not have employees who knows the system and can do the work? Hiring a new employee will allow you to grow your business. It will allow you to have more time for marketing and social media, and will allow you to focus on the things that matter most, specifically: keeping your business up-to-date.
4) Request or purchase training from your web designer
If you’re set in a contract, it’s probably something where you have in force for at least one year in advance. This allows you to follow a scheme of payments. However, if you know that you have four months or more left in your contract, why not ask your current designer to train your team?
Rather than spend four months of money while getting very little in return, consider a lump sum payment to the designer! For four months worth of time, have your website designer teach your team how to update their website? If it’s a WordPress website, this kind of training can be done in a day or more likely hours. However, luckily with an HTML system, your marketing team or graphic designers will have a strong knowledge of this, and will understand fairly quickly how to do the work.
If they flatly refuse to do so… what does that tell you about the website designer?
Having the website design walk your staff through text changes and page additions. Have them prepare and distribute clear written directions your team can keep. As they walk your staff through the steps, taking notes will be extremely helpful.
Example notes should look something like this:
- Get yourself attached to your website via FTP. The instructions should include which program to use, or how to download a free FTP program like CORE FTP.
- A full note of the login credentials and password for FTP access. It must also include Server access credentials, and should have info about submitting a help ticket.
- Download the current version of the website and save a back up. Screenshots and illustrations will be necessary for this, especially if they’re using FTP software.
- Open the page in question. Make the text changes that you would like to make. Preview this in a browser to ensure that the text looks good. Save the file
- Upload to the website. Again, screenshots here will be very helpful.
- Test it in your browser in real time. They should give examples with how to find a page that they have updated, with multiple screenshots.
- What to do if you’ve made a mistake. This should outline in very clear terms (with pictures and screenshots), how to restore the website if you’ve caused a real problem. [side note: Your website designer will probably include either a note about updating in a sandbox, or changing the title of the working page after it is found to work. ]
- Finally, you’ll want to have the name, email, cell phone number, and social media profiles of the designer clearly stated at the bottom or end of the document. That way, if an error or an issue does come up which cannot be solved, your team can connect with the designer directly.
How Generate Design trains our wordpress website clients
At Generate Design, we work with many different companies switching their HTML websites over to a specialized custom WordPress theme build. First, as a WordPress web designer in Raleigh North Carolina, Generate Design works with clients big, small, and enterprise level. Our website development team begins by building your website and ensuring that the designs are excellent. Secondly, we build each page and web site properly. Finally, at the end of the project, every client team undergoes a special training with our website designers. This ensures that your team can build new pages, add new posts, and include new photos. In addition, it also allows you to update existing pages, and other tasks that your team can easily undertake. Its as easy as working with Microsoft word.
If you’re not receiving great service for the price that you’re paying, why not take back control of your website?