Picture this. You’re browsing Craigslist for whatever local deals happen to catch your eye when you see this: The 1969 Boss 429 Mustang. Original Mag 500 wheels. Raw power under the hood. A big block capable of running at 9000 RPMs and churning out 600 horsepower to take you from zero to hold on to your hats in seven seconds flat. And all for a reasonable asking price of $200,000. What gearhead could possibly pass that up?
So, you make a call and go check it out in person. And unfortunately, you arrive to find that things aren’t quite as they seemed. That candy apple red paint job is busted and corroded with rust. The interior is completely shot—did they leave it outside? And what’s that mushy sound the engine makes as it sputters to life? This is the unfortunate reality of buying classic cars that holds true for websites—without regular upkeep and maintenance, your investment is DOA.
Maintenance Under the Hood
Now, you won’t have to worry about your website getting hammered by hail stones and bird crap, but make no mistake, website maintenance is just as important as website creation, if not more so. There are several aspects to your website that will need to stay current if you want to stay profitable:
- Image and product management to keep site content, links, and backend code fresh
- Integration of new site features, including message boards, eCommerce tools, social media feeds, or blogs to expand site capabilities.
- Seasonal promotions or timely offers can be integrated into site architecture to drive conversions and revenue.
- On-page factors may need to be updated to reflect the ever-changing best practices for SEO, including building and updating XML sitemaps for Google.
If you chose your web developer wisely, they should offer these maintenance services on a contract basis. Much like your body shop, estimates are given based on a proposed scope of work and amended as needed.
You Need Service Contracts
Of course, the specifics of each service contract vary on a case by case basis, but you should be wary of web developers who don’t offer any sort of maintenance packages. Much like the shady used car dealers who disappear as soon as you hand them a check, a lack of maintenance options means that a web developer won’t stand behind his/her product.
Look at it another way—you wouldn’t dream of restoring any sort of classic muscle car without a good body shop at your back, right? The same goes for your website. Even if your native developer doesn’t offer maintenance packages, there are plenty out there who will and who will go out of their way to keep your business. Typical service models include:
- Hourly billing: For small projects, hourly billing is the way to go. Look for developers who offer a la carte services and no-nonsense billing rates for quick website fixes.
- Monthly subscriptions: If your maintenance needs are larger and more frequent, monthly subscription contracts can be a great solution. Having regularly scheduled maintenance guarantees that your site will stay fresh over time. Look for providers who offer competitive rates based on how much work is needed each month.
- Fixed price quotes: For larger projects and business websites that require quotes up-front, fixed pricing can be the best way to gather concrete project costs before work begins.
Outsourced Maintenance Services
Classic car collectors pride themselves in pouring as much blood and sweat into their projects as possible—and when the work is done, they have something to be proud of. Your website is no different, and given that your website is the crux of your digital business model, upkeep is even more important!
Whether your site only needs a few dings hammered out or requires a top-to-bottom overhaul, outsourced maintenance services are your ticket to a smooth ride. Maintenance services are the perfect way to save on the overhead costs of hiring full-time developers, and leave you free to focus on what matters most: Devoting your time and energy into the business (and hobbies!) you love.