Modern companies know how important a website is for their business.
Whether your website serves as an eCommerce platform for your brand or simply displays your list of services, there’s no doubt that it’s an important aspect of your company.
You know how important it is to invest in your website’s design, development, and content, but often companies underestimate the importance of ongoing website management.
With so much effort and resources poured into the development of your website, you should consider the value of managing and maintaining your investment to produce the greatest ROI on this powerful digital asset.
However, this is not an easy task.
In fact, website management has become one of the most challenging tasks facing companies today (source: hubspot.com).
For this reason, we’ve created this guide to help your understand the role that website management plays in your overall business strategy, as well as how to get started.
What Is Website Management and Why Is It Important?
Once a website is designed, developed, and launched, the work is actually just beginning! What is your plan for the website moving forward? How will it integrate into your overall business strategy?
Website management is the practice of keeping your website up-to-date with current trends, functioning properly, and working as a tool to achieve a set of goals for your company.
Common website management tasks include, but are not limited to:
- Maintaining and updating software
- Adding, removing, or changing content
- Developing new pages
- Monitoring website security
- Taking website backups
- Troubleshooting and repairing errors
- Search engine optimization
Since websites are expensive and play an important role in your business, protecting your investment and taking full advantage of it is essential.
A website is a versatile tool that can serve many important functions, such as:
- Generating leads
- Supplying information about your products or services
- Providing support and resources for existing customers
- Attracting new employees
- And much more.
The opportunities are endless, and companies are taking advantage of it.
As more businesses invest heavily into website projects, competition increases. This accelerates design trends and makes it difficult for you to keep up with your industry. It also makes marketing more challenging since everyone is fighting to win traffic.
For these reasons, managing and marketing your website effectively is critical to the success of your company in the modern era. It should be a central part of your marketing plan (source: fool.com).
Website Management vs. Website Redesign
There can be a fine line between website management and website redesigning, so let’s define each of these terms.
Website management is ongoing development of your existing website. A website redesign is a full relaunch of your website with a new design and different features.
When your website needs a complete overhaul, a full redesign is often the best option. However, significant website improvements can still be made on the existing website with the help of a website manager.
Instead of wasting marketing dollars on expensive redesigns every 1-2 years, investing in website management can lower costs and keep your website in congruence with current trends in real time.
See the visualization below that demonstrates how great website management can prolong the effectiveness of your website.
Although you may think you’re due for a website redesign, you might be surprised with what can be done to extend the effectiveness of your existing website. Working with your current site can help reduce costs and decrease time to deployment.
The Role of a Website Manager
Now that you are more familiar with the importance of website management, let’s discuss who is responsible for these handling these tasks: the website manager.
A website manager’s role is to coordinate and execute website development, maintenance, security, and any other tasks related to a website.
This role can take many different forms depending on your company size, website functionality, and budget.
Some websites can be managed by an individual on a part-time basis, while other sites will need a full team of experts who are constantly monitoring and improving the website.
Since the role of a website manager can vary so greatly, there are several different options for hiring a website manager based on your company’s needs:
- In-house employee(s)
- Part-time freelancer
- Website management agency
Unfortunately, many companies try to merge this role with other departments such as marketing or IT. This is a weak strategy that yields poor results for several reasons.
Choosing the right type of hire for the role is crucial for your website’s success, so we recommend reading our guide for hiring a website manager.
The Benefits of Website Management
All this sounds great so far, but what are the actual benefits of website management? How will this help you and your company?
Listed below are 6 primary benefits of effective website management.
1. Free Up Department Resources
Oftentimes the responsibilities of managing the website is placed on the marketing or IT department.
Although these departments may seem like a good fit for the job, it’s actually a distraction from they primary responsibilities.
Your marketing department likely lacks the proper skills, knowledge, or resources for website management. IT teams aren’t trained to manage and maintain a website effectively.
Assigning website management roles appropriately will free up resources so marketing and IT can focus on the tasks that suit them best.
2. Improve User and Customer Experience
Whether you’re generating leads or providing resources to existing customers, proper management of your website is important in achieving your goals.
If your site is not functioning properly or has an outdated design, the effectiveness of your website decreases.
Since over 88% of purchasers and decision-makers research companies online before making a purchase, a poor user experience could seriously impact your bottom line (source: prontomarketing.com).
Effective website management keeps your website functioning properly, loading quickly, and looking beautiful. These qualities contribute to a better experience for your customers.
3. Maximize Your Marketing Efforts
It’s too often that we work with new clients that have been throwing their marketing dollars down the drain.
Perhaps they are running ads to a landing page with a broken form or even sending new leads to a hacked website! You’d be surprised how common this is.
The fact is that many businesses are neglecting their website, yet they are sending traffic to it. When your site is not properly inspected and maintained, you might send traffic to a broken page for months without realizing.
Proper website management includes inspecting, monitoring, and repairing functionality so your marketing budget is not wasted.
4. Protect Your Reputation
Every business wants a good reputation. Now more than ever, your website is one of the best ways to display that reputation to existing and potential customers.
Unfortunately, when your website is neglected, your reputation could easily be ruined.
Something as simple as a slow-loading page could send a significant percentage of your customers to a competitor.
In a worst case scenario, which is more common than you’d expect, your website could be hacked and direct your customers to explicit or scam websites.
How would that impact your reputation?
Website maintenance and security are a key component of keeping a long-term positive reputation with your customers.
5. Keep Your Data Safe
One important aspect of website management is security and data protection.
Although, website security comes in many forms, one of the first and most important actions you can take is backing up your website files and databases on a scheduled basis. Be sure to store this data on a separate server to mitigate risk.
Your website traffic should be screened through a firewall, your files should be scanned daily for malware, and other protections should be put in place to block malicious users.
Many companies underestimate the likelihood of a website attack. You’d be shocked by the number of brute force attacks that are attempted on your website each day.
You need to take action today to protect your sensitive internal data and customer information. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
6. Stay a Step Ahead of the Competition
With so much online competition, keeping up with trends is not easy. Staying ahead of your competition would be impossible long-term without proper website management.
When you first launch a new website, it feels great! You may have the best website in your industry. However, your competitors will catch onto this and may outperform your design within months.
With effective website management, you can keep your website on track (or ahead) of trends in real time without doing a major redesign every 1-2 years.
Instead of comparing yourself to other companies in your field, you should take proactive action to lead your industry with the most beautiful and responsive website.
4 Steps to Begin Your Website Management Process
Now that you understand importance and benefits of website management, let’s talk about the best way to get started.
Before jumping into it, you’ll need to think about what you’re trying to achieve and how your resources can get you there.
Below, we’ve outlined 4 essential steps to prepare your company to implement a website management plan.
Step 1: Determine your needs
Before getting started, you’ll need to make a list of needs and requirements.
Without establishing your needs, it will be difficult to make the right decision when allocating your resources.
Ask yourself these questions as a starting point for developing a list of website needs:
- How rapidly do I want to evolve my website’s design and functionality?
- How does my website integrate into my overall business and marketing strategy?
- Is my website static or does it contain a lot of “moving parts”?
- How often do I want to add content to the website?
- What are the biggest concerns and pain points that I have about my website?
- What would happen if my website crashed?
Continue to brainstorm until you have a comprehensive list of needs. You’ll use this in the next steps for resource allocation and establishing processes.
We also recommend consulting with a professional webmaster to help you uncover needs that you’re unaware of.
Step 2: Allocate and maximize resources
Now that you understand your needs and goals for the website, you’ll need to determine the best way to allocate your resources towards it. This will vary widely depending on the type of business.
It’s possible you may need a full-time group of staff dedicated to this role, or perhaps a part-time freelancer will solve your needs.
Many companies find themselves somewhere in the middle of this range.
It’s often not necessary to hire someone internally for a full-time role, meanwhile a freelancer is unable to provide the consistent work that you need.
For this reason, companies often choose a website management agency. This option provides the most expertise per dollar spent. You’ll instantly have a team of experts at your side to handle the entire process for you.
Step 3: Establish processes and procedures
Now that you’ve decided how you’re going to allocate your resources, you’ll need to establish processes and procedures for your team to follow.
If you’re hiring a website management agency, you’re in luck. They’ll take care of this for you. An agency will have processes and procedures ready to deploy for effective management of your site.
Alternatively, if you’re hiring internally or onboarding a freelancer, you’ll need to develop these yourself.
Your processes are the actions that your team will perform regularly.
- Update software weekly
- Post new articles every two weeks
- Backup your files daily
- Monitor security logs daily
- Review click-through-rates monthly
Your procedures are established, documented ways of performing your processes. These will be used by your team to ensure consistency and clarity in their tasks. They will also be used for training purposes.
Once you’ve implemented your processes and procedures, your team can get started!
Step 4: Monitor, improve, and review
Finally, you’ll want to monitor and improve your website going forward.
There are plenty of different aspects of your website that you can monitor. Choosing what to monitor will depend on your goals.
For example, if you’re trying to generate leads through your blog you’ll want to time spent on page, click-through-rate, and conversion rate.
You may find it useful to monitor aspects of your website such as:
- Website visitor growth
- Suspicious login attempts
- Website speed
- Bounce rate
- Sales (for eCommerce websites)
The opportunities for monitoring your website are endless. You’ll want to determine the most appropriate metrics to keep track of based on your website goals.
Now that you’re keeping tracking of important website metrics, you need to formulate a plan to improve your website based upon those metrics.
If any of your metrics are poor, how can they be improved to achieve your overarching business goals?
Lastly, you’ll want to review your improvements to see if they made a significant impact on your metrics.
You should monitor, improve, and review your website on an ongoing basis.
Website Management Services and Examples
Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the website management services that your company could benefit from.
These are just a few examples that you can integrate into your website strategy.
One of the most important (and often overlooked) aspects of website management is maintenance of the site.
Proper maintenance will keep your website functioning properly, patch security threats, improve loading speed, and minimize downtime.
For most websites, maintenance includes:
- Updating plugins, themes, and other software
- Replacing expired software licenses
- Cleaning databases
- Identifying and repairing errors
- Performing visual page inspections
By proactively maintaining your website, you can mitigate the risk of critical website errors and deliver a better experience to your customers.
Search Engine Optimization
Many businesses are emphasizing the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) in their website strategy, which means improving your website’s rankings in search engines such as Google.
A few examples of SEO tasks include:
- Publishing high-quality content regularly
- Adding meta titles and descriptions for your pages
- Optimizing your site for mobile devices
- Adding image alt tags for accessibility reasons
- Monitoring keyword rankings
Even if SEO is not your primary focus for lead generation, it’s important to have the basic technical aspects of SEO taken care of.
Conversion Rate Optimization
When you’re spending money on marketing, you should be seeing results.
Unfortunately, 71% of businesses see little or no results from their marketing efforts (source: prontomarketing.com).
Your website plays a critical role in the marketing process. After all, even if your social media marketing is great, you’ll still need your website to convert those visitors into customers.
That’s where conversion rate optimization (CRO) can help! CRO is the process of increasing the percentage of visitors that take a desired action on your website.
Examples of conversion rate optimization include:
- Identifying and measuring key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Split testing new call-to-actions
- Monitoring user behavior on a page
- Gaining feedback from users about their experience
CRO can have a serious impact on your marketing and help you generate a significant increase in your ROI.
Website Technical Support
An essential part of website management is technical support.
Websites can break or stop working as intended, and you’ll want to have a team ready to address these issues as soon as possible. General support is also helpful when you need to make changes to your site.
Common examples website support tasks include:
- Fixing a critical website error
- Testing compatibility between plugins
- Repairing a broken design element
- Adding a new page to your navigation menu
- Troubleshooting issues during checkout for an eCommerce store
If your website issues are not resolved quickly, it could impact your business both internally (your employees) and externally (your customers).
Affordable Website Management for You
Website management is a complex challenge for many companies.
Due to the high cost of hiring in-house employees for this role, websites are often pushed to the back burner or added to the responsibilities of another department.
That’s why many businesses are choosing third-party companies to tackle this issue.
A website management company will have the resources you need for a fraction of the cost.
Services can begin immediately without the time-consuming process of hiring, training, and employee management.
At Buckley Web Services, our fully U.S.-based team offers website management for small and mid-size businesses as our primary service.
For years, we’ve helped companies increase their website effectiveness, reduce costs, and proactively minimize downtime with our affordable website management packages.