Why provide ongoing support once your website’s launched?
Freya Swenson - Account Manager
So you’ve launched your website but now what? Congratulations! It’s shiny and new and everything you imagined it could be, and all of your clients and team love it. It’s even got that new car smell!
But like a new car, unless you keep it maintained and it will start to deteriorate - fast.
Websites require ongoing support if you want them to continue being a success. Here’s a list of some of the reasons ongoing website support is vital.
When the website’s launched, it’s up-to-date using the latest and greatest code, however technology is a fast paced environment but things quickly change and threats appear fast.
There are hackers, some good and some bad searching for weaknesses in the technology. The bad hackers, known as ‘Black Hat’ will use these weaknesses for their own gains Once a hacker has access to your website, they could do all sorts with it from stealing your sensitive data, to changing the copy to show you in a negative light, or even using your website as a platform to hack another site. here are some familiar brands that have been hacked.
The good hackers on the other hand (White Hat), will share their findings so others can fix the vulnerability they found, making the place safer for everyone.
This means that whilst a patch (fix) may be found that removes the vulnerability, if nothing is done with it, the Black Hat hackers know what the weaknesses is and will trawl the internet to find a site that’s still vulnerable using it to gain access.
This is why you should always keep your security updates up-to-date. It’s a constant job and unfortunately not something you can look at once every few months.
Checking your Analytics
Now I must admit, Google Analytics (GA) can be daunting, confusing and full of random facts and figures when you first look at it. Yet when used correctly, the vital data within it will tell you how your new website is performing.
GA and Webmaster tools can show you so much more information than simply how many people have been on the site and if they used a mobile or desktop to view it.
By analysing your data you will see where your website could be improved or your attention focused to increase conversions
For example, within Webmaster tools, you can see what keywords people use to get to your site and how they get there. If they’re using words you didn’t expect, maybe you should look at your search engine optimisation (SEO). It’s not just a case of getting anyone to your website, you want the right kind of people, the ones that interact with it and you can sell or reach out to. It’s no good being a charity when you get people wanting a plumber visiting your site!
Or maybe you have a key performance indicator that determines if your website’s been a success e.g you’ve grown the number of visitors to a particular page. If it’s not hitting this number, maybe something needs to be tweaked slightly at tested.
Ongoing small changes
It’s very rare that once a website is launched then that’s it for life, nothing ever changes on it every again. If a website does do this, then often there’s no reason for repeat visitors to ever come back to it. A website should always be kept fresh and current giving users a reason to visit it.
Below are just a handful of some of the small changes we get asked for:
Post a blog
Add a robot CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) to forms
Change contact details
Add a social media links
Remove or update someone who has access to the website CMS (content management system)
Alter the format or a list e.g listing organised by date rather than alphabetical
Ongoing big changes
So, there’s a change in the company and this needs to be reflected on the website but you don’t know how to make it work; or you missed something in your initial project requirements but it’s still needed. Fear not, things can be changed, your website isn’t and shouldn’t be static once launched.
Often,a few months down the line, you can find something that’s changed that you couldn’t have originally expected. It could be that you’ve got another office and this needs to be updated, or the website needs to be translated into another language or even an area of the business is modifying and their section needs changing completely.
Performing bigger changes to a website are natural and to be expected for any dynamic organisation and should always be expected even if you don’t think you’ll need them in the meantime.
When the website was launched, you updated and added all of the content yourself and knew exactly what you were doing, but now, a few months down the line, you’ve forgotten how to do anything apart from log into the CMS.
We often get asked by our clients for refresher training for themselves and their team, or training a new starter to their company.
The best way to see how a site is performing and being used (other than looking at Google Analytics) is to test and observe how users interact with it.
There are a variety of things you can test on a website such as checking people know where the search function is, or looking at if they know how to contact you or find specific data.
The testing itself can be performed before the new website build is started (looking at your existing website), during (to check the designs and wireframes work) and after the site has been launched (to confirm it works to your requirements).
Once the website’s been tested, if it’s findings are not as desired or expected, we then look at the data collected and make recommendations on areas to improve.
Freya Swenson is the Account Executive at Nudge Digital .She works primarily with our support clients including Danone, Hydro, Business West, Telefonica and Lloyds Pharmacy.
She enjoys crafting, traveling and running her local Brownie unit.