How Much Does it Cost to Maintain a Website?

The Cost of Website Maintenance

Congratulations! You’re glad your beautiful website is built. You’re done, right? Well, not quite…. Website owners need to be aware that building their website is only the first part of the process – regular maintenance and updates are as important in keeping your site healthy and effective.

There are two main types of website maintenance:

  1. The first type is updating your website content.
  2. The second type is maintaining the integrity of the website software and programming code. These are what allow your website to display and function.

Just as with most equipment and appliances we use, and especially those that run with software, regular maintenance is required to keep websites running optimally. Software updates to plugins, extensions, and your website framework are needed to reduce bugs and hacking.

How Much Does It Cost You NOT to Maintain Your Website?

You can choose not to do either type of website maintenance, but this is not recommended in both cases because:

  1. Your Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP) can be hurt if you do not update/supplement your content on a consistent basis. Search engines will view your website content as stale, and bias towards websites with fresh, unique content, will serve them up in response to keywords searched.In addition, you need to provide users a reason, i.e., new, valuable content, to return to your website.
  2. Some individuals who opted NOT to keep current with their software updates have come to me for help after their website was no longer displaying properly or was hacked. Most often, more time was spent repairing these websites than regular maintenance would have taken. In some cases, older software updates were no longer available, and the website had to be rebuilt completely with fresh software.

Content Update Maintenance Options

This post-publication choice should be discussed before the website project commences as this can determine the best method/platform on which to build your website.

Option 1: If your website will have frequent content updates and your business has sufficient in-house staff, having a website built on a Content Management System (CMS) is the best option for businesses with non-coders. Your team will be trained on how to make at-will basic website content updates

Option 2: If content updates will be infrequent or your business does not have the bandwidth to make content updates, then outsourcing your content updates to a website firm may be your best option. UmeWorks offers this service and will make content updates to your website per your requests, and bill those at our hourly rate.

Website Software Maintenance Options

Option 1: You can opt to perform the maintenance yourself, depending on your:

  • Technical capability
  • Time available
  • Priorities
  • Budget

Option 2: You can opt to outsource maintenance to a website firm so you can concentrate your efforts on what you do best – building your business and providing service to your clients. UmeWorks offers maintenance service and will check for software update availability, make updates as needed, troubleshoot and resolve compatibility issues at least once per month. You may also opt for updates-as-released maintenance to minimize vulnerability. These services are billed at our hourly rate.

Related Services: Site Security

Recommended services are site monitoring, malware removal and hack response. There are firms that specialize in this such as Sucuri.* You can either manage your account, or hire UmeWorks to respond to alerts for our website on your behalf.

What if you opted not to use this security monitoring service, but your website gets hacked? Sucuri also offers immediate help for hacked site, with various response time price points.

*Disclosure: UmeWorks is an affiliate of Sucuri and may receive compensation for referrals to them from this website.

Eight Questions for Planning a Great Website

Whether you are hiring a website designer or using a DIY tool, it is worthwhile for you to spend some time thinking about what you want from your website. Here are eight questions to ask yourself before embarking on a new website launch. Knowing the answers to these questions are the right steps to planning a great website. It will also allow your website designer to provide you a more accurate estimate and avoid unexpected expenses for mid-stream changes and rework.

  1. Who is your audience? Think of the demographics of who you are trying to attract. Do you have more than one target audience? Is there a specific geography your business caters to?
  2. What “feel” do you want your website to engender to make site visitors want to stay on your site? Should it be professional? Humorous? Fun? Kid-friendly? Goth? Scary? Dope? You may wonder about why someone would select one of those, but, what if you are a thriller writer? Comedian? Lawyer? Pre-school? Skateboard manufacturer?
  3. What do you want your website to do for your business? Get more leads? Provide affirmation of your credibility and expertise? Showcase example of your work? Sell online?
  4. Keeping the answer to the question above in mind, what content do you want to include on your site?
  5. Then, how to you want the content organized so it logical and easy to find? That is, what will your website’s page structure be? For example, a simple website might look like this:
    • Home Page
    • About
    • Services/Products
    • Samples
    • FAQs
    • Newsletter Sign-Up form
    • Contact Us
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms and Conditions
  6. What are the most important messages a visitor should be aware of immediately? What do you want visitors to do when on your website, i.e., what is your call-to-action (CTA)? These items should be included on your website’s Home Page.
  7. Other than images and words, is there any “functionality” your website should include? Perhaps
    • Sell products online
    • Pay for services online
    • Opt-in sign up form for your newsletter
    • Buy Now
    • Register Now
    • Contact You
    • Facebook or Instagram Feed
  8. Once your website is published, how often do you expect to change your content? Do you wish to do this yourself, or hire a professional so you can concentrate on your core competencies?

Answer these questions, and you’re at a great start for a successful new website. A strong website designer will discuss your answers, probe to understand more, and make suggestions that help you build a site that helps to support your business goals.

Ready to get started? Request an estimate from UmeWorks for your new website!

We strive to deliver more than a website. Our goal is to to be a partner in your business success.

Six eTools To Increase Your Businesses Visibility

New business owners often come to me for a new website.

Now, don’t get me wrong, of course I’m happy to oblige, but I also want them to know that having a great website by itself is not enough. With over a billion websites in existence*, a business owner cannot just sit back and hope someone finds them.

The good news: there are both offline and online tools you can use to increase your company’s visibility. There are several “eTools”, i.e., online, I recommend.

Sometimes business owners think it is a choice between one or the other. For example, one South Bay real estate broker asked me, “Why do they need a website if I have a Facebook Page?”

We recommend using these six tools together to get the most of the Internet’s reach. Each serve a particular purpose, so its not a matter of which one, but how to use them together effectively. To do that, the first thing is you need to be sure understand who you are targeting and what your messages are.

#1. Have a Great Website – Your website serves as your “home base” where you can let your prospective clients know you can help them solve their problems, and call them to take the next step in engaging with your company. It needs to reflect who you are and represent your business well.

#2. SEO –  Organically Optimize your Website
Drive more traffic to your website with organic SEO, i.e., optimize your web pages with keywords that people would search for to find companies like yours, in your geography if you deal with local business. Links from other quality websites to yours are also important in search engine algorithms. Blogging is a great way to keep your SEO juice flowing with keyword reach, unique, useful and engaging posts on a regular basis.

#3 Paid Advertising – Kick it up a notch with online paid advertisements such as Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. Drive more traffic directly to your website. This will enable prospects to self-select themselves. You can determine the demographics and geo targeting of who you want your ad to be seen by.

#4 Strong Landing Pages are important follow-through for your Paid Ads. Be sure the web page your ad is linked to provides the information visitors are expecting after clicking on your ad – do not direct them to a generic page or home page where they don’t find the specific information you highlighted in the ad. There should also be a CTA (call-to-action) on the landing page, inviting the visitor to take the next step to solve their problem.

#5. Email Marketing is a great way to stay connected and drive visitors back to your website. Include an opt-in form on your website and invite visitors to add themselves to your email list. Be sure to provide a way for the user to unsubscribe whenever they wish, and let them know they can do that upfront so they won’t fear being locked in. Sent out information related to the content on the web pages and blog posts they visited.

#6. Social Media – Let’s “face” it… most of the world’s population is using at least one social media platform. Know which one your prospects live in so know which you should spend energy and resources are. But a Facebook page does not replace a website. The timeline content is transitory. Can you imagine posting information on your services to only have it disappear in a week?

Post engaging content and build your community. Answer questions. Help out. Include links back to your website to drive back to your site, e.g., blog post pages, but don’t oversell. You will lose followers if you are constantly asking them to buy something

Use these etools together to get your message out about your business and reap the benefits. Best wishes!

Want help implementing? Contact UmeWorks at 323 638-9328.

*Per Quora

Why it is Important to Keep Your WordPress Website Updated

Great News! You finally finished your new WordPress website. Take a moment to marvel at its beauty and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Now that the moment has passed, it’s time to start thinking about updating that beautiful old site. That’s right old. Welcome to the digital age where websites can be put up quickly and become outdated even quicker — both the content and software.

If you’re thinking that your website doesn’t need to be updated on a regular basis then here are a few things for you to consider.

Maintain your Security

You may be thinking that your WordPress site does not need to change its appearance but you may be forgetting an important factor. Your website may no longer be secure. Thousands of WordPress sites get blacklisted due to hackers, malware, and ransomware. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to make sure your WordPress site stays updated.

Since WordPress is open source software, it will typically receive minor updates automatically. For major updates, you will need to do the work yourself. Deciding not to do this can leave your website seriously exposed.

The other factor to consider from a security perspective is that WordPress uses a large number of third-party plug-ins. Each one of these third-party maintainers releases updates to their plug-ins. That means that you need to be mindful of more than just WordPress open source updates. The damage to your website and your credibility from a successful cyber-attack can ruin your website.

Skipping Updates can be Problematic

So now you may be thinking that you can just do the updates that concern you the most. Skipping updates here and there can’t really hurt, can it? Well, yes it can.

Skipping updates can actually cause significant problems. Open source software solutions are great in that so many talented people can contribute to its overall success. The downside to this is that there are several opportunities for problems to be introduced.

If you choose to skip updates you may spend more time resolving problems than you would have spent just doing the updates in order. Many a WordPress website has experienced unnecessary downtime because its owner was “saving time” by skipping updates here and there.

There is a Better Way

To help you keep your WordPress website up to date, here are a few simple steps that you can follow to safely upgrade your site.

  1. Create a backup site – Before you do any changes to your production site, you need to create a backup. This will allow you to restore the site quickly if anything goes wrong with the upgrade.
  2. Create a Staging site – The next step is to create a staging site. This is a copy of your WordPress website that you can safely make updates to. Updates made to your staging site will not be reflected on your live production site.
  3. Accept updates – This is where you incorporate the updates to WordPress, your theme, and the various plug-ins.
  4. Test the staging site – Now that the changes have been applied, you can safely test your site to see if there were any problems. If so, you can fix them without disrupting the live site.
  5. Move changes to the production site – Once you are happy with the testing, you can move the updated site to your production libraries.
  6. Test the live site – If it works then great. If not, then you can restore from the backup.
how to update your WordPress site

Following these simple steps will keep your WordPress website updated and running smoothly.

Make Sense, But You Already Have Enough to Do?

We know you didn’t go into business to maintain your website. The good news? UmeWorks can help. You do what you do best, and we’ll do the same. We can keep your website humming along – we’ll update the software – and the content too, if you wish. Just contact us to get started.  We can even set you up with a site security monitoring service if you’d like that peace of mind.

What Website Owners Should Do to be GDPR Compliant

Reports show that only 21% of US website owners have taken steps to comply with the GDPR regulation. Since non-compliance attracts stiff penalties, if you’re one of the businesses that are yet to comply, you should be working overtime to get in compliance.

Below is an exhaustive checklist of steps you should take to fully comply with the regulation;

  • Determine whether you need to comply

Some of the criteria that may be used by authorities to determine whether you’re within the GDPR scope include: providing content in EU languages, offering transactions in EU currencies, and using EU-based domain names such as .co.uk. If you do this, it’s important to comply.

  • Identify and clarify a lawful basis for collecting personal data

Article 6 of the GDPR states that entities must have a lawful purpose for collecting and processing personal information. Collecting or processing user data without clearly documenting lawful reasons for doing so is in breach of the regulation.

  • Update your data breach policy to reflect the new regulation

The policy should clarify two main points. First, it must state clearly the steps you’ve put in place to protect personal data. Secondly, it should detail the steps to be taken in the event of a breach. Both points must satisfy GDPR standards.

  • Collect only the data you need

To avoid complications, it’s advisable to collect only the data you need to accomplish the task at hand. If you’re collecting personal information for email newsletters, for instance, you’ll probably only need the names and email addresses of the users. Don’t collect what you don’t need.

  • Set the default opt-in selection to “No”

For forms that invite visitors to subscribe to newsletters or other forms of emails, there must be an explicit separate opt-in box. More importantly, the default opt-in setting must be set to “No” to give the user a chance to consciously choose to opt in.

  • Provide for granular opt-in

Still on forms, the age of bundled opt-ins is over. With GDPR, subjects must know exactly what they are opting into. If you will be calling them, give them the chance to opt-into your call service. If you’ll be sending text messages, the same applies. And so forth. Don’t bundle services together.

  • Ensure that all business partners are in compliance

Under the GDPR, both controllers and processors are responsible. To this end, it’s important to ensure that all business partners, including employees and suppliers, are in strict compliance. Employees and contractors must sign an NDA.

  • Provide easy, granular opt-out

A subject is allowed to withdraw consent whenever they wish. Data collectors must make the withdrawal process as simple as the opt-in process. More importantly, you should make it possible for subjects to withdraw from individual services, one at a time.

  • Understand user rights beyond opt-in and opt-out

Beyond opt-in and opt-out, subjects have a right to data portability as well as full erasure. For this reason, inbound marketers must have a separate box that users can tick if they wish to receive further emails.

  • Provide a privacy notice and terms & conditions

Finally, provide a privacy notice on your website and give users the chance to “Agree” to the terms and conditions of the business relationship they’re getting into.

Note: For those using MailChimp and WordPress, the platforms have provided a few solutions to consider. MailChimp, for instance, offers several GDPR tools to get you started. WordPress, meanwhile, has plug-ins that you can use to ensure GDPR compliance. Just keep in mind that those plug-ins aren’t one-click solutions. Even after installing them, you’ll have plenty of work to do.