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

How Do I Get My Website on the First Page of Google?

“How do I SEO my website?” is a question I hear a lot.

First, what is SEO? Search engine optimization is defined by Google as, “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.”

Further, Google states, “the key to getting more traffic lies in integrating content with search engine optimization and social media marketing.”

While Google Search Engine does not share its algorithm, but there are many things you or your webmaster can do to help your website’s Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP). Google is basically try to serve up websites that are relevant and useful in response to the user’s search query.  So the methods we recommend you do are in response to Google’s objective so you can swoop in and save the day for your website’s SERP.

the 3 SEO super powers

Meet the  Super Hero of On-Page Organic SEO

Do you wonder what you can do to help your website get found on the Internet without paying thousands of dollars for paid ad campaigns? Super Hero Organic SEO is here to save the day. She has magic powers to share to help your website achieve higher rankings.

SEO Super Power 1: Unique, Compelling Content

Write unique compelling content about your products or services and what makes your business special. Or actually better put is, describe the problem your potential client has, and how your offering can help them solve it.  Do NOT copy someone else’s words – Google will see that this is lifted and not value this page. Your site’s SERP may be penalized with too many pages detected with unoriginal content. To get the most from this Super Power:

Keep It Fresh: Add new content consistently; fresh content is better ranked than old, stale content

For example, if you have two websites that are identical or similar, continually add some more content on their site on a consistent regular basis that is custom, unique content, not copied from someone else. Don’t leave it the way it was published from day one; the updated site will continue to rise in at search engine ranking, while the stagnant site’s SERP will decrease.

This is why many website include blogs which makes it easy to continually add new content that is keyword rich. You may consider enhancing your blogs with images videos or audios. This increases the likelihood that humans will read it too.

Learn more about using your website content for Inbound Marketing to attract new clients.

SEO Super Power 2: Keyword Phrases

Use keyword phrases relevant to the web page you are optimizing, remembering to select from your potential customer’s perspective and how they would search to find a business, product or service like yours, such as” website designers near me.” Remember that many searches are now done with voice versus typing. Place keyword phrases in the page where ever sensible, such as in the following:

  • Heading tags – these are section titles and considered more important than paragraph text, so including keywords are helpful here.
  • Front load – first sentence in first paragraph
  • Image filenames – instead of using image1.jpg, you can use a name that is relevant to image using keywords, whenever appropriate, e.g., dog-flea-spray.jpg;
  • Image Alt tags – use brief description of image, using keywords whenever appropriate
  • Meta title – which is 120 characters or less that describes what that page is about, again using keywords and Geo tags.
  • Meta Description – up to 320 characters that shows up in Google searches as a paragraph snippet below the title. It should also contain keywords but be enticing so that a reader or user is encouraged to actually click through to your website.
    Meta title, title and description should be unique so don’t use the same one for every page; they should be specific to what the content is on that particular page. If you don’t update your own website, check with your webmaster to be sure this is being done.

Optimize each web page for its specific, pertinent keyword phrases. Don’t try to optimize the entire website on each page.

choose and optimize each web page with relevant keyword phrases for SEO

For example, you are selling marbles, it’s fine to have your home page optimized for keyword phrases about assorted marbles. But if someone is specifically looking for RED MARBLES, have a web page optimized for “red marbles” so this web page is served up by search engine results. The white marbles represent other words on the page that support the keyword phrases. Perhaps, how red marbles are used or are the favorite of top marble shooters.

A more realistic example could a pet store. The owner may choose to have a particular web page in their website optimized for “dog flea control products.”  The keyword phrase for this specific page should be about your “dog flea control products”, not about “pet store”.  This web page can help their pet store attract itchy dog owners in the summer months.

WARNING: Stay away from the Dark Side, i.e., the old world practice in a galaxy long, long ago of keyword stuffing; that is putting keywords in just to put them there, as bullets or try to hide with colors that match your page background. Search engines are onto this and your page ranking may actually be punished for this. Using our metaphor above, the right glass does not have ONLY red marbles in it, i.e., does not just repeat the keyword phrases over and over, “dog flea control products dog flea control products dog flea control products dog flea control products.”

SEO Super Power 3: Incoming Links

You can also improve your website’s SEO by taking action outside of your own website. Claim your listings and add website’s URL address on business citations or online business listings such as manta.com Merchant Circle, Yellow Pages.com etc. Learn more about incoming links in our articles: why you should care about backlinks and what to know about backlinks.

Another way to increase incoming links is to build relationships with influencers and/or bloggers in your industry and niche. If you have a relationship with reputable, high-authority site owners, perhaps they would do an article about you and your company’s products and link to your site and create an inline context link. You could offer a free sample for them to try and review.

Another Dark Side WARNING: Do not confuse this with paid farm links sites which can damage your  website’s reputation.

So use these three SEO Super Powers to land your website on Google’s first page!

Want help with your website and Internet presence?  Contact UmeWorks in Torrance at 323 638-9328 or info@umeworks.com to discuss your website needs.

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What is a bounce rate and how to reduce it

This is a common question I receive after clients review their Google Analytics report.

The way digital marketing works is pretty simple. A visitor comes to your website from any of the traffic channels including search engines, social media, blogs and so forth. The visitor then learns about your products by reading through some of your content. If they are impressed by an offer, they can choose to take action in the form of making a purchase, downloading an e-book, signing up for your email newsletter, etc.

However, things don’t always follow that path. Sometimes, a visitor might come to your website, look around, and leave without taking a desired action. In fact, they could even leave without clicking on the menu or any of the links on your page, right?

When that happens; when a visitor simply comes to your site and leaves without engaging with the page at all, we say that the visitor has bounced.

What is Bounce Rate and Why is it Important in Marketing?

Bounce rate, therefore, is the frequency at which visitors come to your site and leave without engaging with the page at all. It is expressed as a percentage and calculated as follows;

The Bounce Rate of a Web Page = Total Number of Bounces on a Page in a Given Period ÷ Total Number of Page Entrances over the Same Period.

A high bounce rate typically means that either;

  1.  The quality of your pages is low such that there is nothing to engage with. Or,
  2. The page doesn’t provide the answers visitors are looking for.

How to Reduce Your Bounce Rate

Although Google doesn’t use bounce rates to determine a site’s rank in search engine results, even terming bounce rate metrics as “spammable and noisy,” that doesn’t mean you should turn a blind eye to high bounce rates.

For one, when visitors come to your site and leave without engaging with the page, it becomes difficult to convert those visitors. Additionally, in AdWords, a high bounce can negatively affect your Quality Score, leading to a higher Cost Per Click (CPC).

The good news is that there are a couple of things you can do to bring your bounce rate down to a more reasonable level. The following are a few ideas to consider;

    • Adjust how Google Analytics calculates your bounce rate

In Google Analytics, any single-page visit is counted as a bounce no matter the amount of time a visitor spends on that page. The first step is to change this so that Analytics takes into account time spent on the site when calculating your bounce rate.

    • Focus on fixing Profit Pages of your site

The Analytics dashboard has something known as profit index which is a database of web pages most frequently viewed prior to conversions or transactions. Rather than attempting to fix the bounce rates of all pages on your site, focus on fixing these profit pages.

    • Take out low-value traffic channels

If certain traffic channels are bringing in visitors who are not interested in your products/services, then you’re going to see high bounce rates. Taking out these low-value traffic channels can significantly boost your bounce rate.

    • Fix your CTAs and Landing Pages

Finally, visitors could be leaving without taking any action because your Calls To Action (CTAs) and Landing Pages are poor. Perhaps your CTAs are not compelling enough, or your landing pages don’t satisfy visitor queries. Fixing these issues can lower your bounce rate.

Now, Get Started Fixing Your Bounce Rate

Of course, you can’t have a 0.00% bounce rate. But, if you can implement the four strategies discussed above, rest assured of a meaningful improvement in your bounce numbers.

Get more details in our Guide to Reducing Your Website’s Bounce Rate.

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