10 recurring maintenance and support investments that will keep your website relevant.
If this is the year that you’re finally going to bite the bullet and do a website redesign, start by taking a few relaxing deep breaths, find a mantra, get your meditation chops back up to speed, and just in case, load up on aspirins and antacids.
It’s going to take longer, be a lot harder and more frustrating, and cost more than you expected.
In days gone by, the job of a website redesign was simpler because most websites were really nothing more than just online brochures – a lot of blah-blah-blah about the firm and its services, horrific head shots of partners being forced to smile unnaturally, lots of stock photos of hands shaking and world globes spinning.
The Days of Website as an Online Brochure are Officially Dead
Now, unless you’ve been on an extended “off the grid” sabbatical or hiding under a rock, you know that the days of “website as online brochure” are long over. Today, websites are all about putting lots of content up (like blogs and videos), getting more visibility with key words and using the thought leadership of partners and subject matter experts for purposes ranging from differentiation to lead generation.
So if this year’s website redesign is nothing more than making your current online brochure more graphically appealing, save your money. Today’s websites need to do a yeoman’s job as the hub of the firm’s marketing efforts not only in terms of building the firm’s brand, but also in terms of delivering a great visitor experience, and converting visitors to leads.
Here’s another hard truth. Just as you had to budget for the redesign and launch of a new website, you absolutely must budget for the site’s ongoing development and maintenance. The days of “set it and forget it” websites are a thing of the past.
Strategy First. Executions Second.
When a firm asks us to redo their website, the first question we ask is, “what do you want your website to do?”
Answering that question is the most critical part of a website design. Are you going to use it to pull prospects to you? Showcase your thought leadership? Build personal brands? Fill your sales pipeline with leads? (Note: the answer to all of these questions should be “YES!”)
I strongly believe that the visual elements and appeal of a website are of enormous importance, but need to play a secondary role to the site’s strategy.
After we get an idea of the key objectives and role of the website, and even before that first mouse click of the design process begins, we ask a few more tough questions: How are you going to maintain and support the new website? Did you put money into the budget for ongoing website support and development? What resources will be needed for maintenance and support? Who is going to be accountable?
Planning for the New Website: Part 2
When you put together the budget for the website, it’s really important to look at total costs for its development, launch and ongoing maintenance/support. Of course, the “support” items in your budget need to be directly related to the site’s objectives and goals. And, by the way, someone will need to break the bad news to the holders of the firm’s purse strings that there’s going to be an annual – and somewhat hefty – recurring annual investment in the site.
Assuming that getting the firm more visibility, brand building, lead generation, and making sure that the site delivers a return on investment are objectives of the redesign, here’s 10 recurring investments for tools, technologies or other resources that you’ll want to put into your plans and budget:
- Creating and posting new content
- Tools and technology like HubSpot for reviewing site metrics to see what is (or isn’t) working with the site
- Continually adding and optimizing new website pages
- Continually working to improve rankings in search engine results
- Adding new features like video or podcasts
- Participating in social media with the intent of driving a fan, friend or follower to your website
- Creating and posting offers for lead generation, using landing pages
- Helping partners and subject matter experts build their personal brand
- Keeping abreast of changes to search engine policy, structural and algorithm changes
- Monitoring competitor websites
More Aspirin and Rolaids, Please.
I sure hope that this post hasn’t given you a reason to head out to your local Rite Aid to stock up on more analgesics and antacids! The truth is, however, that the right strategy, and comprehensive planning and budgeting at the very start of your website redesign project will in fact cut down – but not eliminate – your need for something to take away your headaches and indigestion.
But don’t forget to meditate. From time to time, it’s nice to step out of the noise of thinking.