The launch of your new website should be the start, not the end…
Small business website maintenance, and advancement, are important, providing you with peace of mind and higher search engine rankings, critical to achieving business results and maintaining your corporate image.
Here’s why neglecting that will cost you a fortune…
Many small businesses view their website as a periodic capital expense to either fill or correct a gap in their marketing performance.
The decision to invest is driven by the need for an initial solid web presence, or the recognition that an ‘old’ or ‘outdated’ site is no longer delivering the required results.
Whatever the motive is at the time of getting your new website built, it is crucial to realise that the initial construction of a website is not the end of the matter. It would be great to think that the job was complete, but the reality is that things don’t stay static, and decline will begin without any ongoing web maintenance.
Why is small business website maintenance important?
Well, in the same way as when you take a break from the gym your body begins to gradually decline, website performance also starts to decline after the short-term benefits of the initial build have had their effect. This is why regular website maintenance is so important.
New websites experience a short-term rise in performance over their first few months when the site is first registered and ranked within Google’s algorithm, before reaching a plateau where nothing new is added to the site. After this point, decline gradually begins to set in, as Google’s algorithm now recognises the site is no longer new or up to date.
You might be wondering why this happens, as surely the website has all the relevant content and optimisation needed?
There are a number of reasons, but we’ve listed the main ones below:
- Google initially indexes content from a new site higher, as it’s, well, new! But it very quickly identifies when nothing additional is added, and refinements aren’t being made. It also ranks content to some level by how current it is, and older content carries less weight.
- Depending on how well the website was initially built, it will have been aligned to the latest known search engine optimisations. As time passes, algorithms and other factors change, and the site becomes less compliant, affecting its ranking potential.
- Unfortunately, competitor websites are constantly advancing their performance, as well as there being new entrants to the marketplace. As they improve, your site begins to lose its relative position in the rankings.
Whilst these are some of the main issues a lack of maintenance faces, there are many others, and they all add up to cause problems. The reality is that pretty much every business wants their site to deliver some form of business result, and the performance of those results can become compromised by performance decline.
It might be that the aim of your website is straightforward – converting potential customers and making e-commerce sales. However, maybe it’s less of a direct sale, such as an information exchange, offering a download, or making enquiries.
Whatever the desired outcome, products, and services you might be offering, a decline in website maintenance will meet with a decline in company results somewhere along the line.
Below, I’ve prepared a graph to demonstrate how this happens in the real world through a case study.
Small business website maintenance: What does website decline cause in terms of business results?
We’ve shown before in a previous blog what would happen to a business’ orders if a website were left to its own devices – orders from the site would decline. Even if it were just one per month lost, which may be hardly noticeable to start with, by the end of the year that would be a sizable lost opportunity cost to your business. For example, if the average order value was £250, after 12 months that would be a loss of £16,500 (scenario 1). Website maintenance and advancement certainly does not cost that much!
Whereas if there were basic website maintenance conducted (scenario 2), you could at least retain that £16,500. If you went a step further and undertook advancement work which generated say one extra order per month, versus scenario 1 your business would generate an additional £33,000 in orders.
The scale of the return on your business from small business website maintenance and advancement work is huge!
What does small business website maintenance include?
Small business website maintenance involves:
- Monitoring, reporting and responding to website metrics, e.g. page speeds, ranking changes, visitors to your site, conversion rates. Capturing these issues as early as possible is very cost-effective and provides an opportunity to advance.
- Hosting and server management for website uptime
- Backups and updates of plugins/scripts for security
- Dynamic content updates, e.g. case studies, imagery
Site security is critical. It is something that is often taken for granted but it’s the difference between getting your orders and enquiries and potentially none, as well as having a risk to your brand reputation created at the same time!
Who does small business website maintenance and advancement involve?
High-level athletes can’t possibly do everything themselves when training to surpass their limits. They have a whole team around them, keeping track of various metrics and making suggestions to make them the best that they can be.
The very same approach applies when getting the best out of your website. There are many facets to successfully maintaining and advancing your site, including:
- SEO (search engine optimisation) specialists
- UX (user experience) specialists
- Graphic designers
- Business strategists
- And more!
As you can see, ensuring your website succeeds is much more than a one-person process. It requires different skills to solve different challenges. A good small business website maintenance package, therefore, needs to be flexible and offer multiple resources depending on the priority for your website and business at that given time.
The website maintenance process starts with monitoring and reporting to identify opportunities, challenges and issues with the site, something which most business owners do not have the time nor expertise to undertake. Then it is about fixing the issue and looking at how to go beyond that immediate fix to optimise the site and experience.
Key takeaways for small business website maintenance
In summary, it’s clear that websites that are neglected after their initial build will start to decline. It’s a fact. The business results associated will also fall, and there’s a ‘hidden cost’ to that decline too.
Small business website maintenance plans exist to minimise that decline and keep the website performing at its best, to prevent the cost of decline.
Small business website maintenance and advancement programmes exist to progress and develop the performance of a website. It’s an incremental approach to refining and testing to boost performance and maximise the website’s results for your business.
Combining these two elements can make a significant difference to your business performance.
How much does small business website maintenance cost, and how can I learn more about small business website maintenance and advancement services to support my business?
The cost of maintaining your site will vary depending on the type of site and your specific needs. However, after working with countless clients over the years, we can confidently say that small business website maintenance and advancement is a crucial and worthwhile aspect of running your business, that delivers a clear return on investment.
At Growth by Design, we provide a range of support services for businesses, including small business website maintenance and advancement packages. We have a team of expert website designers and offer tech support to ensure your site is continually serving as your most important salesperson.
Give us a call on 01444 810530 for a no-obligation discussion. We’ll even run a complimentary website audit for you to identify any current issues.
If you prefer to email, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.