On Friday I received a phone call. A rather nervous voice came down the line:
Nervous caller: “Our website has an error”.
Me: “Sure, what kind of error?”
Nervous caller: “I don’t know – it just says ‘Cannot connect’ or something.
Me: “OK, would you like us to fix it?”
Nervous caller: “Well yes, but we’ve lost the username and password”
Nervous caller: “Well actually our web guy has it.”
Me (tentatively): “OK, so maybe if you have a “web guy” you should call him?”
Nervous caller: “Well, we kind of haven’t been getting along. He’s not returning our calls.”
Me: “Ah, I get it”.
The old fallen-out-with-your-web-guy scenario
We’ve seen it so many times. It’s no exaggeration to say that about half of our new clients come to us with a similar story.
Web guys – what is it about them that makes them so … flaky? If they’re not somebody’s cousin who’s studying IT for A Level, they’re somebody’s friend-of-a-friend who’s emigrated back to New Zealand.
There are as many ways of disappearing as there are web guys, it seems. Sometimes they are victims of their own success and get so busy they can’t handle their original clients.
And as for their ability to fall out with people, it’s legendary.
You can buy website maintenance as a service. Not a lot of people know that.
The term “website maintenance” covers a range of services, of which you might need some or all.
As a baseline it would certainly include offsite backups of your entire website and associated databases, with test restores to ensure the backup has worked correctly. Website backups and test restores doesn’t sound very exciting but when come the day when you need to rebuild your damaged website (and that day will come) it will suddenly be the most exciting thing in the world.
From there, website updates can take a variety of directions – from adding new content, new pages, products, categories or menus, to new images or infographics. It will certainly involve testing and maintaining interactive features such as shopping carts, forums, web forms, login pages etc.
If you are in business you need professional website maintenance
Really, if you provide any kind of online service that makes money – whether it be for lead-generation or e-commerce – then you absolutely need a professional website maintenance team on your side.
What to look for
Here are some tips on picking the right team for you:
- Short contract terms – don’t sign a contract for 6 or 12 months unless you really know the people you’re dealing with
- Professional references – ask for them and then take them up!
- Online reviews – they had better be good
- Other clients – what other clients are your potential team servicing? They might not be in the same business as you but their clients should be of a similar size and shape
- Familiarity with your system – if your website is built on WordPress, ask for WordPress experts, if it’s built on Joomla, you need a Joomla guru – however your site is built, you’ll need to make sure your team can handle it
Don’t be that nervous caller
Fortunately there’s no need to be that nervous, slightly shamefaced and worried caller that I spoke to last Friday. All you need to do is ensure you are fully signed up with a professional website maintenance company and you can sleep easy! Now see: website maintenance