Website Support is a Necessity Not a Luxury
Running an online business can be a lonely endeavour, sometimes. Especially when your business relies on your website, but you're not a technical guru (and you don't want to be one, either).
Many business owners start out building and updating their websites themselves, only to quickly hit limitations. No matter what the low-cost web builders might tell you, building a website takes a lot of time - time that could be better spent thinking about your customers and developing your products. It's not just the vast amounts of time that website building takes, you'll soon realise that keeping your website up to date can eat your time too.
Do you really know how likely you are to get hacked?
Sooner or later you'll read a horror story about somebody who's website was hacked due to a lack of security. Could this happen to you? As a business owner (not a website security expert) how can you realistically estimate the chances of your site being hacked or defaced?
One client of ours told a particularly harrowing story. His website relied on user-generated content - it was a membership site where members could join and discuss their common interests. Unfortunately, their website was hacked. All of the members personal information (including their passwords) was stolen and sold on the dark web.
With almost no knowledge of how to fix it, our client had to pay a web developer a huge sum of money in order to get his business running again, and the reputational damage was almost fatal to the brand.
SEO - you've heard of it, but is your site up for it?
No doubt you are aware that "your site needs SEO" to rank in Google. But how can a startup business provide this for themselves when the best SEO companies in the world have been in the business for years (and even they cannot make guarantees of success)?
Another customer of ours had employed an cheap SEO company. When we looked into it, it turned out that all they had done was create a load of backlinks by dropping comments onto open forums around the web with backlinks to our customer's website. So sure, they created a ton of backlinks, but they were all entirely useless, since the websites in question were completely irrelevant to our customer's business, there was no context. This is a very risky black-hat SEO strategy which could get your site permanently banned from Google.
In other words, if you're not an expert yourself. You probably don't have any clue about the intricacies of SEO, web development and other things that occupy the thoughts of techies.
There is simply too much involved in keeping a business website up and running flawlessly 24/7 - things like security and uptime and speed and optimization need to be monitored constantly, and improved continuously.
Offshoring website maintenance
Website support is essential : every business needs it. But where to get it?
Many UK business owners consider offshoring their website maintenance and support. In the last decade or so, countries around the world including India, Philippines, Malaysia and Ukraine have hugely developed their offshoring capabilities. Outsourcing business processes - including website maintenance and support – to countries like these has been a great business decision by many companies. There's no doubt that it's often cheaper to offshore than to pay UK prices. UK website maintenance companies have to pay a living wage to their team after all.
If you find the right offshore company, which is at the right stage in its own growth cycle, you are in luck. But typically, this situation does not last. Like all businesses, offshore agencies want to reel in the big fish. Once they do, business owners are left with a difficult choice: stay and hope the service level remains high enough to justify the price increase or move on. In either case, business owners need to find a new provider.
Many business owners choose the independent route when it comes to website support options. Working with an independent company or freelance web expert means business owners can hire someone they trust but still have someone familiar working on their website should things go wrong. Unfortunately it's very common for businesses to lose contact with their web developers. That lack of contact can be disastrous. A business owner may not notice that their site has been hacked, leading to lost business and reputation damage.
Now the good news
OK so there are many pitfalls to avoid when choosing who to engage. The good news is that there are UK-based, experienced companies who can provide support and look out for your business whether you are just starting up or you are an established and growing company.
Beyond the basics
We believe that website support should go beyond the basics. You should be getting proactive suggestions and recommendations to push your business forward. That's something that only an experienced company that have been in the business a few years and worked on dozens of websites can provide.
Overall, business owners are hard-pressed to find effective website support. As more business is conducted online, it becomes even more important to have a reliable partner in business you can rely on at all times.
Our message: website support is essential business: every business needs it.
There is simply too much involved in keeping a business website up and running flawlessly 24/7 - things like security and uptime and speed and optimization need to be monitored constantly. Website support is essential business: every business needs it. Online businesses that try to handle these issues alone run into nightmares.
There are great web support companies out there. You just have to find them. Make sure you ask plenty of questions about experience, track record, SEO success, security breaches, flexibility and cost. If you would like to challenge Dotwise with these questions about our own website maintenance, we will be delighted to answer your questions.