How Much Do I Have to Pay You to Care?!?!
Adam Carolla is one of the world’s best venters. His ability to take all types of inconveniences and spin them into passionate, expletive-filled, funny tirades is legendary. On a recent Adam Carolla Show podcast I listened with interest as he went off for 5 minutes on the issues with his website. In a nutshell, he found errors in the ticket purchase dates that were on his website for his new movie “Winning: The Racing Life with Paul Newman.” He ranted that he shouldn’t be the one to find the errors when it should have been the “#!@%!F’ing” website company’s duty to keep the website up to date.
I can’t address Adam’s specific issue with his website management but we are very familiar with the issues raised in the rant. Here are the levels of caring you should expect from a web agency that has developed and launched your website.
Level of Caring – LOW to Nonexistent
Your website is launched and you decide to maintain it yourself and call for help when you need it. This is the most common scenario. Most websites have content management systems (CMS) that allows non-technical staff to add and edit website content. Many businesses feel they can handle this internally so they bid adieu to their agency until there’s an issue they can’t fix. The danger is that the employee that is assigned to maintain the website already has a full plate and ignores the website until tasks are assigned. So months may pass and during that time a hacker could have gained access, a plugin could have expired, the server could have issues, and so on. Many times, a client of the company notices an issue and notifies the company, which then goes into reactive mode and tries to fix it. Usually by this time, the responsible person may have left the company, lost the password, or forgotten how to make the edits.
Level of Caring – MEDIUM
Your website launched and you decide to hire web agency on a monthly retainer to make enhancements to the website. These enhancements include additional functionality such as adding a blog, marketing services, improving the shopping cart, etc. You may think that the web agency is also reviewing your site regularly for issues but usually this retainer just covers the discrete tasks that have been identified and budgeted. So even though the web team is busy working on your blog or shopping cart, they are probably NOT reviewing your website for other issues. Sure, if they stumble across something they would flag it, but their focus does not extend to caring about your whole website.
Level of Caring – HIGH
Your web agency has been given a specific mandate to review your website according to a schedule and a defined process. Typically your assigned agency project manager will review your website on a regular basis, perhaps weekyly, according to a defined checklist of pages and functions. She or he will ensure everything is working correctly and address things that need fixing.
Here is our 10-Point Weekly Website Review Checklist:
XYZ Website Weekly Review
- Visual check of home page and all top-level website pages (if you have products, or many informational pages, it may be impossible to check every page so a visual check of the primary website pages should suffice).
- Check all dynamic content (if you have news feeds, ads, social media feeds, etc., check that they are all displaying properly).
- Check online forms and email contacts (it’s common to experience failures of forms not sending or working correctly due to issues with the the server and 3rd-party and plugins).
- Check links (links to external websites often change, so make sure to check links to media files and external services).
- Check shopping cart functions (go through the purchase process and make sure everything works as it should).
- Check time-sensitive content (like event calendars, promotional offers that expire, etc., and clean it up).
- Check the CMS dashboard (to see if there are any new updates to plugins or security patches that need to be installed).
- Check the overall website speed (is the server running well or is there a lag).
- Passwords and users (delete any unnecessary users from the admin and update passwords to maintain security).
- Mobile check (quick visual review on a mobile device or mobile responsive website emulator tool to check the layouts).
So how much should you pay someone at a web agency to care about your website post-launch?
This depends on how much time is required to run through the checklist. I would think that most small-mid-size businesses could check your website weekly in less than an hour. That equates to 2 – 4 hours per month, which equates to $240 – $480 at our current rates. Part of the website check should include a short summary report to the client notifying them that the review was performed and any findings. We see this as a definite win-win. The client wins because they know that their website is ready for clients and customers, the web agency wins because they stay in touch with their client and are prepared for new work opportunities with them.
I can only guess that Adam Carolla hires a part-time web manager that has a lot on her/his plate already. This person probably doesn’t have a strategy to review the website on a regularly scheduled basis to ensure it is up to date and functioning properly. Implementing the above checklist process with your company’s internal website manager or with your website agency is the best insurance you can have to avoid the frustration, embarrassment and lost revenue that can result from inconsistent maintenance. The internet is dynamic and unpredictable and if you’re not keeping up with your website, things will break and require attention after the fact.
Contact Executionists to get started on a low-cost, monthly website checklist and review process. (424) 245-5472