Posted by: Kevin McNally
For small companies in particular, the fairly small expenditure of a professionally maintained website can be a far better use of money and resources.
Today, when websites are central to the success of a business, companies of all sizes recognize the importance of retaining a professional website designer - and are increasingly aware of the need for expert assistance in maintaining that site.
No question, a well-designed website is a valuable commercial mechanism, acting as a proven source of information for present and prospective customers. Having a site in place and on-line may be one key element in improving your business presence, but a professionally maintained site will further increase your visibility on the Internet. In terms of "looks," an expertly maintained business website will ensure that styles and formatting remain consistent throughout. Perception counts for a great deal and if your site evolves into an amateurish hodge-podge of fonts, frames and columns, you could drive customers away.
Professionals know the "tricks of the trade" of correct and efficient website maintenance, so it makes good sense (and cents) to retain an expert. A business owner's time is valuable and while at first blush attempting to maintain a site in-house may seem like a cost-saving measure, the price tag on lost working hours can be high. For small companies in particular, the fairly small expenditure of a professionally maintained website can be a far better use of money and resources. While there are Content Management Systems out there that can be used to do all of your updates yourself, it may not be as cost effective as they let on to be. Remember, it costs time and money to learn and then train staff how to keep a website up to date - it's much more cost effective to leave it in the capable hands of someone who will provide quick and complete turnaround.
Regular maintenance by a pro will keep a site fresh for visitors. While many websites have a great initial "look and feel," if customers have the sense a site is stagnant and not evolving, they likewise may have the same perception of your company and its offerings. Keeping a fresh home page is vital to the success of a commercial website. If your last online press release is dated a year ago, that sends a negative message to visitors and may give your competitors the edge they need to attract potential business.
Certainly, there are some business websites that do not require a lot of change once online, and may never find it necessary to post traditional press releases. That said, most companies, however, do have regular pricing, product and personnel announcements and where better than on the "World Wide Web" to get the word out. That's where the importance of professional maintenance comes into play. You may have new fee or contact information, but by the time you get around to posting it, that material may be old hat. Websites that provide fresh content will in turn provide a company more revenue.
By adding news items, articles and listings of upcoming events relative to your business or industry in general, you can better see which marketing avenues are working and those that are not. The addition of photographs, ancillary graphics and charts and graphs to a business site can also make it stand out from the competition, but those added elements are best left to a professional who can make your inserts and edits stand out from the crowd. It is possible to have too much of a good thing and sometimes with adding graphics and text yourself it is hard to know when to say when. A professional can help you keep your website fresh, informative and not keep it from getting too cluttered or confusing.
By trying different approaches and regularly adding information, your company can become a "go to" resource on the web for existing customers, prospective clients and even competitors. And be aware that a site that maintains its "freshness" will increase its visibility in search engine ranking, a mechanism that adds great clout to a business. Search engines can be free advertising, a professional that knows how to properly maintain a website will do so with it's search engine friendliness in mind and may even be able to help you achieve better ranking in the search engines.
A company that provides website design and maintenance can additionally ease the burden for a business owner when it comes to technology glitches. You can have greater peace of mind knowing that a backup copy of your website is in the safe hands of a professional and that your site can be easily restored should errors occur or information is lost.
Fresh content, graphics that impact and a "look and feel" that keeps visitors coming back - the ultimate goals of every business website and ones that can be met quickly and cost efficiently with the assistance of a professional.