Benefits Of A Website Support And Maintenance Agreement
By Neil Kilgallon on Friday, 8 December 2023
Your shiny new website is live, and it's performing well. However, it requires some content updates to ensure accuracy. Additionally, you need a new section, as your business has expanded into new markets. The challenge is that no one internally is capable of handling these requests. You are uncertain whether to opt for ad hoc updates or enter into a support and maintenance agreement.
Maintaining a website is crucial for its longevity and ongoing success. It's an essential element for keeping your online presence secure, polished, and running smoothly. In this blog, we explore the underestimated yet critical reasons why investing in such an agreement is not just a smart choice but a fundamental necessity for any website aiming to thrive.
A top web design agency juggles multiple projects simultaneously with a limited number of project managers, designers, front-end coders, back-end developers, and SEO specialists. By committing to a specific number of monthly maintenance hours, the agency can allocate its resources to your website, ensuring the timely completion of updates.
Clients without a maintenance agreement can still request updates through ad-hoc support, but the speed at which those updates can be completed will vary depending on the agency's workload.
At our web design agency in London, we strive to fulfil new requests with the utmost efficiency. However, we prioritise our retained clients who have chosen to stay with us. They have asked our web designers and developers to be on standby each month, so it is only right that we complete their requests first.
Planned Road Map Of Updates
With a roadmap in place, each update becomes a deliberate step toward achieving specific goals - enhancing the user experience, addressing security concerns through patches and updates, or integrating new functionality. This approach ensures a structured process, preventing random modifications that could cause inconsistencies or disrupt functionality.
A well-structured update roadmap ensures efficient resource allocation and budget management. By outlining priorities and timelines, it becomes easier to allocate the necessary resources, whether design expertise, front-end coding, development hours, or SEO enhancements.
A website support and maintenance agreement allows for swift and effective resolution of reported issues, enhancing overall user satisfaction. When customers report problems or suggest improvements, these can be documented and scheduled as part of the maintenance roadmap, ensuring they're not overlooked or delayed. This responsiveness to feedback not only improves the functionality of your website but also demonstrates a commitment to your users, building a stronger relationship between you and your site's visitors.
Security Updates And Patches
Security updates and patches are an integral part of any website support and maintenance agreement due to the ever-evolving nature of cyber threats. When a website is live, it becomes a potential target for malicious activities such as hacking, data breaches, and malware attacks. Regular security updates ward off these threats by fixing known vulnerabilities. Without a dedicated maintenance agreement, updates may be delayed or missed, leaving systems vulnerable to potential cyber-attacks.
Applying patches promptly ensures that your website's functionality is not compromised over time. Patches correct bugs, enhance performance, and add new features, contributing to the overall health and performance of your website. They enable your site to run smoothly, ensuring a seamless user experience, which is crucial for retaining visitors and encouraging repeat traffic. A website support and maintenance agreement guarantees these patches are applied as soon as they're available.
WordPress Updates And Plugins
WordPress is the world's most popular content management system (CMS), which makes it an attractive target for hackers. The system has a massive user base, and over 30% of websites globally are powered by it. Due to its popularity, even a minor vulnerability can expose millions of websites to exploitation. WordPress, being open-source, enables hackers to study the core code for vulnerabilities.
Keeping WordPress core and plugins up-to-date is essential to protect your website from security threats. Each WordPress update not only brings in new features but also fixes bugs and security vulnerabilities identified in previous versions. Plugins, too, are frequently updated by their developers for similar reasons. Neglecting these updates can leave your site exposed to known security threats.
Ongoing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search engine optimisation is not a one-off task but an ongoing process that requires dedicated resources to keep your website featured as high as possible in the SERPs. It involves on-page analysis, keyword research, competitor analysis, site audits, content strategy, link-building research and reporting. By having a support and maintenance agreement in place, a set number of hours can be assigned to ongoing SEO.
Regular Content Releases
When evaluating content for SEO, Google places significant importance on multiple factors. Two of the most influential elements are relevance and quality. Content must align with search intent by providing valuable information that matches what users are seeking. To rank highly on the SERPs, it is crucial to deliver high-quality content that offers unique insights, thoroughly addresses user queries, and demonstrates experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).
Additionally, factors such as readability, engagement metrics (time spent on a page, bounce rate), multimedia integration, mobile-friendliness, and proper use of keywords (without keyword stuffing) are also considered vital for content to rank well in search engine results. Content that is regularly updated and offers fresh perspectives tends to perform better in search rankings as it demonstrates relevance and credibility to search engines. Support and maintenance agreements can include dedicated hours to create valuable and engaging content for your website visitors.
If your support and maintenance agreement includes organic SEO, it must allocate hours towards acquiring backlinks. Backlink building is a time-consuming but crucial task for organic SEO, primarily because it validates a website's credibility, authority, and relevance. When reputable and high-quality websites link to your content, it sends a strong signal to search engines like Google, affirming the trustworthiness and value of your site. These incoming links act as votes of confidence, indicating that your content is worthy of reference and sharing. As a result, it can positively impact your site's rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Browser & Mobile OS Updates
It is vital to monitor the impact of browser and operating system (OS) updates on a website to ensure optimal performance and user experience. These updates frequently change how browsers interpret code, handle functionalities, or display content.
Neglecting these changes can result in unforeseen issues such as broken layouts, functional errors, or compatibility problems that affect the user experience with your site.
Legal & Technical Updates - GDPR, Core Web Vitals
A support and maintenance agreement can help you stay informed and respond to legal and technical updates such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and Core Web Vitals, which are crucial for ensuring a website's compliance, performance, and user experience.
GDPR compliance is essential for handling user data ethically and securely. Websites must adhere to these regulations to safeguard user privacy, implement proper data handling practices, and avoid legal consequences.
Core Web Vitals encompass a range of metrics used by Google to evaluate a site's user experience, including loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability. Adapting to these updates ensures that your website meets the standards set by search engines, enhancing its visibility and potential for ranking.
Being aware of and implementing these legal and technical updates not only helps maintain legal compliance but also enhances user satisfaction, search engine rankings, and overall site performance.
Staying Ahead Of The Competition
A support and maintenance agreement provides a proactive approach to staying ahead of the competition by ensuring your website is continuously optimised, secured, and functional.
It allows for regular updates and improvements, keeping the website aligned with the latest trends, technologies, and best practices. This can include producing fresh and relevant content, implementing new features, or enhancing user experience based on user feedback and industry advancements.
The agreement will encompass security measures like regular backups, software patches, and vulnerability checks, minimizing the risk of cyber threats and downtime that could impact the site's reliability.
A well-maintained website that functions smoothly and offers up-to-date content is more likely to attract and retain users, providing a competitive edge over outdated or less-optimised competitors.
By having a dedicated support team, issues can be addressed promptly, reducing downtime and ensuring the website operates at its best.
A website that receives frequent updates is less likely to require a complete redesign. However, if your website becomes so outdated that it cannot be salvaged, we have prepared an article outlining why you should consider a website redesign.
Is It Worth Having A Website Support And Maintenance Agreement?
In summary, having a website support and maintenance agreement in place is incredibly worthwhile. It ensures continual optimisation of your website, keeping it secured, functional, and relevant. It facilitates regular content updates, which is critical for SEO, and allows for allocating dedicated resources for tasks like backlink building and enhancing the site's visibility and ranking.
An ongoing agreement will ensure you adapt to browser and mobile OS updates, maintaining optimal website performance and user experience. It also keeps you up-to-date with the latest legal requirements and technical standards.
It provides a proactive edge over competitors by aligning your website with the latest trends, technologies, and user feedback. Regular security measures, like backups and vulnerability checks, further protect your site from potential threats.
Most importantly, having a dedicated support team ensures prompt issue resolution, reduces downtime, and keeps your website operating at its best.