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Real web maintenance

When people ask for examples of our work, we find they're not actually looking for flowery, flashy examples - the usual things creatives show when they want to showcase their work.

Instead, we find it more useful to show them a range of client projects which showcase HOW the work was done. This is as important a part of the process as WHAT is produced.

Good quality work doesn't always mean you've worked on the bigger projects. We know. We've worked on sites that get in excess of four million 'hits' (yes, we're cringing at using a neanderthal web measurement tool, but most people get this) a week, but it's the smaller ones that require more focussed work and more targetted content. Plus, if big web budgets meant quality work, the Federal Government wouldn't have pulled the plug on their $13 million Grocery Choice web site turkey.

And just one last thing on these examples: when you’re looking at them, please bear in mind that the design isn’t our work. We say that as often when reviewing web pages, most people focus on the design – our contribution was primarily the web writing or strategy).

So what have we been working on lately? This should help ...

I read a great post by Gerry McGovern, who made the point that companies are more than happy to spend $200,000 every three years on a massive website redesign and put no money into redevelopment in the ensuing years.  They were reinventing the wheel every three years and then letting the wheel go flat in between times. In short, he recommended that companies would be better off to spend $50,000 a year for three years.

He is right. But he is also in the minority, sadly.

Web site maintenance is a key part of a successful web strategy. In my workshops on web writing, I often asked the question of participants ‘ how often do you update your website?’   I sometimes ask them ‘ how often you go through your website taking down old material?’   The answer, sadly, is ‘when I can find time’.

Web site maintenance is not about web servers. Maintaining a website is not about minimising downtime so people can access information around the clock. It is about ensuring that whenever they access information they are getting the best information possible.  That usually means giving them content that provide to answer the questions, to help them to achieve their goals or to assist them to easily contact and connect with your organisation.

Website maintenance is about content.  It’s about maintaining what you have and ensuring it ALWAYS hits the mark – not just in the afterglow of a relaunch.

Part of any website responsibility is to ensure that you are regularly adding good information, replacing old information or archiving redundant information.  Does your organisation have a plan to deal with this?

Because many organisations struggle with this concept, I will be releasing shortly an eBook on how to effectively maintain your website, to schedule in time to continuously improve your web content. Watch this space.

In the meantime, do you proactively manage or maintain your website or does the website manage you?

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