When you’re working on a new website there’s a lot of time spent on creating content such as text, videos and photos. There is also of course a lot of time spent on coming up with the perfect look for your website or getting your online store working just as you like it.

Finally you’re happy with your new website and announce it to the world and this for many is when a lot of the activity eases up as people get back to business now that this project is complete.

Fact is as I tell everybody, your website should never be ‘finished’ – well, not unless your business is!

I’m outlining in this post some of the areas you need to manage on an ongoing basis which will apply no matter what platform your site is hosted on. As we create, manage and update WordPress sites here at The Marketing Shop, as you move further down in this post the technical area covers other areas you need to think about when it comes to WordPress specifically.

Products – details of products, stock levels, changes to specifications, operating manuals, related products, upsells. There’s lots to think about when you run an online store so putting together a checklist can be a help for your team. You can include on this checklist just the areas related to your website or you can incorporate how you process orders with suppliers, drop-shipping companies or couriers too.

Blog posts – your space to share company news, events, job listings, new recruits, product launches, industry news, updates to legislation, a look behind the scenes and a whole lot more. Yes will share a lot of this information on your social media channels but when you share there you’ll be taking people to your website to learn more about what you have to share or the products and services you have available. And when something is added to your blog it’s there permanently.

Photos – if you have a makeover in your business premises update your photos online. If you add new lines or set up a new section of a shop for example that’s worthy of photos for the relevant part of the website too.

Social Media – always include links to your active channels and if you add or remove any update them again. Right now we’re hearing rumours that Bebo is on its way back, there’s also Clubhouse which remains available only to those on IOS – if these are part of your marketing make sure they’re on your website along with every channel you use.

Comments – if you allow people to comment on your website we always advise that you have your system set for you to approve anything first. Keep an eye on comments that come through, I’ve seen sites where people have built up unknown to themselves thousands of comments that are just waiting to be consigned to spam or deleted but amongst them a number of queries that are now lost business too!

Staff – if you make changes to the team update profile photos.

Operations – if you revise your opening hours this should be noted.

Terms & Conditions – if your delivery process is altered as a result of Covid or Brexit for example this should be noted in updated terms and conditions.

Mailing lists – if you’re engaged in email marketing and change lists within your email software account or you switch to a new provider ensure you update that section of your website that collects subscribers.

Automations – you will most likely have automated responses set up within your store, these can also be set up as email sequences for new subscribers or responses if somebody requests a quote or sends a comment. When you make an update somewhere along the line it’s important to backtrack throughout the process to capture every connection point.

And then there’s the technical parts…

A website is much like a car, it needs onging maintenance to ensure it works to the best of its ability and some parts you may feel comfortable managing, sometimes however it’s worth investing in a support package or asking somebody in the know to train you on the essentials.

Backups – ensure that if you have backups running that they are actually working, even if it’s just an email with a file you see drop into your inbox weekly or you have an arrangement with your hosting company or web designer, until your site has a problem you won’t ever appreciate how valuable these are. If you don’t see any activity in this area or you’re not sure ask about it now before you need it.

Plugins – pieces of software within your website that enable specific functions such as as online store, google analytics tracking or a photo gallery. These will be updated to allow for security improvements, to tie in with changes on WordPress or maybe to offer you new features. Within your WordPress dashboard you will be alerted to the fact that they are to be updated, tempting as it is you should not ignore this as it may leave your website vulnerable or an element might even cease to work.

WordPress version – WordPress is a powerful pierce of software that is continually improving and the latest versions will always be more secure, quite likely faster and offer you improved security. Sometimes a small business owner is a little wary of doing something like this but your web company or hosting company can advise on this or offer a maintenance package so that you don’t have to worry about it all.

PHP – the language essentially that your website is written in. Technically it’s more than many small business owners want to think but the latest versions will again help improve on areas of your site such as security and speed.

Websites are fantastic and every business should have one but never, ever think it’s finished because quite aside from the updates I’ve referred to above it’s important for the purposes of search engines that you update frequently too – that’s another day’s post though.

At The Marketing Shop we’ve worked with clients on a range of different websites from simple one page sites to brochure sites to full ecommerce stores, if you’d like to speak to us about an existing or planned new site please get in touch with Debbie at 087-2785818 or debbie@themarketingshop.ie – or scheudule a call now at this link.

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