Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Website maintenance is critical for a profitable customer experience

By Phil Storey, founder, Glow

Having worked in website development for almost a decade, I know the feelings of excitement associated with launching a client website. After painstakingly crafting copy, weeks of design and seemingly endless discussions, you finally approach the long-awaited launch date, present it to the client and they love it.

In their minds, that’s the job done.

The problem is that a website is a long-term investment, both in terms of time and money. And as you know, a great website can easily lose value when it isn’t maintained properly. 

I can picture you cringing as you realise that I’m about to talk about website maintenance, and I know all too well the reasons why.

The client just doesn’t see the value

There’s a common misconception amongst those not ‘in the know’ that an impressive looking website is all it really takes to wow the end user. Try educating them about the importance of maintaining that impressive website and they think you’re on the sell.

I’ve worked with enough agencies in my time to know that this is one of the overarching reasons why they just don’t offer website maintenance as a service. It’s not worth the hassle, right?

Wrong. It doesn’t have to be a negative experience. By getting the client to understand the risks of not maintaining their website and explaining in layman’s terms the service you’d provide in the background, you can successfully convert them into ‘believers’, creating a window of opportunity.

One of the most effective ways to do this is by using stats. Try leading with the fact that research suggests website hacks occur every 39 seconds, then move on to explain how poorly maintained sites can negatively impact customer experience – WebFX recently found that 89% of consumers shop with a competitor after a poor user experience on a website – pretty sure that’s something that ought to do the trick.

It’s also important that they understand the role that website maintenance plays in other digital services like SEO – something more and more people seem to be getting up to speed on, I’m sure you’ll agree. We know that outdated content or an infrequently updated site can be detrimental to search engine rankings, but do they?

Often, clients are so focused on aesthetics, that they don’t consider functionality and all that is involved – which is of course more important initially to the end user. Perhaps then, if they learned that slow-loading websites have been shown to impact the topline, and increasing website speed by just a single second has been suggested to increase conversions by 7%, they may just refocus.

Like anything, if clients can see the value, they’re more likely to invest.

It can be a fiddly and time-consuming service, for little to no profit

Let’s face it, website maintenance is fiddly, it takes time and if you’re offering it to clients without efficient structure and process behind it, you’re likely to also not be charging properly for it. We’ve researched hundreds of digital agencies and there’s a huge proportion that offer some kind of maintenance service and do so for free … yes, free!

Given this, it’s quite likely that your agency also puts website maintenance somewhere near the bottom of the services that you push to clients.

Look at it this way though, website maintenance supports what you’re doing from a marketing perspective. It helps make your clients’ marketing spend as efficient as it can be because the website will be well maintained and performing as it should always be. A happy client is a paying client.

It’s all very well them investing in social media marketing and blogs, however if the website is littered with broken links, or it loads too slowly for customers to stick around and read, then your efforts won’t have the desired effect.

Yes, ok, when your developers are in the middle of a project and get a phone call from a client complaining that the contact form on their website isn’t working, it’s distracting. Breaking off from that project disrupts their concentration flow and productivity. Chuck all that in a cauldron and your clients won’t be receiving the attention and support they deserve for what could be the number one asset for their business.

The good news is, there are a handful of website maintenance apps globally (Glow being one) that take that headache away. As they can usually be white labelled, you can offer website maintenance as a service to the client, saving you and your developers hundreds of hours each year whilst also benefiting from increased client satisfaction and a new recurring revenue stream.

I can’t speak for the other website maintenance service providers, however we are available, on average, 147% more time per week for marketing agency clients, than the agency themselves, because we’re online 7am-10pm, 7 days a week, and with the growing threat of security issues it gives peace of mind to clients that they have access to fast responses if issues occur.

With COVID19 and the subsequent lockdown increasing screen time by over 200%, there are more eyes on websites than ever before, so take the leap and consider outsourcing. It’s a win-win situation.