OK, your new website is live, and you didn’t do a maintenance agreement with the web design company. Now that the heavy lifting is done, what happens next? What kind of support should you get from the web design company? If you aren’t paying a maintenance fee, is there anything at all the web design company should do for you?
Speaking for Richmond Media, yes, there is an expectation of service after the site is live, whether you have a maintenance contract or not. I cannot speak for all web design companies, but here is what we offer for “free” support.
- Google Analytics – We keep all of our clients on two central Google analytics accounts (we ran out of available accounts and had to start a second one). At least once a week we look at all of our clients’ Analytics reports. If a site is suddenly getting no traffic at all it can let us know that the site is offline, or is having serious problems. And having all clients on a central account allows us to spot trends that can affect all of our clients.
- Easy edits are usually free – Even though we now build content management sites exclusively, a lot of clients don’t do much to maintain them. That means that they can forget how, if the site doesn’t need a lot of updating. If a client asks for an edit that we can do easily… we do it for them. My guideline is usually that if it takes under 15 minutes, it’s free. Within reason of course. No one is going to do a 15 minute edit three times a week for free. But if you need to change your business hours, or the phone number on your footer, no problem,
- Serious problems with plugins – We don’t keep up with every plugin that comes out with an update, that’s usually not necessary. But once in awhile a plugin will become a security risk. Last month a social media plugin we use for most of our clients presented that problem. We updated over 30 websites with the new version of the plugin, to keep the sites secure. For free.
- General updates – We use WordPress a lot, and sometimes a new version comes out. Again, we don’t update every one of our clients if it’s not a critical update. But any time we do an edit or fix an unrelated problem we update that website, along with any plugins that need it.
- Revisit the website – We generally try to look over every single client website at least once a month. Nothing too deep, just a look to make sure that the site is working, the links are going to the right places, and that there are no load time problems.
Do all web design companies do this for their clients? I doubt it. But this has gotten us a LOT of return business from existing clients, and that really helped us get through the recession.
In closing, no matter who designs your website, having this kind of customer service is something you need to consider as a factor in the price of the site.