Since it’s nearly impossible for any organization to be without a site, you have finally made the important investment to get a website. But, now that you have one, I bet you’re wondering how to maintain a website you’ve just received.
I’ve designed many websites for various organizations. But, I have checked up on some of my clients websites and have found that there is no new content or that their site needs a serious update. A well maintained site can not only help your organization’s brand, but it can also help your rankings in search engines.
Higher rankings = more visitors = more donors/customers/volunteers. Here are 4 tips for maintaining a website that can help your organization’s appearance looking fresh. Also, if you don’t have time to do any of these, then I have some recommendations for how to save some time in getting these things done.
Have constantly changing content
If you were to only get one thing out of this article, I hope it’s this one: CONTENT IS KING! You should always have some new content on your site. When I talk to people about websites and the internet, I always make comparisons with cities and neighborhoods. A website without changing content is like a billboard on the side of the road. It says something, but it doesn’t catch anyone’s attention.
By having constantly changing content it’s like a billboard… but more like a digital billboard. One that has videos, flashing lights, and dynamic pictures. Which one will get your attention the most on the road–a stagnant billboard or a digital one that changes constantly?
More than likely, the digital billboard wins in getting your attention. Think of your website like a digital billboard on a digital highway. Your site’s ever-changing content helps you compete with others who have similar goals to yours. How? It can help you improve in search rankings.
There are many ways in which you can spice up the content on your website:
Blog Posts & Articles
There are nearly 2 billion websites in existence and most of them have been made with a content management system. As the name implies, it’s a system used for managing content. Regardless if whether you use WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, or a hosting site builder (i.e. GoDaddy, HostGator, Wix), these systems make it easy to create blog posts and articles.
If you’re a business, you can create articles about your products and services. If you’re a charity, you can publish press releases about what your organization is doing. If you’re a ministry, give advice or post the text of your sermons. People use the Internet to find information for something. Use your site as a place where they can get that information.
Calendar of Events
Another way to have constantly changing content would be to have a calendar on your website. The calendar can highlight special events that your organization is doing. Or, you can have your visitors complete a form on your site to submit an event to be posted on your site. Either way, an event calendar can be a simple way to have constantly changing content while serving your community.
Human beings are visual creatures. We like to look at things. Going back to the example of the billboards, which billboard would catch your attention–a billboard with all text or a billboard with some pictures and video? Chances are you would want to look at one with pictures and video. A constantly changing media gallery is a great way to have revolving content.
You can upload pictures from an organizational event. You can embed videos from your YouTube or Facebook account. You can also post audio recordings of your sermons or teachings. A media gallery can engage your visitors into interacting with your site and even make your site more personal.
Moderate and remove comments
This tip is mainly for WordPress websites, but it is a good idea to keep your eyes on this regardless of your platform. If you are successful in getting traffic to your website and having great content, people maybe inclined to leave comments on your articles or pictures.
However, sometimes there are people out there who like to cause trouble. By trouble, I mean using bots to send spam comments or writing negative comments just to be negative (trolling). Sometimes, the comments can be damaging to your visitors or to your online reputation.
It is HIGHLY encouraged to let your visitors leave comments on your site, but every now-and-then moderate your comments. If someone is upset about your product, service, cause, or message, it’s okay to let them vent and express their opinions (free speech). But, use your best judgment in moderation. If it gets to the point that the comment is threatening or dangerous, remove the comment. If it goes too far, get law enforcement involved.
Also, watch out for spammy comments. Sometimes, people will leave weird comments with links to another site that might be filled with viruses. You can tell if it’s spam if the comment does not relate to any content on your site and the link is completely random. If it looks weird, some platforms will allow you to mark the comment as spam (like an email inbox). In that case, mark it as spam or go ahead and delete
Keep your website updated
I know I’ve already written earlier about keeping consistently changing content. This point has nothing to do with your content. This is more about what’s going on under the hood of your website. Your website is like any other computer system or program. Every so often there is a newer version of something for your website. It could be the code, or a module, or a hosting server–your website will have to be able to keep up with the latest trends in internet browsing.
Also, another important reason to keep your website updated is because of hackers. Just like in the real world, there are bad people in the digital world who just like to cause chaos. In the early stages of my freelance web design business, I designed a website for a client that eventually got hacked. Someone injected malicious code on their website which caused some visitors to be redirected to a porn site.
Thanks to the web hosting provider and some articles online, I was able to remove the malicious code and put everything back to normal. But, it did cause a slight hit for the business’ reputation. If you have an outdated website and a hacker gets a hold of it, if left untreated you site could become blacklisted on Google search and it could take a very long time to end up in search results again.
Talk with your web designer or hosting provider now and then to make sure that your website is updated to the latest standards. If you have a WordPress website, make sure your plugins, themes, and core are all updated regularly. Having an updated website will ensure your visitors have a positive experience and keep your online reputation positive.
Get help if you don’t have time
The things listed above can generally be done by you and doesn’t take much time. Most of these things can be done quickly without taking too much time. However, if you don’t have the time or the expertise to get it done, there are ways in which you can maintain your website regularly.
Hire an Employee / Get a Volunteer / Find an Intern
If you have a small business, you could hire someone to just help you with your website. They could also help you do other things for your company, too. If you don’t have the money, then it might not be a bad idea to talk to a local college or university to see how your company can participate in an internship opportunity. There are students looking to get into marketing, public relations, communications, journalism, graphic design, etc. Give them the keys to your website and let it be their responsibility to help you keep up with your website.
If you are a charity or a ministry, let a volunteer help your organization keep your website maintained. Whether your hire someone or you get a volunteer, websites today don’t take a lot of technical knowledge to keep them maintained. You can train someone how to use the platform and then just double check their work. Often times, you might not need to train someone. Either way, it is possible to get outside help for maintaining your site.
Check with Your Web Designer / Hosting Provider
Some web design companies or hosting companies have a service where they will maintain your website for you. It won’t hurt to ask. If they don’t have such a service, they may point you in the right direction to a third-party service.
Unity Tenth does offer “Done-for-You” service, in which you can submit your content and Unity Tenth will add it to your website for you. Check out the quote form for more details.
Use a 3rd Party Service (i.e. Fiverr)
A final way to make sure that your website is well maintained is to use a third-party service. If you did a simple Google search, you could find some companies who specialize in developing content and maintaining your website at a reasonable price.
One company that I would recommend that I’ve used before is Fiverr. Fiverr is, to me, like the Amazon.com of service products. It’s a marketplace filled with real people who are willing to help you with various projects. From web design to content creation to music composing, they have it all. If you would like to check them out for services pertaining to maintaining a website, you can click here. The link is an affiliate link, so if you are new to their services and you take advantage of it, I do get a small commission, so thank you!
You wanted a website. You needed a website. Now, maintain your website! Websites are not a “set it and forget it” investment. It is an extension of your organization’s brand and reputation. It is pretty easy to keep your site regularly maintained. A well-maintained website can help your organization and visitors grow more!