Step 12 – Establish a Website Support Plan

12 Part Series for a Small Business Website

Getting a new website is not just about the development project. Having an effective and affordable website support plan in place is crucial to the success of your business. Maintaining a small business website can be difficult, especially when your business is growing.

Many small business owners fail to consider the total cost of ownership when starting a web development project. In fact, most of our clients come to us with outdated websites that have been neglected and unsupported. Many have lost the ability to access the Content Management System (CMS) of their website to do even the simplest of updates. Some have also lost access to their domain name (Registrar account).

Many Small Business Website Owners Under-Estimate Support Requirements

By far, a website support plan including update, backup and maintenance is the most under-estimated part of website ownership. There is an ongoing level-of-effort and cost associated with your website. Because of this, we don’t really think of ourselves as a web development company. Rather, we’re a customer-service organization offering a simple website service that includes life-time support for our customers.

Elements of an Effective Website Support Plan

An effective website support, backup and maintenance plan should include the following.

Website Content Edits

Your business evolves and so must your website. As your business grows, it’s important that your website always reflects the most up-to-date information about your business. 

This may include changes to your NAP (Name, Address or Phone Number) if you move, additions or removal of services or products, pricing changes, special promotions, professional staff (job titles, personal biographies), hours of operations (including special seasonal or holiday hours).  

Some small business website owners may require additional pages be developed for their site, logo changes, new images or other files added regularly. In this case you will need a resource to complete the task of adding content in a timely manner.

It can be difficult to keep track of all the changes that need to be made to your website. It is easy for things to fall through the cracks when you’re also managing a growing business. If you’re planning to do all updates of your small business website on your own, make sure you have a website support plan that sets aside ample time to regularly login to your WordPress site, Registrar and hosting accounts. 

Software and Software License Updates

Developers often issue updates to software used on websites. This includes updates to WordPress themes and plug-ins that your site is using as well as to WordPress itself or software used by your hosting service provider. Updates are regularly issued by software developers in response to new security issues that are discovered from time-to-time.

Make sure you have a plan in place to identify and install necessary software updates as they are released.

Regular Backups

Things can and do go wrong with websites periodically. When (not if!) that happens, you’ll need to be able to restore your website quickly.

We believe that ideally, websites should be backed up at least once a day. Each backup is a “snapshot” of the entire website (content, code, database, etc.) that can be used to fully restore a website in case of hardware failure, spam attacks, human error or other unexpected failures.

We backup our customer websites on a nightly basis as well as saving “snapshots” of weekly and monthly backups.

Daily backup is advisable even if your small business website is not frequently updated with new content since it may still have plugins and themes which are updated regularly. For example, restoring a backup from an older version of WordPress can be problematic because updates are constantly being released. This means that your site may not have all the latest plugins and themes, which could lead to security issues.

Test Your Backup and Restore Process Periodically

Note that backing up your website frequently is only one half of this equation. You must have an effective work process to restore your backups as well.

Make sure you regularly test this process to confirm that you are able to restore your website from a backup file. This is not a trivial task. You may want to consider a service that can allow you to streamline the process for backup and restore of your website.

Maintaining a small business website requires ongoing effort and investment. By implementing a comprehensive support plan that includes regular content updates, software updates, daily backups, and reliable restore processes, you can ensure your website remains secure, functional, and up-to-date.

Don’t underestimate the importance of website support. A well-maintained website not only enhances your online presence but also supports the growth and success of your business.

We hope you have found this 12-step guide to a Small Business Website helpful in planning your small business website project. Of course, we believe most small business owners should spend their time working on their business and not their website.

At the end of the day, a reputable website developer who can leverage economies of expertise and scale to provide good support (including phone support – from a REAL PERSON) can save you money (and headaches) over the lifetime of your business. Of course, we are biased when we say this. However, this insight also comes with years of experience working with hundreds of business owners. The struggle is real.

We build custom, professional small business websites. However, we cannot say that our websites are necessarily “better” than what others can build. In fact, we do not think that is true. Rather, our business is successful because of the support we offer to our customers.

We don’t just build a website and toss it over the fence. By far, the biggest part of our business is what we do once the client’s sites are completed. This removes the burden of website management from our customers and allows them to focus on building their businesses.

Simple Website Service

Simple Website Service is an affordable, turn-key, custom professional website service for small business owners. Our website design solution comes with full ongoing support for updates, maintenance, security and backup. Our customers speak with a REAL person. With over 100 customers, our singular focus allows us to keep costs down for our customers. Small business websites are ALL we do. For over 17 years, we’ve listened to our customers – small business owners who need help creating professional websites that truly represent their brand. But, traditional options are expensive and time consuming while templated do-it-yourself solutions fail to capture the essence of what makes their businesses unique. That’s why we created Simple Website Service for small business owners who don’t have the time to wade through the complexities of a web project.

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