Let's look at factors of keep your website updated
(This is the third of a three-part blog series on the costs surrounding redesigning, building and maintaining a website. The first blog gives specifics on the build portion and the second blog gives specifics on maintenance). When asking "How much does it cost to keep a website updated?" you have to factor in the costs of adding making site changes, adding fresh content, and ongoing efforts to drive traffic to your site (marketing, SEO, PPC), as well as monitoring. I'll cover each of these areas in this post.
Costs to Update a Website
Perhaps your company was featured in newsworthy story. Or there's a big sale going on this weekend. Or you hired a new agency to facilitate your inbound marketing efforts (shameless plug for Weyer Web Works!). From time to time, you're going to need to make small site changes to your website. In some cases you're adding a new headshot and information about a new hire or replacing information on someone who left your company. Regardless of the reason, your website needs to be updated.
Who facilitates this?
- If your website is built on a CMS (content management system), it's possible that someone from your company can do the update (or an external resource can facilitate).
- If your website does not have a CMS (or you don't have anyone trained internally), an outside resource is going to need to be engaged (since this requires coding).
Why is this important?
Your website is a representation of your company.
- Words matter.
- Images matter.
- How things look matter.
- How your site functions to be able to showcase this information matters.
A couple of quotes from an article in Entrepreneur brings this point home for the small business owner:
"Who you are should be based to some extent on who your target customers want and need you to be."
"Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company's products or services that allows you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products command."
The cost to update a website and to make site changes will be a function of either internal expense (time spent by employees to facilitate X their hourly pay) or external expense (time spent by outside resource X rate) AND the cost of it not being correct needs to be factored in. You don't get a second chance to make a first impression, and mistakes on your website can cost you business.
Adding Fresh Content / Updating & Monitoring Social Channels
There is a distinction between the topic above and this one. Many companies realize the importance of consistently adding new content to their site (regardless of whether they facilitate an actual marketing plan). Further, they realize the need to at least keep their social channels updated (Facebook, Twitter and the like) and the need to monitor social media for customer service reasons.
Who facilitates this? And what tools are used?
- Adding fresh content means adding NEW pages (not updating existing) and requires the same level of professionalism that went into building your site.
- Utilizing proper tags on each page (H1, H2, H3, alt tags for images) is very important for search engine rankings.
- Posting to different social channels requires a very specific skill set and experience.
- Tools are available to manage, post and monitor your social channels (Hootsuite, Tweetdeck are examples, and HubSpot also has a complete "social management" offering in its platform).
- Like above, either an internal resource (employee) or an external resource would facilitate.
"Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does."
– Steuart Henderson Britt, US author
A new website will not generate much traffic at all without some type of traffic plan. If an existing website has not been generating traffic or measurable results in the way of leads or customers, just going through a redesign or rebuilding your site will not automatically increase your traffic. Our bias is always the same: Websites should generate traffic that converts to meet business goals.
A primary benefit of inbound marketing is that by adding the right content that matches with your target audience (buyer persona) at the proper time in the sales funnel (buyer's journey), you will increase your traffic. It's a marketing investment (the cost to keep a website updated) that pays dividends.
SEO (search engine optimization)
Another key component of increasing site traffic is to utilize ongoing SEO strategies to increase your website's "ranking" in search engines like Google, which serves to give each of your targeted pages added traffic.
- Part of this strategy should be in the initial website build planning (to ensure your existing site pages are coded properly and follow good SEO guidelines and align with the right keywords)
- Ongoing strategy also needs to occur with every new piece of content that's added to your site
- Additionally, there are various linking strategies to deploy over time to increase domain and page rankings
PPC (pay per click / paid marketing)
Another way to generate site traffic is to pay for it.
- Pay-per-click advertising can be utilized on some of the same keywords and phrases you are trying to rank for in natural (organic) search
- Other paid marketing options (banner ads through various content networks and retargeting of ads to existing visitors).
The old saying "What gets measured gets managed" does ring true. It's difficult to know what's working or not working with your website if you don't set targets and monitor results. Analysis and measurement require special tools (Google Analytics is a free tool and HubSpot offers an outstanding suite of monitoring and reporting tools).
Recap - Costs to Keep a Website Updated
Expertise / Tools / Time
The consistent theme in this 3-part blog series is that there is always a "range" in the amount a company should invest for their website build / their ongoing maintenance / and the cost to keep website updated and generating traffic and results.
- IF you are a smaller company that just wants a basic website with very little in the way of ongoing maintenance or site updating. You have options on the lower end of the range. Your upfront and ongoing investment will be small - and the ROI you receive from your efforts will be also be small
- IF you are an SMB that wants to carve a niche or have a unique brand / a website that reflects that brand / and an ongoing plan to drive targeted traffic to convert to business - the range of your investment will be similar to that of your best salesperson. The ROI you receive from your efforts will be commensurate.
Marketing Metrics That MATTER
Thank you for taking the time to read our three-part series. Please augment your research and your understanding on marketing cost for websites by reviewing the 6 Marketing Metrics covered in our free ebook, "The 6 Marketing Metrics Your Boss Actually Cares About". Download your copy today by clicking on the cover below: