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Why Website Maintenance Is Important
Once a website is successfully launched, it is tempting to simply mark it off the project management list and move on to other project needs. However, unless regular attention is given to ongoing website maintenance, a website can quickly become obsolete, making it unlikely that it will achieve the goals set forth in the early stages of website project management. Consider these five reasons why ongoing website maintenance is an essential step in website project management.
1. Outdated websites give the impression of outdated services and expertise. When credibility and consumer confidence are lost, the bottom line suffers.
2. Relevant and updated content is more likely to capture the attention of online users. A lack of up-to-date content invites visitors to try other website options.
3. Search engine rankings improve with refreshed content. Targeting website management goals for search engine optimization on an ongoing basis will maximize this valuable component of attracting online visitors.
4. Ongoing maintenance is usually less expensive in the long run than overhauling a website that is completely outdated.
5. Regular evaluation of a website provides a springboard for addressing new visitor needs and implementing new website content ideas.
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How Website Maintenance Can Be Accomplished
With the proper evaluation, planning and resource management, ongoing website maintenance can easily be incorporated into overall website project management. Here are a few steps that can make website maintenance project management more successful.
1. Review website content areas and determine what will need routine updates. Using a final website content outline like the one described in Part 1 of this Website Project Management series, list content sections and specific pages that need revisions. Categorize website content updates according to what will need to be maintained on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or as-needed basis. This set of tasks will form the basis of your website maintenance project management plan of action.
2. Establish a working website maintenance calendar for completion of various updates. The website maintenance project management calendar should include not only a schedule for various updates but it also projected time frames for content research, development, proofing and a final launch of required content changes.
3. Delegate various website content tasks to the appropriate content developers. Website project managers should take into account a content developer's workload since website maintenance represents an ongoing commitment. Project managers should also consider a team member's familiarity with the content and organizational skills, as well as a firm understanding of search engine optimization techniques.
4. Interface with website programming professionals who will execute the coding and launch of updates to ensure the website maintenance schedule can be achieved in the recommended time frame. Also, procure training in the use of any in-house website content management systems for the website maintenance project team.
5. Track time, personnel and resources allocated to each area of the ongoing website maintenance project. Information about the resources required to maintain various areas of a website can offer website project managers valuable insight into the feasibility of various website content and the need for any database-generated system to eliminate excessive manual updating.
7. Put checks and balances in place. Because website maintenance tasks will likely be spread over a range of team members and time periods, it might not be feasible for all changes to be filtered through one proofer. However, even small content revisions can benefit from a second pair of eyes. Pair content developers with other team members who are able to proofread changes for grammatical and spelling errors or inaccuracies. This added layer of project review can ensure website professionalism.
8. Use the website. The best way for website project managers to gage the success of ongoing website maintenance is to actually spend time on the site. When project managers are able to use the website as a resource for company or organizational information, contacts, research and idea-generation, you can rest assured the target online audience will be able to use it as well.
Website Project Management: Managing Ongoing Website Maintenance
This series features tips on how project managers can manage website content development effectively, including an overview of website content best practices, tips on working with multiple content contributors and website contractors, and last minute content checks before website launch.