A good website management company should make your life easier by taking away the burden of maintaining your website. If you’re thinking about engaging a company which provides website management services, this article will give some pointers on what to look for and what you should expect them to deliver.
Website management involves a wide range of activities, from creating new pages and images, analysing user data, suggesting improvements, keeping you legal and secure and ensuring your website performs optimally.
Today, the vast majority of websites run using a Content Management System. These systems make it much easier to build and keep websites up-to-date. Examples are WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and Umbraco. For e-commerce sites, we have systems such as Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, and many others.
These systems all have one thing in common – they remove the need for much of the detailed programming knowledge we once needed to build and maintain a website.
New CMS systems are coming out all the time. You should expect your website management company to have detailed knowledge of any of these systems.
CMS systems are brilliant, but they have some drawbacks. They need to be continuously updated with the latest security updates, and need to be kept safe and secure at all times.
Also, sometimes the killer feature you need to install on your website isn’t provided by your CMS. In this case then your website management company (WMC) should be able to create it from scratch.
E-commerce and payment systems
The backbone of many businesses is their ability to trade online. E-commerce is widespread, and many traditional bricks-and-mortar businesses are either adding e-commerce as a channel to sell their products and services, or going completely online and abandoning their shopfronts and stores.
This requires expert knowledge of e-commerce systems, and in particular payment systems. Such systems include PayPal, WorldPay, SagePay, Stripe, Braintree and many others. You should expect your website management company to be able to help you apply for online merchant accounts, keep compliant and legal, and keep your security at a high enough level to stay trading without mishaps.
Pages, posts, images, features
It might sound obvious but a fundamental part of the daily work of a WMC is to produce new web pages, blog posts, images and website features. Your WMC should have demonstrable experience and expertise in producing high-quality content.
If you product your own content, then still your WMC should be able to advise on how and where to best place it online for maximum effect.
Data protection and legal compliance
Businesses often run into difficulties with data protection. What should be protected, and how? With so much data being collected through the web and by email and social media, it’s vital that you stay on the right side of the law.
You should expect your website management company to be able to provide accurate and up to date advice on data protection law and the legal aspects of running your website.
Another all-too-common legal pitfall is copyright and image licencing rights. Too many small businesses have found themselves on the wrong side of legal action by the owners of copyrighted images, videos and text. These materials are extremely easy to copy and reproduce, but it is rarely legal to do so without specific permissions.
Again, you should expect your website management company to have knowledge of these legal areas and be able to advise you how to keep legal.
There’s nothing more important to your business that it’s domain name. Failure to protect this can have fatal consequences for businesses.
Also domain names frequently need to be configured as new services are attached to them. For example, if you change your web hosting provider or email provider, you’ll need to update the records in your domain name. The system of configuring domain names is called DNS (Domain Name System) and you should expect your website management company to be fully competent and familiar with all aspects of DNS, especially website and email domain configuration.
Finally, it almost goes without saying that website management companies should be able to deal with any web hosting environment. This could mean interacting with your web hosting supplier, or managing your VPS, cloud hosting or web servers. It would also mean liasing with your host’s technical support team when necessary.
To recap, your website management company should have expert, demonstrable knowledge of these areas:
- Content Management Systems
- E-commerce and payment systems
- Pages, posts, images and features
- Website security
- Data protection and legal compliance
- Domain name systems and DNS
- Web hosting
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