So you developed this super duper website and you think you are all set for life. Not so fast. What about ongoing maintenance? What? Yes – ongoing maintenance. The underlying operating systems on servers change over time. The code in which the website is developed changes over time. Some commands get deprecated, that is, newer commands and functions are introduced and the older ones are no longer supported. New security patches are introduced to plug previously unknown security holes. If you don’t keep your website maintained, sooner or later some parts of it will stop working, it will start looking broken down and worst of all you may get hacked.
In addition, newer displays and devices are introduced every few years and your website may not be compatible with them.
Did all that convince you about the need for ongoing maintenance? Good. The next question is who do you hire for ongoing maintenance? You can hire the same people that developed the website if you are comfortable with them. Or, you can hire an alternate company to do it for you. Some people prefer to pay a monthly retainer fee and then a little extra per hour for hours worked, others pay a flat per hour fee for as many hours as required.
Some people prefer to float bids and ask for fixed priced quotes for ongoing maintenance. That is the worst approach. The companies and freelancers that may bid have no idea of your underlying code and it’s like throwing darts in the dark. They want your business and may bid low to win your business. But if upon starting work they find the work involved is a lot more than they anticipated, they will abandon ship. You will have to go through the bidding process all over again and hope the next guy won’t abandon you. What a waste of your time. If you value your time, you will not do any such thing.
The best approach is to hire a company or individual for the long run. Let them get familiar with you and vice versa. The peace of mind, comfort level and website uptime is worth more than the difference of a few dollars.
If you prefer to talk to the provider about issues and improvements on the phone during your business hours, then hire someone locally or an international provider who has an office in your country.
Ongoing maintenance can also take care of additional functions and features that you or your customers may be asking for. A website is an asset. It must adapt and grow with your business. That means you must prune and add quite regularly especially if you are in the world of ecommerce or provide a service through the website.
I hope that helped.