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The Support Imperative

Evolutionary steps

“Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative.”

--H.G. Wells

Building your website is an exciting process, as well as an exacting one.  Much goes into the initial build of your website--information gathering, planning, design, development, testing & QA--all to ensure that your website meets the needs of your organization.  Once it is complete and your website is online, you’re done!  Right?

Not exactly--not if you intend for your site to continue to thrive, that is.  Perhaps the biggest mistake that can be made is to approach website development as a discrete project. But websites are organic, left unattended and they quickly die. This is especially true in today’s world where websites are driven by dynamic technology. In order for a site to be successful, there must be an ongoing organizational commitment to maintaining the site. 

What kind of committment? For starters, it will need simple maintenance...such as security patches, server tweaks, and search-engine optimization.  And just as an organization evolves to meet the challenges of the day, so, too, must its website strategy.  Non-profits seeking new ways to get their message out cannot rely on the dated ideas to attract supporters, and dollars.  

So what can you do?

Develop a year-long plan. Set aside the following percentages of the original website development budget to address these critical needs:

  • 10% for software updates, server tweaks, and other mundane technical issues.
  • 30% for new features to take advantage of the latest trends (slideshows, interactive maps, social media integrations, etc.)
  • 20% for ongoing search engine optimization
  • 20% for ongoing staff training (How do I embed Youtube videos into my site content?)

Of course this does not even take into account the staff time that will need to be set aside for content updates. And speaking of staff time, keeping up a website is a full-time job. Do not expect to be able to add additional duties to an existing staffer. The website will require dedicated human resources. But that’s another blog... 

To summarize, ongoing support is essential to keep your website current and a focus point for internet traffic.  Truly, it is just as important, if not more important, than the initial build.  Achieving means adapting.  

Oh, and did I mention, 4Site has recently implemented a new support system, making support easier than ever:)  If you are a current customer and have not yet done so, click the “support” link to get started.