The Real Cost of Website Ownership
Owning a Website vs. Maintaining a Website
A very wise industry expert once explained the whole premise of website ownership in one profound analogy: he said “Think of a website as a car.” The insight lying within that deceptively simple statement is rather remarkable. Let’s indulge this theory by example. Assume a website is a car – and that car drives your business. Is it showy – something you use to take clients out in? Or is it a workhorse – taking customer orders and delivering product? Either way, now you have a visual – you have a vehicle that drives business.
As we all know, you don’t just buy a car and you’re done – even with the extended warranty. There are ongoing maintenance concerns and expenses that you need to constantly be on top of otherwise the car just doesn’t move. The same principles apply to a website, with some pretty-apparent similarities. Take the two lists below:
Standard Car Maintenance:
- Engine Maintenance (Oil Changes/Tune-ups)
- Brake Pads
- Wiper Blades
- Headlights/Brake Lights
- External/Internal Details (Wash/wax/vacuum)
Standard Website Maintenance:
- Platform Upgrades
- Security Updates
- Plug-in Updates
- Anti-Virus Patches
- SEO Updates
- Mobile Functionality
- Browser Updates
- Content Maintenance
There is no question that without due diligence in maintaining the items in either list that neither vehicle will function well, if at all. However, there is a pervasive, unspoken perception with many business owners that once the check is written for the original website design and launch, that the list on the right comes with it. Worse yet, when faced with the reality that it’s not, some business owners often fall victim to opting for one of these three HUGE mistakes in handling their digital marketing investment:
Ignore the situation altogether
Attempt to “handle it themselves” internally
Do as little as possible to stay functional
As obvious as it is that NONE of these options represent an effective solution, many business owners fall short on securing their investment. And the costs associated with potential damage resulting from improper maintenance can be literally crippling to any business. Consider the following scenarios:
“Ignorance is Bliss”
Although in this situation, you’d be better off with the full lobotomy. Updates to your platform, plugins, and themes are critical to increasing your security by patching vulnerabilities and strengthening against attacks. Hackers and other malicious parties literally watch for release notes. Until you update, your site is vulnerable. Unfortunately, many updates are NOT automatic, or can be suspended until the user initiates – by then, it is often too late. Here’s an interesting statistic:
“83% of hacked WordPress blogs are not upgraded.”
When was yours upgraded?
Not staying up with updates on all fronts is analogous to not checking the oil in your car. Your car’s engine will eventually seize up and fail. “Assuming” it will get done “somehow” because you paid a lot for it, well, just doesn’t make sense. Worse yet, if the vehicle is a truck for your company generating revenue, you have even bigger problems.
“Who’s at the Helm?”
Another crippling decision is handing over website maintenance and content to “someone” in the office. Giving access to your digital existence to an untrained professional can be just as damaging as sharing your password with any hacker. Having a nice Facebook page does not count as “experience.”
If your car drove your business, would you hand over the keys and maintenance to your mother-in-law? Or your teenage intern? Your website IS the virtual representation of your business identity. It needs to be clean, current, operational. Another interesting statistic:
“According to researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, it takes less than two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form a first opinion of your brand once they’ve visited your website, and just another 2.6 seconds for that viewer’s eyes to concentrate in a way that reinforces that first impression.”
Now think about picking your biggest client up at the airport.
Owning a website IS like owning a car – in principle and in discipline. The same ideology could and should be applied when discussing website maintenance. Too much is riding on your business to ignore it or do it yourself. A mechanic works on your car, a digital marketing professional should be maintaining your website.
We leave you with two questions:
- Who does your brakes?
- Who does your website maintenance?
Hopefully, they’re not the same guy.