If all companies were the same, wouldn’t businesses choose a local provider for website maintenance services? Decades ago, computing services were local. You had to have in-house IT support or a company nearby that could come in and perform the services that you required. That is the business model of the past. Now, through virtualization and remote server technologies, companies of all sizes can obtain IT support from wherever they want. This means that you could choose Provider XYZ on the other side of the world if it offers a good price and acceptable levels of quality and service. You wouldn’t be able to talk to their IT people face-to-face, but you could Skype with them. You would want to ensure, however, that your website is secure and operational throughout the year. Here, we look at what makes a good website maintenance contract.
Customers should look beyond the bold text and the pricing structure and consider the value that a provider suggests for its price:
Website maintenance contracts should include the services that are provided after the website has been designed and launched. For example, a site design might include a hosting service, a content management system, and server applications that handle all of the features of the website. Many of these applications are automated, but someone will need to monitor how the site performs and to fix any bugs. If the site goes down, the website maintenance provider may have to log extra hours getting it back up and running. Your maintenance contract shields you from the brunt of that expense.
Look for a provider with a menu of packages. You don’t want to pay for what you don’t need. For a package priced at say just $79 dollars per month, for example, you should receive all website maintenance services and then have the company bill you at an hourly rate for additional work performed. If you buy a more expensive plan, you might see a more competitive hourly rate for additional labor hours. A website provider should make the cost affordable to an organization of your size.
Look for a provider that includes the contract language that protects your business and theirs if legal issues arise. For example, a website maintenance provider wants certain guarantees that your company is operating within copyright laws and generally accepted business practices. Too keep the content on your website legal, your company must own the copyrights of all logos, photographs, graphic art elements, videos, sound recordings, text, and applications, or your company must give proper attribution to these elements as required by their respective owners. Never use products that are for non-commercial use only on a business website. A good habit to keep is to maintain licenses to use any software that supports your website’s functionalities. And finally, you should own your domain and be current on your web hosting fees. While the website maintenance staff may handle hosting and licensing of software for your site’s servers, they wouldn’t expect to keep track of all your company’s uses of copyrighted content.
If you have a content management system for your website, then its design should give you a method for uploading different kinds of content from a dashboard. For example, your teachers might upload their lesson plans weekly to a central repository. This means that your internal employees can keep the content updated without having to send everything to a webmaster, unless, of course, that is the kind of professional support that you want. Some website maintenance providers (like Bash Foo) are actually part of a digital media agency, which may also offer online marketing support. In that case, your website could be maintained and supplied with fresh content by the same agency.
For more details on website maintenance contracts, please contact us today.
Also published on Medium.