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Website Maintenance -- How Do I Keep My Website Updated?



Website Maintenance -- How Do I Keep My Website Updated?

 

The beauty of websites is that they can undergo changes on a regular basis – even daily. Many websites, however, once launched, sit there getting older and more out-of-date by the moment. It is obvious when we visit a website and find the events in the calendar listed for the year 2000.

Google and Yahoo search regularly for changes on websites, and those that are updated regularly with good content rank higher in the ratings. In this article, I share some processes for keeping your website maintained and up-to-date.

Process #1. Make an agreement with your web designer. Even though I offer my clients ways that they will be able to do their own maintenance, 95% would prefer for me do the updates. I even offer a service to help them learn an authoring program as we develop the website, so that they can take the site over once it is launched. Still, most find that sending me the information regularly and having me do the updates for an hourly rate works best for them. So, I am advising you to find out if the designer/developer you hire will be willing to maintain the site, for what rate, and for how long.

Process #2. Plan to use Macromedia’s publishing program, Contribute (now at level 3). This program will work for all websites -– even if they were not created using a Macromedia product. Contribute’s capabilities include connecting to your live website, making a draft of the page you want to update, doing the editing, changing and updating, and then publishing it back on the live website. Contribute works like a regular desktop program, making changes as quick and easy as everyday work on your computer.

If you need to run changes to the site by someone else, you can upload the changed file to a temporary page and send an e-mail with its address to all who need to take a look. You can also start to make changes and save the draft you are working on until you are ready to publish it. There are rollback features, so that you won’t lose the original if you want to bring it back. You can also create new pages and publish them to the website.

Process #3. Either design and develop your own website or work with a willing designer. This is someone who will teach you the “ropes” and help you set up your site -- on your own computer -- in a professional manner.

* This mentor should help you with graphics and understanding more than just the basics.

* When someone asks me to fill this role, unless he or she is already web and computer software savvy, I suggest using FrontPage, even though my authoring program of choice is Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004. In my opinion, the learning curve for Dreamweaver is steep, and those who have been working regularly with Microsoft products will find FrontPage friendlier and more cost effective.

* Once you have learned the program and have experienced uploading, testing and launching, you should be ready and able to maintain your website on a regular basis.

Overall Process. Make a maintenance schedule and stick with it. You may have a designer do the updates, the program Contribute to use yourself, or the files for your website right on your computer. No matter which of these descriptions fit, you are the one who is responsible for keeping up with your site.

If you include events, delete the ones past and add the new ones (weekly is a good idea). Remove old news that no longer applies. Update descriptions. Add a new photo and/or graphic, a new article or heading, and a new offer. Think of ways to make your website lively and interesting so that visitors will want to return on a regular basis.

 


About the Author

Chris King is a professional website creator / designer, storyteller, writer, free agent, and fitness instructor. You will find her business website at http://www.creativekeys.biz and her information website at http://www.creativekeys.net


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