May 6, 2016
As builders of websites, we accept the management of websites as part of the cost of doing business. What we really need is to take a look at the costs associated with the management of websites and stop wasting so much time.
The following are six question you should ask yourself.
1. Do you have a good overview of all your websites?
Having a listing of all of your websites with what their status is makes it really easy to look up what is going on with a client. This could be through a spreadsheet, a CRM or a word processor. It can also be built into the CMS itself. The important part is to be able to quickly and easily manage your websites. Seeing when the site was last updated, what notes are there about them, what is the publish status etc., is helpful for support purposes, but also for business development by identifying who could use an upgrade. In addition, filtering by plan, sorting by creation date or alphabetical is also useful.
2. How easy is it to find a website when a client needs an update? How quickly can you log in and start working on it?
When a client calls and needs something done with their website, can you find the website that you are looking for quickly and easily? You should be able to quickly narrow down your search, find the websites you want to work on, login, and do the updates you need. It should be that simple.
3. How easy is it to start a new website and begin adding content? Can a non-technical person do it?
Starting a new website should be simple. Ideally the people closest to the customer, such as Account Managers, Content Creators or Sales people, should be able to create a website at will. It should be easy enough and quick enough that you could do it in front of the customer, and show how easy the system is to use.
4. Can you duplicate a site easily, so that you can start working on a new version?
One of the best ways to start a website upgrade, or even to try out a new organization, is to duplicate a site and start playing with it. Duplication should be a simple process so that your experiment can start right away. It should also be easy to delete the site if the experiment does not work out.
5. Can you add a new user to a site quickly and easily?
What if a client calls and would like to add or delete someone from the site? You should be able to locate the site, find the user and perform the update easily.
Also, can you manage your staff and contractors to be able to say which websites they can work on? Further, can you say who can create / delete /manage websites? It should be possible to do this in a few clicks.
6. How worry free is your hosting and required software upgrades?
How much time do you spend upgrading your CMS rather than supporting your clients? Are you dreading the next time you need to upgrade your servers because of vulnerability? Software upgrades can be time consuming if you are hosting software on your own servers. Using a managed server for WordPress, Drupal or Joomla is easier as they take care of the major updates, but you are often still responsible for upgrading modules. Taking a look at the time it takes to do this is important in terms of understanding how much time you spend managing servers.
Using a “Software as a Service” offering gives a lot of peace of mind, as the vendor takes care of the hosting and the upgrades of the server, so you never, ever need to worry about an upgrade or a vulnerability.
Each of these items may not seem to take a lot of time, but there are a lot of 5-minute jobs that can become 1-minute jobs. It is worth taking a close look at how long it will take to do all of these things because extra time spent on these everyday tasks really adds up.
Tracking your time is a good way of understanding where you can have savings in the monthly management of your websites and a basis to compare it to other systems you may consider using. We have developed a small questionnaire that lets you calculate your monthly costs based on the above. Check it out at:
Calculate the amount of time spent on ordinary tasks. It can be very eye opening.
The one thing in common to most Content Management Systems (CMSs) is they do not have an overall way of managing a collection of websites.
Looking around the website market today, there are a lot of ways to build a website. You can use a CMS which can be developer focused, may have slick user interfaces, and/or are focused on ecommerce. Others may prefer using desktop tools.
For historical reasons, websites have essentially been islands that are managed one at a time. This made sense when websites were created on servers using command prompts, but it doesn’t anymore given the current age of sophisticated online tools. Managing one website at a time is fine if you are taking care of one or a few websites and as the number of websites grows the management of all those websites becomes very cumbersome.
All of these little tasks can add up quickly. There are many new ways to consolidate these activities, manage them faster and more efficiently so you are focused on growing your business.
The management of websites is an area that is often overlooked and can be a big drain of resources. It is worth taking a look at the time you spend on these tasks to see how they add up. Remember, every task you can automate means more time to spend with your customers growing your business.
Arni Mikelsons is a Co-Founder of YikeSite, a content-driven CMS that simplifies the management of many websites.
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