Over the years I’ve walked hundreds of people through creating and launching a website. The process is throughout. They get a walk through at the end, as well as a list of regular tasks they’ll need to have me handle, someone internally, or hire another professional to ensure their site is always up to date, running smoothly, compliant with best practices.

First, a reminder for those of you preparing for your new website, once it’s launched, that’s just the start.

After that you need to consider maintenance, analytics reviews to see what’s working, what is broken, what’s super effective. You also need to add regular content. It’s not a printed brochure. If you treat your website like a printed brochure, it will end up at the bottom of the pile of search and will eventually be buried in the landfill of the web.

Once I had a client who was on a tight budget, I did my best to help her get started. Her site morphed into three different ones that were quick to do, but were not part of the agreement. My mistake here. I should have stopped, reviewed, and revised the agreement. Once the sites launched I didn’t hear from her for over a year where she sent me a scathing email because her sites were no longer working and it was my fault. She had an expired credit card in the system so nothing renewed automatically as I had set it up. She didn’t respond to the reminder emails for renewals several months ahead of time. Her sites were gone and she had to pay for them to be found from archived back up since she didn’t want to pay to store backups off the hosting server. She did not want to pay me for my time to help. We finally agreed on an amount and I was able to get everything taken care of for her. All of this could have been avoided. At that point I reviewed all ways for her to access her accounts, website admin, hosting admin, and more to make sure she was able to hand it off to another professional or take care of it herself.

Second reminder for those of you preparing to launch your new website, make sure you have all the keys.

This means the website admin, the hosting admin, domain registration admin, email hosting admin, SSL admin, and that you, as the client, are the OWNER, not just an additional user. Same with Google Analytics, social media accounts for your company. YOU need to be the owner. Have the person who set it up for you transfer ownership before final payments are made. There are no excuses.

Create a spreadsheet that you OWN. Share it with only the people you trust to work on your account. Share the bare minimum of access. If you change a password, update it on the sheet. If you change providers, change the password to the sheet before you make the switch and change your passwords on all accounts.

Do not trust auto-renewals, even with bigger hosting companies. Mark the date a few days ahead of time on your calendar with a nagging reminder, and VERIFY it will or did auto-renew.

The third reminder is regarding photos and graphics, music, and more used on your website; verify a license has been obtained for you to use it on your site.

Keep the license for EACH image in a folder that you own on Drive or your computer in case you ever have to prove you can use it. ASK the person in writing if they have secured the rights for you to use the specifically named images. If not, find new images, and a new developer. Royalty-free images are inexpensive, especially compared to the fees paid for unauthorized use of music, video, images, graphics, content.

Annual maintenance items include:

  • Domain renewal
  • Verify credit card in EACH of these services is current and that auto-renewals are set up.
  • SSL renewal
  • Added security, malware protection renewal
  • Hosting renewal
  • Some themes require annual renewal
  • Some plugins, scripts require annual renewal subscriptions for updates
  • Email hosting renewals – monthly or annually
  • Back up services that should be separate from your website hosting in case one goes kerflooey, you have back up somewhere safe
  • Copyright updated in footer
  • Review of privacy agreements
  • Review of staff/team lists
  • Review of services offered
  • Review of newsletter subscription campaigns, as well as drip campaign messages

If you want my help with any pieces of these reminders, please let me know. I can walk your internal marketing people through it, help you secure access to your own assets if you don’t have it and clean everything up.