Okay, your content is compelling, your design is superb and your site is fully registered. Now you can sit back and watch the sales roll in.

Well, not quite!

Once you've created your web site, make sure you keep it fresh.

Ensure that material has not become too outdated.
Add content on a regular basis.

Do not think of your Internet site as a store. It is not a permanent structure meant to last the test of time. Rather, it is more like a magazine. The content must be changed or updated, otherwise no one will read the next issue.

Keeping an archive of older documents can be useful, but if the information has become irrelevant, it's time to remove it.

As mentioned before, most business web sites do not rely on impulse purchasers. Thus, you must give your visitors a reason to return to your site and consider your product/service.

By maintaining your site, by providing new or updated content, you can help to maintain or increase your visitor levels. (Additions can be featured on a What's New! page, or highlighted with a small graphic: ) If people find your site useful, they will tell others about it.

Make sure that your links are working.

Use an automated checker, and check manually every so often as well. This is especially important if you have many external links (links to pages not located on your site).

Consider creating a mailing list to notify users of changes and additions to your web site.

There are services for this, but for businesses on a budget, you can do-it-yourself very easily. For more instructions, read the Newletters section in Content & Newletters.

Answer your e-mail.

It may sound crazy, but many business web sites do not have an established policy on answering e-mail.

Decide what your turn around time will be, and let your visitor know how soon they can expect a response. Be realistic, and make sure you can meet the timetable you set. If visitors question your word on e-mail, you can be certain they will question your other product/service claims.

If at all possible, answer e-mail personally. You can tell when a reply is a form letter. Your e-mail is your direct link to your customers. Let them know you are happy that they contacted you.

Maintenance is key to web site success. It is not necessarily difficult, but it can be a big, time-consuming job. If you are to be successful on-line however, it must be done.

Designate someone in your company to update it, at the very least, every other week. Weekly additions are better.

If you are your company, set aside a certain block of time each week to work on your site.

By using the right tools you can streamline your web site maintenance activities and save yourself a great deal of time.  Site Build It! includes easy to read traffic stats and click analysis so that you can determine how your site is performing and how to improve it. 

It also tracks your marketing efforts by optimizing your pages for search engine ranking and tracking their results.  It even tells you how to improve your rankings and re-submits your site as required.

Site maintenance is essential for on-line success but make sure you take advantage of any software available (such as Site Build It!) that will help you save time for less tedious activities!


Our Library of Links has a list of wonderful resources to help you with your Maintenance Plan.


UPDATED: October 16, 2002
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