Maintaining your company website

I’m going to take a break from the UX and product stuff to talk about about website maintenance and upkeep. Someone asked about this a while back and it’s been on my mind since. I figure now is a good time as any to answer it. I hope this helps you, too.

<!– side note for the non-technical set

Make sure you and your team can easily access (and create new content on) your company’s website via a Content Management System. If you don’t have one or can’t implement one, then you’ll need to find someone who’s comfortable working with web files and FTP.

end side note –>

From our experience, there are two(ish) ways to approach website maintenance and upkeep:

Decentralized Maintenance and Upkeep
In a decentralized website maintenance workflow, you allow each department or stakeholder to monitor their section of the website and perform updates as needed. This can get tricky if you don’t have some solid scripting in place to validate inputs, or a way ensure that all updates adhere to coding standards and branding guidelines. And you may need to perform an audit sweep every month or quarter to make sure everything is on the up and up.

And you really need to make sure that corresponding departments communicate with one another. For example, if marketing decides to promote a particular offering, then they need to notify the business owners who will be affected by the promotion so they can update their web sections accordingly.

This isn’t a terrible approach, but your site can turn into a hot mess very quickly if you’re not careful.

Centralized Maintenance and Upkeep
In a centralized website maintenance workflow, one individual or team is responsible for executing all changes and updates, with any and all requests funneling in via a maintenance request form or process. A former client of ours used a help desk tool for this purpose, but you can use whatever you want, as long as it works for you and your company. Just make sure that all requests have a way to funnel in. The web team is then responsible for prioritizing the work, performing due diligence and ensuring on-time delivery.

The only downside we’ve seen is that the team-in-charge can get overloaded from time to time. So you may want to have some trusted people within your organization on standby.

This, in our opinion, is the way to.

Most of one and a little of the other
That being said, there is no right or wrong. And it is possible to centralize most of your website, while decentralizing one or two areas, especially if those sections require frequent updates and you trust the person making those changes.

image via Visualhunt.com