The fact is, most businesses don’t think about their web services until things go seriously south. Productivity is the lifeblood of your business. Your business relies on the strength of its online presence and functionality 24 hrs a day.
Most small-medium businesses use an IT services provider that looks after the day to day hardware and software configuration and general user issues for your network. But your online assets can fall between the cracks of their mostly hardware-based care.
That’s where Managed Web Services, provided by a technically capable digital agency with years of experience can help. Because your business needs 360-degree coverage.
What do you need to know when choosing your Managed Web Services Plan?
It’s generally one of the first decisions about your website that you don’t even realise your making. Most web companies provide their own hosting for various reasons and this is something you will simply need to pay for an ongoing monthly rate. But do you really know what you’re paying for?
Hosting is about how your website is served up to the public and includes many parameters. Generally, you don’t even realise what’s happening int he background until something actually goes pear-shaped. Maybe your site is down. Maybe your load times are really slow. Maybe you’ve been hacked and you have all kinds of suspicious emails outbound that are phishing. All of these could be due to your hosting. Having a hosting company that is on duty 24hrs for customer support of your business should anything happen should be a top priority. Your Web Managed Services should always be guaranteed by a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with performance and service delivery KPIs. Reliability and performance could make or break your business quickly.
Website bandwidth & throttling
Making sure that your website has enough pipeline to handle your requests and traffic is paramount. Many providers promise unlimited service but should you have a surge (Black Friday sales) then there could be throttling (limiting bandwidth) or complete shut down of your site. This is something you hear about all the time. Someone has a product that goes viral - the site gets millions of hits and the site goes down. It either can’t handle the traffic, or the host shuts it down because it thinks its an attack.
Also, consider storage - making sure that you have enough storage for intense videos, big databases will potentially slow your website down and in the long run affect ranking and user experience.
Maintaining domain registration
Most Web companies will help you with managing this. They will either purchase the domain for your company and host that for the website, or at the very least their hosting will be pointing to your website domain. Remember. You should ALWAYS maintain ownership of your domain. Your hosting company simply uses DNS records to make sure that it’s pointing to your hosting. They may also manage this for you along with your renewals to make it a seamless service and you never need to worry about annual renewals and accidentally letting your domain expire. Should that happen there is no telling what could happen and at the very worst someone could purchase your domain name and all the good value that has gone into it? Unless you are 100% sure that you can keep track of this and renew, then let your WMS take care of it for you.
Is your website server secure?
Cybersecurity is the new paradigm of websites. Data breaches, ransomware attacks, crypto-jacking - It’s all part of the new cyber economy and without hesitation - your website will need to defend itself in the very near future.
Here are some frightening statistics about cybersecurity:
- Hacking and breaches are projected to cost the global economy $2.1 trillion by the end of 2019. That’s more than 4X the cost since 2015.
- 95% of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error
- Major economy sectors targeted are government, retail, and technology.
- In 2018 hackers stole half a billion personal records.
- Top types of attack are DDoS attack, Man-in-the-middle (MitM), Phishing, Password attack, SQL injection, and 3rd Party Apps.
You need to make sure that your Webhosting company has next-level security for both your hosting and mail servers. Not only for your company assets but also for all of your customer database information. Security patches and updates are necessary routine services.
Ensure your website is backed up
Should something happen to your site and its not recoverable, the next option is to have solid redundant back-ups so that when things break you can have another site up and running again in as little time as possible. Occasionally updates/combined with and other new code can completely break your site. It’s always good to have a monthly update especially if you are making regular updates and changes/additions. Backups can also chew up a lot of data storage so make sure that you don’t have/need more than 2-3 versions of most recent/historical. Make sure your backend processes are zipped uptight for your business assurance.
Who is doing your platform, API and software updates?
It’s not unusual to need updates to your CMS, Database and platforms on a monthly basis. Security patches and updates are designed to keep your website running efficiently and securely. Eventually all the moving parts to your website will need to be migrated to upgraded versions, or as some components are not supported anymore (can be an issue with open platforms) will new solutions will need to be found as they will no longer work with newer code and are not supported from a security point of view making your site vulnerable. Make sure you are on the most recent version supported by the software always. If you are not sure, then find an expert to help you out.
Website CMS and digital tools training for staff user groups and compliance needs, and
What is an SSL Certificate and why do I need one?
This is the Https: in your web browser. SSL Certificates digitally bind your site to a cryptographic key and your business. It allows recognized secure connections in a browser and is a non-negotiable for securing browsing. It’s a signal of a safe site and is also a signal that Google uses for website rankings of your site/pages and that your site can be trusted for transactions. Your MWS company will handle your Certs in your hosting dashboard and is another reason to have someone managing your service.
Why should we have all our web services and digital marketing under one roof?
In addition to providing the base platform for your business, many agencies now provide a full scope of digital services. Using one company gives a holistic approach to your business from the speed, security and traffic, to marketing activities and precise reporting. You know where every dollar is being spent from the ground up, and what your ROI is. And you never need to worry about which company to call should something go wrong. It’s all under one roof.
You’ve been drummed about SEO, how and why it’s important to your site, rankings and any paid ads your doing. But do you know the nuts and bolts of what an SEO expert actually does? Here is a small list of what they are doing in the background for you so your site is visible, ranking and you are making the most out of your organic marketing activities.
- Analysis and maximising use of keywords in HTML elements, such as <title> tags, meta descriptions, <h1> and <img> tags.
- An easily indexable site structure with a strong sitemap.
- Proper use of redirects.
- Canonical relationships between pages.
- Securing HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol).
- Analysis and tracking of Inbound and onsite links, and their quality.
- Proper benchmarking to track SEO performance over time.
Analytics & Reporting
Do you know how many visitors you are getting weekly/monthly, annually? What pages they are engaging with or how many conversions you are getting for every dollar in marketing you are spending? If you are not using Analytics and Reporting you are wearing blinders. Analytics determines where people are landing, how they are moving through your site, thier behaviour, and in the end if they are ending up where they are supposed to go. What are your website goals? Sign-ups, purchases, downloads - whatever your goals are you need to understand deeply what is happening as users travel about your site, your ROI and better understand your customer’s journey.
Google Ads & Facebook Ads
All sites need traffic and that’s a big cost for most companies, but where does it come from. Organic traffic is one strategy, as is paid ads on platforms such as Google Search & Display Networks, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn, Instagrams and other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo. The great thing is that now we can control every aspect of your customer journey from awareness, to research, purchase and loyalty with advertising and Retargeting ads. We can pinpoint exactly who you want to target with your ads from new customers, to re-engaging previous, to creating custom audiences that look exactly like your current customer base all the while constantly testing. When we keep all these services under one roof we have the most precise control for testing, reporting and measuring.
When you are considering advertising you also need to think about the creative aspect of your advertising. Simply put - copy and images/video are going to make or break your ads. There is no point in putting a single dollar into ads until you know what you want to say and what action you want them to take. Call to actions are a big part of how you engage your audience with ads.
Your business relies on the strength of its online presence and functionality
Of course, there are even more services that can be included in a bespoke Web Services plan to protect your online sales and marketing assets, and brand identity. Some may look technical, but with the right Digital Agency partner, the security and privacy of your company and customers’ information can be assured… and clearly increase sales, because it works for your users the way it’s intended to.
If you're interested in bulletproofing your website with Managed Web Services we'd love to hear from you!
Get a free assessment now