Managing a website is a long-term commitment.
Through the course of this series, we talked about three very different pieces that make up running your website effectively. I’ll let you in on a little secret: Even for experienced website designers and developers, managing all of those pieces alone is asking a lot. There’s no shame in outsourcing the pieces that you either don’t have time for, or simply don’t understand fully. It ensures your website continues running as smoothly as possible, and frees you up to kick ass in the aspects of your business you truly excel at.
So, take a moment (or an hour) and really examine the pieces and parts that make up running the online portion of your business. Chances are, you can identify at least one area in which you see a need to start building a team around. Who are the members of that team? The answer will vary, based on your expertise and comfort levels, but should include a member in each of the following roles:
The Project Manager
Your site’s project manager is the common point of contact for the rest of the team. The project manager is responsible for:
- Coordinating and maintaining schedules (content, maintenance, improvements, etc.).
- Communicating with all other team members any updates or changes.
- Managing the work to be done at each stage of the project, and keeping team members on task (often. referred to as the “scope of work”).
- Recording site usage statistics and comparing performance against your company’s overall goals.
The project manager has the broadest understanding of the site’s overall goals, and works with the rest of the team members to ensure that those goals are and continue to be met as time goes on. This role is best filled by someone who understands your company’s mission and is able to dedicate time to keeping all the various parts of the website moving in the right direction.
The Content Creators
Your website requires content in order to be visible to search engines, and helpful to your visitors. The content creators are responsible for…creating content. This includes the content that is directly published on your website, plus your social media accounts that drive traffic to that content.
If your site continuously publishes new content for visitors, a dedicated person or team of content creators is necessary. This role will take up significant time in order to properly research, write, edit, publish and share the content on a regular schedule.
If your site does not continuously publish new content, you can hire a short-term copywriter or use one through an outside agency.
If social media is a part of your online strategy, remember it should be treated the same as publishing content regularly on your website. A dedicated person or team may still be necessary in order to stick to a regular posting schedule, research, create, edit and publish the content, plus manage interactions made through your accounts.
The designer role is largely seen as a temporary one – someone who comes up with the initial look of the website and is never heard from again. In reality, this person (or team of persons) shares the responsibility of making sure your site is easy to use for visitors. Issues that crop up on your website usage statistics may prompt new design strategies and solutions in order to effectively maintain the site in the long-term.
This role is largely concerned with problem solving. The problem to be solved is how to best present the content on your website so that visitors can use it and convert into customers.
While it’s not necessary to keep this role on staff full-time once the site goes live, it is important to keep them in the loop as part of your management team. The designers should also be brought back in anytime a new feature, enhancement or improvement is discussed, regardless of how minor it may seem.
Website developers are the architects of the project. They take the blueprints created by your designers and build the final product. For this reason, having designers and developers who understand and work well together is crucial.
Also true of the developers is that their role should not be considered temporary. You will want to keep your website developer around in order to perform ongoing maintenance on your site safely, and with the knowledge to quickly fix anything should the worst happen.
Through the course of this series, we’ve discussed the four main aspects of owning and managing your business’ website. To review, the topics we’ve covered are:
- How can you measure your site’s success?
- Does your content work online?
- Why do you need to maintain your website?
- Who makes up your website management team?
I love helping small- to mid-size businesses fully take ownership of their websites, and understand the support these businesses need. If you have any questions—or a project you’d like to discuss—please reach out to me via email.