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What do web developers do that business owners don’t?

Are you looking at making changes to your website, and are unsure whether to do it yourself or ask local Brisbane website developers?

When it comes to managing a website, there should be a balance whereby the owner of the website can be involved to a point, and where their web developer can handle everything else.

For example, if a website is built correctly and training has been provided, the business owner (or their staff) should be able to update content on pages and blog posts, add users, view statistics, and so on. Essentially, all of the content-related tasks.

But when it comes to adding more features, changing the theme or design, or any custom coding work, this is where the web developer should be the one to handle it.

Where things can go wrong for website owners

If you want to handle everything yourself, there are many somewhat hidden risks which need to be taken into account. The list below isn’t exhaustive, but risks can include:

  • website software becoming outdated, leading to unresolved bugs and security holes
  • website software being kept up to date, but causing compatibility issues with other installed software
  • plugins or themes slowing down the website
  • plugins, themes or custom code causing pages to not load/display properly
  • the dreaded “white screen of death” when the wrong button is pressed.

Some websites won’t have too many issues over time, but it only takes one stray line or code, one out of date or insecure plugin, one failed software upgrade, and the website is offline. Sometimes, the issue is irreversible. Sometimes websites are hacked and there are sudden, hefty fees to clean the sites and restore them to working order. It can go pear shaped very easily.

Obviously, none of this is ideal. But the good news is, most of the above issues can easily be avoided if you use a web development company to manage your website changes for you.

Lean on your website maintenance company

We regularly have clients ask us for a quote on making changes to their website. Once we know what their objectives are, we’ll look into the best options. Sometimes that means installing extra software or writing custom code, other times it’s some simple settings changes. It’s important to consider all of the options, because it’s not always the most obvious (or cheapest) one.

However, as one of the leading web development companies in Brisbane, website developers in our team have a wealth of experience in these matters. We know what pitfalls to look out for, including making sure the solution is:

  • going to achieve the business goals
  • suitable for the long term (where possible)
  • scalable/flexible (in case needs change)
  • cost effective (including offering a return on investment)
  • handled according to best practice.

The layperson simply can’t make the same informed decision. And it’s important to remember that a website isn’t a hobby project or something to mess around with; it’s a vital component in the marketing toolbox for your business. It’s paramount that the website does its job in helping to grow the business, in one way or another.

Your time estimate versus a web developer’s time estimate

In many cases, a website change which may take a business owner an hour to do, would only take their developer five minutes. And that’s great, because it not only saves the business owner time, but also gets the job done sooner, at a low cost.

But there are also many cases where the opposite is true: a task may seem quick and easy in theory, but in reality, there are many considerations and steps in the process which the layperson would be unaware of. A good web development company will factor everything in for you.

Think of it like taking your car to the mechanic because it’s leaking oil. In your mind, this probably means there’s a hole somewhere that need to be plugged, and the job is done. But what if half of the engine needs to be removed to get to the hole? What if the oil needs to be cleaned from various components? What if there’s an underlying issue which caused the hole in the first place? The job could be much more extensive than you expected.

Part of the reason the time estimates vary so greatly, from the business owner to the web developer, is that nowadays, website software such as WordPress has reached a level of maturity whereby virtually anyone can build a website.

That doesn’t mean it’s a good website, or that it will be done efficiently or correctly, or that the business owner saved money doing that instead of working on their business, but nevertheless, it can be done. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, sometimes.

Steps a web development company may take

In the situation where a job seems simple but it really isn’t, your website development company may need to do some or all of the following tasks (above and beyond simply “doing the work”):

  • gathering project details, login details, goals, ideas (etc) up front
  • communication and advice based on the above
  • research into the best options/software
  • research into potential speed, security and compatibility issues
  • presenting the options, with pros and cons for each
  • writing custom code to make it easier to re-use the same code in multiple places on the website
  • implementation of the solution
  • design customisations for seamless integration
  • updating the website menu and links within pages
  • providing training and documentation
  • taking backups before and after implementation
  • testing/feedback
  • answering follow up questions.

As you can see, even an apparently “small” job can actually take quite some time, and therefore, money. And just because there’s a free plugin out there, it doesn’t mean that’s the way to go.

What are the options if you don’t have the funds?

If you don’t have the budget for the job, you have lots of options. You can:

  • get a loan
  • arrange a payment plan
  • postpone until funds are available
  • break the job into smaller stages
  • ask if there are any cheaper options
  • simply not do it at all.

Remember, you’re perfectly entitled to ask for a web development company to break down their quote or explain the charges. However, keep in mind that you’re working with a specialist, so they should be treated as such. Questioning everything or squabbling over fees will only lead to an erosion of trust, and ultimately, the end of the relationship.

Sometimes things cost more than you may expect. You have to look at the return on investment from handling website maintenance with your Brisbane web development company, instead of doing it yourself, but ultimately it’s up to you whether you proceed.

But one thing is for sure: if you focus on running your business, and leave the rest to your trusted partners, your business will flourish.

Why isn’t my website on Google’s front page?

When a new website is published, it won’t immediately appear in Google and other search engines. For many reasons, it takes a little bit of time for the site to appear (usually anywhere from a couple of days to sometimes a few weeks), but even being listed in Google doesn’t mean your website is getting new visitors. Your website needs to be one of the first several results when searching for relevant topics in Google. This is known as your search engine ranking.

Common reasons you’re not ranking well

  1. It takes time to rank: When you launch your website or when you publish a new piece of content it takes time for Google’s software (known as “bots”) to crawl your website and identify what’s new. Sometimes, the bots never find your website or they might only find some of the pages. Your website maintenance company can force Google to index your site, but its best to wait and see if Google crawls your site first, before pushing the issue.
  2. It takes constant effort: To rank on the front page of Google you need to consistently improve and increase your website’s content, as well as building quality citations and backlinks. All of this takes time and effort, but without this additional work, your site is unlikely to rank well in search engine results. A good website management company in Brisbane will take over this job for you, leaving you free to run your business and not worry about this additional work.
  3. Check your keywords: You might not be able to rank on the front page of Google simply because the competition for these slots is too fierce. You might however, easily rank on the front page for long tail keywords (e.g. phrases of 3 or more words, instead of 1 or 2), or keywords that you might not have considered. Just searching for generic terms related to your business might not produce the results you want, but when you try a more specific keyword/phrase, you’ll most likely find your website listed in the first few pages.
  4. Technical problems: Sometimes a website has been so poorly coded or configured that Google virtually ignores the website. There can also be issues with the robots.txt file, which is a file that can prevent search engines from indexing your website or other obscure reasons why your website does not show in search results. A website maintenance company can go through your website to check and correct any such problems for you.

What can be done to improve your ranking

This is where website management in Brisbane can be so valuable, because they can check everything to make sure that your site is optimised for ranking in Google and other search engines. The upshot is that it takes time, effort and consistency to reach the first page of Google, as well as good website management.

While there are many things you can do yourself to improve your ranking, engaging a website maintenance company that specialises in search engine optimisation (SEO) and website management in Brisbane is going to give you the best return on investment. This is because reputable SEO companies perform a huge range of tasks relating to your website configuration and content, as well as preparing a lot of content and information for distribution on the internet. There’s a huge time investment every month to continue to improve in this area.

And isn’t it better to focus on running your day to day business?

Great to deal with from the first call, inspired confidence that I was actually going to get something done and get what I wanted. As they say on eBay, ‘Recommended AAA+++’.
Peter BirchSheepy Hollow