District Agency Blog

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Web Maintenance Packages: Less Money and More Value than a Website Redesign

Most organizations can’t support a healthy website

We all know that having a fresh, relevant website is important. 

But if your organization is like most, you don’t have the resources to

  • create content
  • format pages
  • start social media campaigns
  • optimize web pages
  • provide design enhancements
  • upgrade technology

Most organizations can’t support a healthy website.  So what do they do?  They opt for an expensive website redesign.  It’s got bells, it’s got whistles, hell it’s got one of those font size adjusters.  But are they really solving their problem?  In less than two months, their site will have the same press releases, the same Facebook statuses, the same tweets, the same feature articles.  People will get sick and tired of clicking that font adjuster button.   Remember, most organizations can’t support a healthy website.  A redesign is a Band-Aid for a larger problem.  It buys you time.  It also costs you a lot of money and resources to get up and running.  And for what?  Two months of, “Dude, awesome site!”

But that’s not a good reason not to have  a healthy website

Let’s take a different angle at the issue.  If you could take the cost of a typical high-end website (let’s say 20k) and divide that by 24 (the recommended shelf life of a website is 18-24 months) you would have $833.33.  If you now invested that $833.33 each month for 24 months into valuable website enhancements, I can guarantee (assuming your vendor is reputable) your website will have the following:

  • More visitors to your site (return and new)
  • Formatted web pages
  • Fresh social media content
  • Professional imagery for your articles and web pages
  • A working search engine
  • An intuitive navigation that is user centric
  • A site map (imagine that)
  • Higher search engine rankings

$833.33 will get you a bit more than 8 hours of service a month.  A web design company can do a lot in 8 hours.  Your site will always be fresh, relevant and impactful for every one of your visitors.  You’ll never have that worried feeling that a potential client is judging your website.  You’ll be proud of it.  You’ll know it is completely relevant.  You won’t care that it doesn’t have a font adjuster. 

A few more benefits of a website maintenance plan:

  • you are assigned a team
  • you get monthly reports
  • you receive cost savings on your vendors existing products and services

To learn more contact me at mark@dcwebdesigners.com or call me at 410-740-9181

Mark Cyphers, President

DC Web Designers



Posted by: Mark Cyphers at 5:06 PM
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

5 Reasons Why Most Website Projects Fail

  1. Organizations distribute a poorly conceived RFP
  2. Organizations assume web design companies are also strategy consultants
  3. Organizations expect web design companies to make technology recommendations
  4. Organizations are ill-prepared for a high-level of participation during the project
  5. Organizations fail to create a clear post-launch plan

Solving the Problem

Write a Good RFP. 

Most organizations make the same fatal mistake when starting their website project; they ask a young, inexperienced employee to create the RFP.    A well written RFP begins with an introduction, explaining the problem you’re trying to solve, how much you have budgeted, and what the deadline is.   It continues to provide information about your organization that will be important factors to the project’s success.   This level of organizational understanding requires participation from the executives and department heads, not an entry level staff member.

Technology projects require additional information that is essential to vendors properly pricing the project, and ultimately avoiding scope creep for your organization.

  • Full content inventory (what type, and how much content do you have)
  • Content Management System Requirements
  • Third party integration (are you using any other web tools? i.e. CRM, jobs module, payment gateways, etc.)
  • Technology platform (do you have any technology requirements?)

The results of a well written RFP will provide you customized solutions by each vendor, yet meet your budget, timeline, and address your organization’s needs.

Educate Your Web Vendor Prior to Starting the Project. 

Many organizations feel that web design companies arrive at the table with a full breadth of knowledge about your company.   This false assumption can lead to many problems during the project.  It is the organization’s responsibility to educate the web vendor on the following:

  • Goals of the website
  • Target audiences
  • Internal business processes
  • Core competencies
  • Content types & relationships
  • Competitor set
  • Internal resources

If you expect a web design company to really understand your organization without providing necessary information you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Be Educated About Web Technologies

An essential part to any technology project is being educated about what your vendors are recommending for your organization.  You will be required to evaluate, and ultimately decide which tools are the best for providing solutions to your company’s challenges.  This is a very difficult challenge for most organizations because technologies change so fast, it is nearly impossible to keep up.  If you have an IT department, they are a good place to start asking questions.  If you don’t have an IT department, hiring an outside consultant might be a good idea.

In the end, you want to be in control of what technologies are best for your company.  Make your web vendor defend their technology choices, not dictate them to you.

Be Prepared to be Involved During the Project Lifecycle 

You will need to provide clear direction to your web vendor on many aspects of the project.  Be prepared to be the lead on the following:

  • Content architecture
  • Messaging
  • Conceptual imagery
  • Branding protocols
  • Marketing strategies

Unless you have hired an advertising agency, or public relations firm, web vendors many times will look towards the organization for answers to these items.

Create a Post Launch Strategy 

Most websites have the exact same lifecycle.  They get a shiny new look and feel, get ignored for three or four years, and then get repainted.  The vast majority of websites are neglected to the point where they are actually detrimental to the company.  To prevent against this, prepare to invest time on your site every month.  Update content, change out pictures, post recent company or industry-related news, add new technologies, and commit to on-going Social Media and Search Engine Optimization plans.  A website that makes consistent changes over time will be more far successful and produce better results for your organization.



District Agency helps organizations get through the difficult website project process.  We tailor our consulting services to the specific needs of you organization.   If you’re planning or preparing for a website project, please give us a call: 410-740-9181

Mark Cyphers is a leading IT and web-marketing expert, and the founder and president of District Agency, a vendor-neutral consulting firm.

Posted by: Mark Cyphers at 5:05 PM
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