First, let me answer one question:
When is it not worth having your www site administered by specialists?
There are really not many such situations:
Situation A: a company rarely updates its website but that means that is does not treat online activities seriously, which is why we will not dwell on that.
Situation B: a company takes on an employee, a qualified webmaster, to take care of the website. Assuming that he is willing to work overtime from time to time or work on holidays, then an agency may not be necessary.
The end. In any other situation it will be more effective to have specialists manage the content of your website. Why?
1. CMS is always a compromise
In practice, there are no longer any websites built without CMS – a built-in administration panel. However, every solution like that is a kind of compromise between great possibilities of website content edition and easiness of using. The easier it is to use the panel, the less possibilities the administrator has. The more options and functions, the more complicated and illegible is the administrator’s panel.
Each time after a new website is implemented, the agency provides training in how to use CMS. The instructor carefully demonstrates all functionalities. Next he or she gives exercises to the employees participating in the training. After the training everything seems to be clear.
Unfortunately, after a few days of practice, limitations emerge. The most frequent problem are the limited possibilities of WYSIWYG editor. There are a few applications of this kind on the market but they are all very similar. Each enables you to edit HTML documents while pretending to be Word.
The difference between websites and Office type documents is great. Not getting into much detail, when you edit the content using WYSIWYG editor, sooner or later you will find yourself in a situation where you do not know what to do or where something is simply not doable.
Advanced formatting (e.g. interline spacing, columns, table borders, internal and external margins) requires you to use tricks or simply to have an advanced knowledge of HTML and CSS code.
2. Materials need to be processed
Source materials to be placed on www sites are delivered by different employees and basically they are never ready to be publicised in the Internet. There is no problem with texts. But graphics, files to be downloaded and video, which is becoming more popular, need to be pre-processed. Conversion to an appropriate format, cropping, scaling, upload of large files. Efficient preparation of materials requires you to have knowledge of and to possess different types of software.
3. Time is money
Some content, such as press releases, job offers or special offers, needs to be published at a specific time. A team of specialists will certainly place the new content faster. If that is necessary, they will be ready to perform a given task at a non-standard time, i.e. outside working hours or at weekends.
In some CMS’s you are able to predefine the exact moment of publication. This is a useful functionality but it will not help if the content is not ready until the last moment. And that is prevalent.
4. Burdening your resources also costs
Regardless of the size of the company’s marketing department, the time an employee spends administering the website on their own can be always used in a better way. If the employee is a specialist, it is really a waste of their time. But if they are a manager (which is really not rarely the case) that means quite a loss for the company. And all the more so because the person dealing with CMS in the company very often has to perform the tasks given to them by other departments, such as PR or HR.
An alternative option is to send instructions to the agency via e-mail with the content attached. I once heard a marketer referring to that method of cooperation as “fire & forget”.
5. Long-term support facilitates development
Marketers’ ideas very often go beyond what CMS is able to. Such development requires graphics and/or program modifications. A company which has signed no contract for website administration services has to commission each such modification separately. And that first of all means higher costs (an hour of specialist’s work is always cheaper under a long-term contract) and secondly, the necessity to each time go through the process of accepting the order, signing the contract etc.
When you have specific specialist support services ensured within a month, you can easily develop your website and pursue new e-marketing ideas.
6. Knowledge as added value
No contract guarantees that but in practice, clients can always count on counselling as part of administration services. You can most often be counselled about the content you publicise, architecture of information on the website or usefulness of navigation. The knowledge transferred not infrequently goes beyond the website itself and covers such areas as online advertising or process optimisation in the company.
Finally, I would like to debunk some myths relating to long-term website administration services.
Myth 1: Website administration services are expensive
The source of this prejudice are companies which have old and static websites without CMS or with its very simple variant having very limited possibilities. In such situations, each update must indeed cost more as it requires commitment on the part of the programmer and/or graphic designer.
In a normal situation updates are handled by an administrator, whose working hours are cheaper than the working hours of specialists.
What is more, individual prices under every long-term contract (which provides for monthly payments) are after all cheaper than in the case of one-off orders because the agency cares more about long-term cooperation than about single tasks.
Myth 2: The agency will not cope with a CMS built by someone else
Remember that interactive agencies never specialise only in website administration. That is their additional activity apart from creating web pages. This competence they have guarantees that no administration panel is a secret for them. Besides, a substantial majority of CMS’s are very similar as they are based on the same principles and often contain the same mechanisms (e.g. WYSIWYG editors produced by one company).
Myth 3: An external administrator does not care that much
On the contrary. In the case of long-term services, the providers must care even more, so that the client was satisfied enough to extend the contract. That is not true that they will paste texts ignoring typing errors or automatically carry out wrong orders. They also want to be proud of the website they administer and need the best possible references.