One of the most frustrating situations we hear about is when clients don’t see requested changes implemented on their website. Equally frustrating is when a site isn’t updated, and it slowly begins to not function properly across all devices. At MDPM, we don’t often hear these kinds of comments, because the procedures we follow are intended to streamline support, while maximizing website function.
What is Support?
After your website goes live on your domain, in addition to monitoring and making adjustments for search engine optimization, and also in addition to keeping the site live 24/7, you probably pay for “support.” The term “website support” refers to making changes to a site when they’re requested by the client. Support may involve adding a page to the website, removing old photos or adding new ones, or writing and posting biographical profiles for new employees. Support does not include changing design elements, like colors and fonts. It also doesn’t involve creating videos or new slideshows, or managing SEO. The latter tasks may involve an additional fee at the time service is rendered or a monthly fee, as is usually the case for SEO.
Why isn’t Design Included in Support?
A website is much different than a brochure. To edit the border and text area in a brochure, a designer simply clicks, adjusts, and voila! Done! On a website, the design and development process are very different. In fact, most designers are not great developers, and developers usually aren’t astute designers. The graphic designer, or artist, creates the look of a website in an art composition, long before the website is built. A program like Photoshop is often used for website design. During the design phase, the graphic designer can click and change all elements of the project. Once a client is pleased with the design, that artwork goes to a website developer, which you should think of as a website engineer. This skilled professional is more of a structural engineer – not an artist.
Elements in the design are broken up into pieces, and those pieces are made into code (HTML). Other types of code, like jQuery or HTML5 for moving components, are building blocks that may also go into a website’s development. The web developer creates functionality for the site’s menus and navigation, as well as slideshows and moving elements. Text, links, photos, metadata, videos, and forms are added during development, as well. However, the framework on which the site is built is very important. The framework must be responsive, meaning that the site will render differently on various sized screens, from large monitors to tiny smart phone screens.
To change the shading and or layout of a page involves going back into design, with the original artist, creating a new website composition. Once approved by the client, that comp is used for re-developing the website. You see, changing a color or text area requires much more time and effort for a website than it does for a brochure.
For quick changes, like swapping out photos and forms, a support task may be completed in 48 hours. The task simply goes in line with other simple tasks, and is addressed in the order in which it was received. When a support task involves design (add a button to the sidebar) or writing (compose a page on Invisalign) or search engine optimization (optimize the site for “orthodontics” now), more time is required. The request is divided into smaller tasks, then funneled through the appropriate department: design, copywriting, or SEO. Once the first task is done, the second task is done, and so on. If you would like to know how long a request to add a bio and photo might take, we will consider the current copywriting load and create a task for the writing portion of your request. Then, we look at the support load, which varies day to day, and we determine an estimate of how long your request should take. We try to diligently meet the deadlines, but the more steps involved, the longer a request will take. Feel free to call or email any time to check the status of your support requests.
Making Support Go Faster
You can help us remain efficient by limiting your requests to weekly or monthly. Keep a list of the tasks you’d like us to complete, then send that list at one time. We can put all of the support requests through and give you an estimated time of completion, upon request.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
One way we try to proactively reduce the potential for website problems is with site audits. Once or twice a year, depending on your support package, we will review your website to look for common issues, like broken links and videos that no longer function (broken YouTube embeds). These types of problems can occur due to changes by a third party. Without “checkups” or audits, your website can fall into disrepair. That said, every two to three years, a dentist will need a new, updated website. This is inevitable due to the rapid advancements in internet technology and communication.
If you have questions about your dental website or would like more information about SEO, website design, or development and support, give MDPM Consulting a call today at 972-781-8861.