There are a few ways to get your website updates done. On the top layer, you can choose to outsource the updates to a professional web designer, or you can do it yourself. If you do decide to do it yourself, there are several choices for how you can edit your website’s code. I’ll discuss all of that over the next few days.

First of all, the pros and cons of outsourcing your changes, versus making revisions yourself:

  • Professional Website Maintenance: I offer this service, and many other designers do as well. Of course, it’s not an instantaneously-available service – it takes me a bit of time to get a maintenance request completed; usually 1-2 business days for small updates, and up to a week for a larger set of changes. There’s also a cost associated with doing the updates, and some designers (myself included) have a “minimum billable time” that they’ll charge for – mine is 1 hour. So, be sure to include website maintenance time and costs in your marketing plan if you’d like to have your changes handled by a professional.

How this typically works is that you’ll contact your designer with instructions on the changes that need to be made. Talk to your designer about how specific you need to be when you request changes. For simple changes, you may be able to just call up and say, “I won this award – can you put it on my site?” But, in the case of larger changes or business changes that need to be reflected on your site, you will need to provide specific copy to your designer. In the case of larger changes, you may need to re-examine the strategy of your website, the pages you’re including and the order of your navigation items as well.

The advantages to this approach are that you don’t have to invest the time or energy into learning to manage your website. And, the coding will be done professionally, and with a minimal amount of “headache”. However, if you tend to make a lot of changes to your site, costs can quickly add up.

  • Do It Yourself: There are also several ways that you can manage your changes yourself. Of course, you’ll have to invest some additional time beyond writing the copy to make the changes on your site and get them uploaded online. You’ll also have to make an initial investment of time into learning a software package that can help you to write HTML code. You’ll also have to make an initial investment in that software package, or in coding your website to integrate with either a blog or a content management back end software system. But, you’ll save some money in the long run, especially if you’re making frequent updates to your site.
  • But, by maintaining your site yourself, you’ll lose out on having a second set of eyes review your changes and your text. I constantly read over my clients’ website changes, and make suggestions on how to improve their overall effectiveness. This helps a lot of small business owners – especially one-person businesses, who are often working “in a vacuum” and don’t have partners or employees to offer feedback on their text. You can always run your text by your business coach, a business colleague or your clients to get some perspective if you do want to make the revisions yourself, but they won’t have the same level of experience in creating copy for websites that really works well.

    There are several choices for managing your own site content, and they have different levels of difficulty and learning curves involved. I’ll discuss those over the next couple of posts.

    One final note about changing your own content – all of these tips, considerations and tools assume that your site is coded with most of the text in HTML, as I suggested in my earlier post about Search Engine Optimization. If you use graphics to create your text, then you’d need an image editing program to lay out that text and to optimize and prepare those images for the web.