5. Maintaining and Updating
Who Does It:
Anyone. For the first year after your site goes live, 5 hours at no charge are available from EZBiz. Thereafter, a fee schedule applies. Get a copy here. You may, however, do some of the work yourself or appoint someone else to do it. There is absolutely NO dependency on EZBiz, technically, legally, or any other way, and your site will do just fine without me.
How Is it Done:
The tool I use most often is Microsoft FrontPage (I’ll call it FP) because it, like most everything from Microsoft, has become a “standard,” in the sense that it is found everywhere. However, to an extent, HTML code (that’s the language that makes a web site) is accessible by ANY web authoring tool. If you have Microsoft Office on your computer (that’s the package that includes Word, Excel, and sometimes Publisher and/or Access) there is a very good chance you already have a copy of FrontPage on your computer because it often comes with Office. If you’ve never used it before, it may be hidden away somewhere, but, you just might have it. The program is admittedly a bit clunky and eccentric, but it is so widely distributed that practically every hosting service I have ever encountered supports it by including the so-called FrontPage Extensions. The “extensions” are what allow certain features of FP to work, such as submitting forms and getting to databases, without any special programming by the user. Another very important feature of FP is that it allows you to work with the remote files on your hosting server from within FP itself. This gives the user a common interface covering your material as it appears on your computer and as it is on the host’s server. Finally, if FP lacks a particular feature or capability, there are many “addons” and “addins” available from third parties made just for the FP program.
Procedurally, changes are made either by working directly on the live site pages at the hosting service through FP, or changing the copy of the web site on the desk top computer and sending the changes to the host; basically replacing one with the other.
Who and How will be determined by the degree of control you want. The point is that there is no intrinsic dependency on me -or anybody.
What to Change and When:
Type and frequency of change will be determined in great part by the design of your site. If you are maintaining basically a billboard, you might change it about as often as you would an actual billboard along the highway. But bear in mind that unlike drivers on a physical road, no one on the Internet highway actually sees you unless they come to you deliberately or follow a link to you. For that reason, it is a good idea to keep your web site lively and interesting and useful so people have a reason to return to it. That said, the nature of your enterprise will influence your schedule of changes. Simply put, whenever anything in the business itself changes, the site should probably follow suit. New prices, products and services, hours of operation, or people on board? Change of seasons, holidays? Important project completed? Need opinions or input from your constituencies?
And some things should NOT change. The basic color scheme, your logo, the over-all look and feel should remain relatively constant, so site visitors know they are in the right place.