Website Management: Who Updates Your Site?

Website Management - Who Updates Your Site? post on leoraw.com
The answer(s) to who updates a website can be numerous. In my experience, the person in charge of website management can be anyone from a business owner to a web developer. Even if this day of WordPress and easy-to-use content management systems, sometimes the same person who develops the site is updating it as well. It’s one of those: “it depends” kind of answers.

Small Business Owner as Website Manager

You as a small business owner (or perhaps even “micro business owner,” if you are a sole-entrepreneur making just enough money to support yourself) will often be the one to update your site. And with WordPress, it’s really not that difficult to do. Once the WordPress site is set up, you are usually either editing a page or a post or creating a new page or a post. And updating WordPress and plugins. Remember to update (backup and update): even a default theme like 2012, if it resides on your site, should be updated. It’s there in case of an emergency. (Reminder to self: write a post about updating and backing up WordPress).

Getting back to managing your site: so you are doing it all on your own, although it doesn’t have to be all. There might be times you want to call on Web Guru X or Web Know-A-Lot Y to help you with something (speed, database, deciding on plugins and more).

Yet Another Plugin Not Always the Answer

Sometimes updating your site means making improvements on the site. While many people do this on their own, I see errors in one area: too plugin happy. Some blog owner says, hey, did you try such and such plugin, and off they go running to grab it. I’m going to show an example of how this might hurt.

Let’s say you want to show X posts in Y category in one place on your site. You might think: ah, Plugin XYZ can do that! Well, the problem is, Plugin XYZ also can do about 100 other tasks. And all this code will get added to your site as well. And Plugin XYZ may be adding the code in an inefficient way, slowing down your site. And Plugin XYZ might be added five new tables to your database (did you even know that your database is made up of tables). You might delete Plugin XYZ but not be aware that those tables remain.

On the other hand, if you ask a web developer who knows WordPress code, they might be able to add a few simple lines of code using a WPQuery to add exactly what you want.

Updating Most, But OK to Rely on Others

Maybe you want a nice graphic to go with that post? I often create graphics or slides for my clients. Maybe you want to try a slideshow somewhere? Or a page with multiple photos? I recently created a large directory for a client with viewing alphabetically or by group as options. Attractive and unique blog headers are also projects that I’ve done in the past. You don’t have to do *everything* on your own. You can hire a web developer or a web designer to do a piece of your website.

Having Someone Else Do it All

Finally, there are those clients (I have a few) who would rather have me do every single update. As they no doubt will NOT be reading this post, I need not go into further details.

Your Turn, Please

So, what do you think? When are the times one can do it on one’s own, and when does one ask for help? Feel free to tell your own story in the comments.

39 Responses to “Website Management: Who Updates Your Site?”

  1. Susan Cooper says:

    I really thought about what was needed, and what I wanted to help an support with on my website when I first set out. I made a decision to hire an individual to help with the start-up. Since then I now have someone manage my site, including any updates, recommended changes, and any additions that would be helpful. I realize that everyone can, or would want to do that, but for me it has been a great time saver. I love the brainstorming that comes from any changes that we ultimately make. The old adage “Two heads are better then one” rings true in my case. :-)

  2. Hi Leora: I have difficulty when it comes to the behind-the-scenes coding for updates to my sites. I’m quite capable of doing updates like adding new posts, updating plug-ins, and that kind of thing, but when it comes to changing the metrics of the site, I’d much rather leave that to my very capable web manager, to be sure that I don’t screw things up!

  3. I do my own site management. I admit that some of that decision is financially driven! I simply can’t afford to have someone post my weekly blog when I can do it myself. Your advice on plug-ins is so crucial…sometimes one plug in doesn’t like another and there is nothing more exasperating that a plug-in war!! Yikes! Thankfully, I have a tech genius who designed my website and she is always helpful if I encounter a problem or have an issue. Matter of fact…I am having quite the spam issue lately and after contacting my server to eliminate them, I’ll be calling her Monday!

  4. Beth Niebuhr says:

    I do my own. Actually, I do website design but usually with code and Dreamweaver. I sometimes find WordPress a bit wanky and usually it is because of dueling plugins. I enjoy the forums where someone always seems to know the answers to little glithes.

  5. Much of the time I do pretty much everything for my sites. Which is to say I actually avoid quite a number of plug ins and I prefer everything be super simple. This is a choice for me I prefer the content I create to be the driving force not the bells and whistles I could add to the site itself.

    With that said there are times when I have questions and I personally have no answers. During those times I will gladly reach out to others I know that have much more experience than I do.

  6. Leora you would have laughed (or cried) had you been looking at my work website this Friday. It was my first week on the job and I thought I’d try to give our website a bit of a boost by adding a twitter widget to the main page. First I added the widget that showed the widget makers posts on twitter, then I changed it to the widget that only let you link to our Twitter account and finally after getting the right widget connected to the right site I proceeded to post tweets for COMMSTORM, my personal site on my work twitter account. As one of my colleagues noted, once we stopped laughing at my ineptitude, “Hey, we gained a follower during that performance, maybe optometrist would rather get post on how to improve their social media performance. :)

  7. sometimes one plug in doesn’t like another and there is nothing more exasperating that a plug-in war!! Yikes! Thankfully, I have a tech genius who designed my website and she is always helpful if I encounter a problem or have an issue. Matter of fact…I am having quite the spam issue lately and after contacting my server to eliminate them, I’ll be calling her Monday!

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Yes, I know about conflicts. I sometimes get them between dropdown menus and slideshows. I just say – there is a solution, there is a solution … and I keep looking until I find it. Sometimes you just have to drop a plugin if it doesn’t play nice.

  8. Catarina says:

    Do almost all of the updating on my sites myself. Have a couple of times had help when something went wrong.

    What you say about having too many plugins is true because they really slow down the site. But some of them are fantastic, not least when it comes to stopping hackers from logging in.

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Catarina, a web developer once wrote this well, about the “too many plugins.” It’s not the number that is the problem. It’s the poorly-coded ones that are the problem. If each one you add is programmed to do only what you need it to do, it’s fine. Thanks for commenting.

  9. Diana says:

    Great post, Leora! I too like most bloggers do the maintenance myself… but not because i want to, really LOL

    I am one of those people who believe that it;s better to pay someone who is a pro in WordPress website management to do it for me rather than do it all on my own. For now, i do it on my own with the help of a couple of friends but sooner or later, i plan to distance myself from all the behind-the-scenes activities and outsource that to a pro like you :)

    I will probably still do the bi-weekly publishing myself but i will not bother with plugins and all – i will just say what i want and the pro can figure out the best way to do that,. How nice and easy, huh?

    Thanks for the reminder that plugins are not always as good as we might think they are :)

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Thanks for the nice words about the post, Diana! I find even among so-called pros, some know more about some plugins than others. I’ve spent a lot of time working with NextGen Gallery, for example, so I know when it would work for a client and when to choose something simpler. But with another plugin I might not have that experience, so I would have to explore.

  10. Jeri says:

    I never do anything halfway, so learning about running my site took up quite a bit of time at first. When it comes to tasks like host-switching, I’m glad there are people like you to help. I like the simplicity of my site now, but when I start a travel blog down the road, I know I will need help in designing the site. Avoiding bells and whistles is one thing, but designing a truly beautiful site is something better left to a professional and is something I will willingly bear the expense of when the time is right, just like I will eventually have a marketing budget for my work as an author. All in good time :)

  11. Just thinking about code, makes my blood run cold. I’m used to being very hands on and it pains me not to be totally on top of my own blog site, but when the learning curve is too steep, I try to accept the fact that I need professional assistance. I started out with my son “guiding” me. He did help to get me up and running, but we have decided to just be mother and son and not try to work together. It’s better for all concerned. ;-)

  12. I like to try and balance it (of course, it also depends upon how big the problem really is).

    I prefer trying to solve it on my own (a learning experience), and we can’t always rely on others, right? (Well, we can. What if we are tight on budget?).

    Of course, we also want to get help for the more serious issues (I talk to my web hosts…they can either solve or point out almost all of the problems. And depending upon what the problem is, I can ask someone to help me out :D).

    Anyways, thank you for sharing this, Leora :) Hope you are having a great week!

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Good point about the budget, Jeevan. I’ve found that people that don’t have a big budget sometimes have big hearts or are good at helping people out in other ways. Sometimes asking nicely can get you the answer you need, especially if it is a quick question. I will help people out who can then help publicize my posts, for example.

  13. Jason B says:

    I do the easy updates on my site. If its something hard I just go to Fiverr and get someone else to do it.

  14. Hi Leora,

    I update my own sites and manage or help out with a few more. One trend I’m noticing is that blog owners who used to do it all (out of necessity or financial concerns) are now engaging someone to take over everything except posting articles.

    It seems these owners have become far too busy (with client work or maybe their marketing efforts) to do it all. Others never wanted to do the techie parts anyway and are happy to have someone take that piece off their shoulders.

  15. Leora,
    As you know, I maintain my own sites and I have several clients that I maintain sites for as well. I’m not afraid to outsource when it makes sense. For example, I still have a client with a website that I built with Joomla. (Back from the days when Joomla and Drupal were more popular CMS systems than WordPress.)

    It’s a very basic site that still meets my client’s needs. He still will not embrace the idea of blogging and simply needs a billboard of sorts. (I dream of recreating his site in WP!)

    That is the only Joomla site I maintain and while I’ll do minor updates, when it needed a major upgradem I outsourced the project and I would do it again.

    What you said about plugins not always being the answer is so true!

    • Leora Wenger says:

      “I dream of recreating his site in WP!” – I can so relate to that. I have potential clients who have asked me to maintain their sites, and I respond, only if you allow me to convert it to WordPress. Only a few (smart ones) say yes to this.

  16. Pat Amsden says:

    I do my posts and pages. My son has web page development experience so het set mine up and does plug-ins, etc when necessary!

  17. Becc says:

    For the most part I do my own, but if I am concerned about stuffing up anything, then I ask my ‘people’. If they think I have reason to be concerned, then I’ll leave it in their capable hands, otherwise, why waste the money?

  18. I write and publish my own posts. But I’m tech challenged and after I hired someone to set up my first WP site, I joined the LinkedIn WordPress Group. The members were very helpful when I got stuck. One member, in particular, kept giving me very useful advice until finally I said to him, “John, it’s time I started paying you.” That was about four years ago and he’s been my tech consultant ever since. I always let him update to the newest version of WP and I now let him do my plugin updates too. Plugins can be very ornery and mess stuff up. He can fix those problems. I just decided it was acually better for me to outsource the tech stuff to the experts while I do what I do best!

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Jeanette, interesting you mention one LinkedIn group for WordPress. By now, there are quite a few. I happen to follow one in particular, WordPress Experts, and I find it quite informative. Great way that you found tech help. A good example for others on how to connect for business needs on social media.

  19. Arleen says:

    Leora- I definitely am starting to see a need to hire someone to update my site. It is not just updating wordpress, writing the articles, but it is so time consuming trying to answer the bloggers that have left comments and reciprocate on their site. Last year I read an article that it makes sense to hire a social media manager and I thought that was nuts. I don’t think so today.

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Arleen, yes, if social media and blog comments are benefiting your business, one can understand the need for a social media manager.

      It does seem nuts, considering people ran businesses for many years without the internet at all. But I suppose the need for other forms of marketing, like some print forms goes down.

  20. Johnny Bravo says:

    I do 100% of my own updates but I don’t run any business blogs. My are my personal “professional blog”. Plugins, updates, backups, those are the easy things. It’s the constant content that can be the time suck. But I love writing so it’s not all bad.

    If I were to do a major redesign, I would definitely need to get an “expert” though. The day to day I can handle, the pro stuff, I’d rather leave that to the pros.