Once the site has been uploaded to a host and mapped to a domain name the maintenance of the site begins. Web sites, by their nature, are prone to greater maintenance issues than virtually any other publication because of their dynamic and easily edited nature.
Web editors and maintainers are often continually modifying the content of a site. As content is added, removed, moved and modified, the Web maintainer will have to update all links and references to modified content. In addition, Web maintainers will not only be influenced by changes to their own content, but are also affected by links from their sites to other sites.
The Web maintainer may also have to deal with the other regularly recurring, non HTML-based issues. Management of a site includes ensuring that the Web host gets paid, that the domain name registrations are regularly renewed and paid for, and additional software like encryption certificates (such as those offered by VeriSign) are registered, paid for and properly installed.
The Web maintainer and site owners should regularly review the server logs. Often, Web hosts will provide log analysis tools that will break down the site's statistics. Commonly tracked statistics include page hits, bandwidth, location of visitors, traffic intensity over time, referrals and browser usage. These statistics can be useful in determining the value of promotions, the effectiveness of search engine registrations, and the overall popularity of the site over time. Additionally, the statistics can provide value in terms of learning more about the site's actual audience in relation to the intended audience.
Site Review and Evaluation
- Review the Statistics
Is the intended audience visiting? Are there site resources (i.e., pages or functions) that are being more (or less) consistently used? Is there an opportunity to grow or scale-back sections of material? Which promotions have translated to greater visits (and if applicable, sales)? Are enough international visitors hitting the site to warrant developing location-specific versions of the site? Did paying for elevated search engine presence pay for itself?
- Use a Focus Group
If a sample of the intended audience is available, find out why they are or are not using the site. Can the focus group figure out how to use the site the way it's intended? What on the site does or doesn't work? What's missing? How does the design "feel"? What other sites are preferred?
- Environmental Scan
Have a look at similar sites. Are there sites that are more popular with the intended audience? Are those sites doing something that the site could also do? Are there opportunities for doing something new that will give the site an advantage? Is the market saturated with sites?
- Critical evaluation of the design
- What can be added?
Is there functionality that would improve the site? Are there plans to build e-commerce modules? What technical and other resources will be needed to go forward with changes?
- Does the site need to be redesigned?