“The Website is Down!”
Those words send chills down the spine of any marketer. Everyone starts looking for someone to blame and finally asks the question - who is responsible for keeping the website running, Marketing or IT?
Sadly, many times the IT department dismisses the website as just a “pretty marketing tool”. And the Marketing department assumes that IT is taking care of boring things like security and backups.
That is a big mistake.
Last year a fellow marketer at a Dynamics GP ISV company told me her story:
The marketing contact started getting alerts from their website hosting company that their domain was exceeding CPU limits. It turned out that their website had been hacked and something, or someone, was accessing their pages over and over again.
Then the hosting company completely shut down their website. For an entire week.
When this happened, the marketing team was in full panic mode. But the rest of the company thought it was “just a marketing problem” and that they would figure it out. There wasn’t a sense of urgency with the rest of the team until they realized that the website is not just for marketing. It is also where their clients submit support cases, access the knowledgebase and even download the actual product. Suddenly, it was an entire company problem.
It turns out that there was no firewall protecting the website. How could that happen? The marketing department assumed that IT took care of that kind of thing. But IT had never really been involved with the website.
This experience taught them an important lesson. Marketing should be in charge of making sure the website looks good on the outside, but IT should be in charge of making sure it looks good on the backend.
After all, the website is a piece of technology. It needs to be maintained and monitored just like any other technology system.
Ask your team:
- Is the website regularly backed up?
- Have we downloaded the latest security updates?
- Is there a firewall and virus protection in place?
- Is someone monitoring website performance?
At the company I work for, we have a Wordpress consultant monitor our website. Every month he will:
- Apply WordPress updates.
- Update all plugins.
- Review site performance (weekly).
- Check for layout/rendering errors on pages.
- Perform site backups.
- Provide site review report.
Who is doing those tasks for your website?
Think about this scenario too. The marketing person who originally managed your website has since left your company. The website hosting company has sent multiple emails to tell you that your credit card has expired and your domain name can’t be renewed. But the main contact was never changed, so nobody receives the emails. You lose your domain name. Devastating!
You should make sure that multiple people on your team know:
- Where is our website domain registered?
- When does it expire?
- Who is in charge of renewals?
- Where is our website hosted?
- Do we have the login information?
- Who is registered as the main contact to receive alerts if there are any issues?
Your website is crucial to your marketing strategy, much more so than it was even 5 years ago as most of us rely on inbound marketing for lead generation.
Everyone has their own skills. Marketing people need to know about search engine optimization, click through rates and bounce rate analytics. IT people know about virus protection, firewalls and backups. If everyone focuses on what they know well, they can work as a team to produce and protect a killer website.
By Anya Ciecierski, Collaboration Works Marketing
Follow me on Twitter: @AnyaCWMKTG