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Demystifying Website Task Types – Support, Bug-fixing, Projects, and Maintenance Explained

As your digital partner, Advantage Agency offers a suite of comprehensive services tailored to your business needs. However, it can be overwhelming trying to navigate the digital landscape, especially when terms such as “support”, “bug-fixing”, “projects”, and “maintenance” are thrown around. Understanding what each means will help you optimise your partnership with us, so let’s delve into these terms one by one:

1. Website Support Services – Your Safety Net for Small Changes

Our support services cover small changes that pertain to your existing website and digital services. This might include minor amendments like fixing broken links, making text adjustments, or adding new images. Remember, websites and their infrastructure are continuously evolving, which sometimes results in unexpected issues. Our support service steps in to rectify these unforeseen challenges promptly. They also allow us to be an extension of your team, keeping your website up to date from a content perspective, meaning you don’t need to employ internally. Our support service covers small, ad-hoc tasks that are not related to our post-launch period below and not part of a larger project.

Support tasks are billable by nature. You can access our support service either ad-hoc or through a proactive Support retainer or Service Level Agreement (SLA) where we provide a comprehensive agreement. An example of our support terms can be seen here.

Some examples of support tasks might be if you notice a certain feature isn’t displaying correctly, or a link has unexpectedly stopped working, our support services team is your go-to solution. Other examples might include:

  • Adding a new paragraph or image to a page on your website
  • Changing a phone number or address in your website footer
  • Fixing a broken link on one of your pages
  • Updating colour on a button to match your new branding
  • Adding a new field to a contact form
  • Duplicating an existing page and updating the copy
  • Addressing minor technical bugs that were working originally

Our support retainer clients receive a custom portal directly into our project management system, ClickUp, for lodging and keeping track of tasks. For everyone else, support tickets are best lodged through our online form.

2. Website Post-Launch – Keeping Your Launch Smooth and Hassle-Free

Once a project launches or a feature is released, a specific window of time is dedicated to addressing any bugs that might pop up. These post-launch tweaks are important to ensure everything runs smoothly and as expected, and your project is signed off and working at a specific time.

These bugs that are resolved under our post-launch period only cover in-scope/known items, not new features or change-of-mind requests and are addressed free of charge. The issues dealt with under post-launch are quite similar to our support service but pertain specifically to the post-launch window outlined in your original agreements for a new project/feature. So if something doesn’t seem quite right after a new website launch, you can rely on our bug-fixing team to get it sorted promptly.

These tasks pertain to issues that arise shortly after launching a new project, typically within a two-week window. For instance:

  • A form on your new website is not sending submissions to the right email address
  • The layout of a page looks fine on desktop, but it’s broken on mobile devices
  • Users are experiencing slow page load times on your freshly launched website
  • The new e-commerce checkout process isn’t working correctly
  • A newly added feature is not functioning as expected

Due to the evolving and dynamic nature of web, bugs can also arise outside of this period. Whilst our team does internal testing, it’s important that our clients do their own rigorous testing to ensure that they are happy with the work before the post-launch window expires. Beyond this, if bugs are flagged they will generally be subject to our support engagements above and as such will be billable. Due to the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of the digital world, the idea of long-term “warranty” is not something that can be reasonably offered.

3. Project Work – Major Changes with Major Impact

When you’re looking at a larger piece of work, like a new website, branding or design services, or even a marketing audit, it becomes a project. Projects are usually non-urgent tasks that are unrelated to bugs or issues (although sometimes major issues can be temporarily patched and lead to a project).

They often involve multiple phases, each having separate billing milestones. A detailed proposal or quote is generally provided, outlining the plan, timeline, and costings involved. Typically, a project’s timeline will be longer than a week, reflecting the size and complexity of the work involved.

Imagine you want to revamp your entire website or start a new digital marketing campaign; such extensive tasks fall under project work.

Projects are larger pieces of work that involve significant changes or additions to your digital presence. These could include:

  • Building a new website from scratch or design overhauls
  • Designing a brand new logo and brand identity for your company
  • Performing an SEO audit of your website and making necessary optimisations (where not part of a monthly SEO engagement)
  • Developing and implementing a new comprehensive marketing strategy
  • Designing and building a custom e-commerce platform for your business, or extending an existing site to offer an online store
  • Major features such as wholesale or user portals, product catalogs and custom calculators

4. Website Maintenance – Your Proactive Prevention Plan

Unlike the other categories, our maintenance service is wholly proactive. It offers monthly deliverables designed to prevent major outages and bugs that may arise due to technology’s ever-evolving nature. Think of it as a digital healthcare or insurance plan for your website.

It may also serve as a disaster recovery plan, addressing common issues that could potentially disrupt your business operations and ensuring backups are up-to-date and secure.

In short, maintenance helps keep your website healthy, secure, and running smoothly in the long run. So, while support and bug-fixing respond to problems as they arise, maintenance aims to stop them from occurring in the first place.

These are proactive tasks performed to prevent problems before they occur and to ensure the smooth functioning of your digital services. Examples might include:

  • Regularly backing up your website to prevent data loss
  • Updating your website’s CMS (E.g. WordPress), theme and plugins to ensure they are secure and functional
  • Monitoring your website for downtime and quickly communicating any issues
  • Performing regular security scans to identify and addressing potential vulnerabilities
  • Regularly checking your website’s performance (E.g. load times)

Ironically, the preventative nature of website maintenance can mean it can be difficult to see the value in this service as there is no way to know what issues would have arisen if you weren’t regularly maintaining your site. In light of this, we recommend that you don’t take our word for it – we encourage you do your own research to understand if it’s a good fit for you. Check out just one article from Mailchimp, what is website maintenance and why is it necessary?

5. Website Hosting, Domains & DNS – Everything it takes to serve your website to the world

In order for your website to work, it must be hosted by a hosting provider and you must register a domain name, which is the non-www or address that people use to access your website. Your domain name points to your website host using something called DNS so that when people type in your website url or click a link to your site “the internet” knows where to find it. If this makes little sense to you, that’s okay: that’s why we’re here. It isn’t as difficult to set all these things up as it used to be, and many providers offer an all-in-one service or in our case, a fully managed service where we look after the setup and management for you (and quite cost-effectively at that).

Of course, a website must also be “built”, which involves a mix of strategy, design & progamming to bring eveything together. Websites are generally not set and forget, and both should and need to be maintained in order to drive results for your business. This is where projects, support and maintenance as explained above all come in.

If you’re interested in the technical components that make up a website: a website is not a physical thing, but it does actually “exist” somewhere in the world: on a website server that sits in a physical data center. These days, this is often colloquially referred to as “the cloud”, as cloud computing is the primary technology driving most of the world’s websites. A website is made up of files and data stored in something called a database, both of which must be “hosted” by a hosting service provider. Not all hosting providers are created equal, and the performance and support available are important considerations when working out who to choose. At Advantage, we have hand-picked our premium managed hosting service provider, that offers superior technology and features.

Understanding these distinct yet interconnected aspects of our services will help you navigate your digital journey more efficiently. Having a slow or malfunctioning website can have a significant opportunity cost on your business, so it’s worth getting right. As your digital partner, Advantage Agency is always ready to assist, guide, and collaborate with you to build & maintain a robust, impactful, and effective digital presence.