Your shiny new site is up and running. But it’s time to execute your marketing plan, which includes capturing email addresses for your newsletter. You need to add two new bios to your About page. You’re also blogging two or three times a week. Getting that website built was only the beginning.

When you’re searching for a web development company, keep in mind that you’ll be working with this company on a long-term basis, not just for the duration of the initial development of the site. It’s a cozy relationship. When it comes down to it, you want to hire a company that will be a true partner to you, and one that will give you support long after the launch of your website.

One aspect of this support relationship is about managing content. Usually, there are three types of on-going relationships you can have with a web development company. Understanding what relationship you would have with the company post-launch is very important in order to ensure you select the right company.

Here are the 3 types of ongoing relationships you can have with a web development company:

1. They manage your content for you by having you commit to a long-term “content management” contract (with a monthly fee).

Pros: You don’t need to learn how to use your site’s content management system. You are also able to anticipate your monthly costs.

Cons: The speed and frequency of your content updates is now dependent solely on the efficiency of the website development company. Changes sometimes aren’t performed as promptly as you’d like.

2. They manage your content for you on an as-needed basis, charging an hourly billable rate.

Pros: Like the first arrangement, in this case you don’t need to learn how to use your site’s content management system.

Cons: The speed and frequency of your content updates is now dependent solely on the efficiency of the website development company. As well, you won’t necessarily be able to anticipate your costs in advance if the company is billing you by the hour.

3. They provide you with a content management system (CMS) that allows you to manage your own content, which inevitably reduces long-term costs.

Pros: A content management system empowers you to take charge of your online presence and make changes in real time. Typically, you will receive a username and password to your website so you can change your phone number, names of team members, portfolio, and other critical information from the comfort of your own office or home.

Cons: There’s a learning curve to a CMS, but not a steep one. Also, no CMS allows you to change anything and everything on your website — you will still need the support and technical expertise of the website development company that you select.

Content Management Systems are intuitive and easy to use

Today’s most popular and effective content management systems do not require any software to be downloaded onto your computer; instead they simply require an internet connection and a popular web browser such as Google Chrome or Firefox. With a CMS, you will be able to make changes to your site when you need to make them, and without additional fees.

Should you decide to add functionality to your website or make significant architectural changes, your website development company will be able to do this for you (they will likely quote you a range of hours to complete the work at their billable rate or a flat fee).

If you don’t want to update the site yourself and want to lean on the expertise and service of a web development company (option 1 and 2), ask about their response times and their process for handling these updates. They should be able to explain the process, so you feel confident changes will get made for a reasonable rate and on time.

At your meeting with the company, consider bringing this website support checklist:

  1. What’s the billable rate? For functionality improvements or additional design work on the site, how will they quote and charge me?
  2. Will they build the site so it works seamlessly with a content management system?
  3. Am I satisfied with the content management system they are recommending?
  4. Do they provide one-on-one training or video training to show me how to use the content management system properly?

Got more questions about website support? We can help. Send us an email at