5 Unexpected Reasons You Need a Support Team After Your Website Launch

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  • 5/28/2020
    So you’ve launched your brand new website. Congrats! Time to pour yourself a glass of champagne, ghost your loyal website support team and watch the sales roll in, right?
    Not exactly—at least not the part about support. You may think that because things are new, exciting and running smoothly, you don’t need to keep support on speed dial, but you shouldn’t delete their number just yet.
    Oftentimes a business releases a new website and thinks one of two things. One, that’s it’s curtains for support or two, that they only need to carve out a small handful of hours for maintenance post-launch. However, high-level maintenance is important for keeping a website great. And beyond standard, expected maintenance, there’s always going to be an opportunity or situation that you didn’t expect to pop up.
    It happens all the time—trust us. It’s why you should always keep phone lines open for help from support, even when your site is already launched. There are several common issues, upgrades and requests you can’t see coming, but need to be prepared for.

    1. e-Commerce issues

    E-commerce functionality is a fantastic addition to your site, especially in this day and age, but it requires regular support and maintenance. Being able to sell products or services online should always help your business and never be more trouble than it’s worth!
    For example, Many big ERP systems require regular updates that can affect your API, messing up product quantities and options, prices, orders, etc. Keeping track and getting ahead of these updates is crucial to maintaining your functionality. Support teams step in when updates arise and make sure they won’t affect the API your site connects to or your transaction processing. They also have the ability to make updates or test solutions in a staging environment before implementing. That way you don’t have to worry about losing your e-commerce functionality or data at any point during the update.
    Additionally, sites can experience issues with transaction processing software like PayPal. This frustrates your internal staff as well as your customers who can’t purchase your product. A support developer can dig into any processing issues and develop solutions.
    Image of a website error notification on an e-commerce site

    Error displayed while attempting a Drupal upgrade

    2 . Third-party plugins/integration issues 

    Integrations are website elements pulled from other platforms like Google Maps or Netsuite. Plugins are CMS or application-specific like Wordpress’s calendar plug. Both integrations and plugins can do a lot to enhance a site’s user experience, but they aren’t 100% infallible. They have been known to break on their own, and plugins can stop working when the CMS updates. When this happens, plugins must be individually updated and tested to keep them running smoothly.
    site upgrade notification example

    Wordpress plugin management screen showing plugins that need to be upgraded to the latest version.

    Plug-in not supported website error image

    Source: Drivers.com

    There are several reasons these plugins or integrations can break, resulting in a blank space on your site or lack of essential functionality (see: e-commerce above). A support team is well-trained in integration and plugin issues and can easily put on their problem-solving hard hat to fix any broken site elements.

    3. New feature requests 

    You may think your website is perfect right now, but it’s totally plausible that next week you’ll realize it could be so much MORE. You might not believe us now, but it happens all the time. There’s always room for improvement.
    Feature requests involve iterating over the design or functionality of a site after its launch. For example, if you launch a new Kentico site with e-commerce functionality, you must have properly configured Kentico’s reporting feature if you want to keep track of sales figures. Sure, this feature is out-of-the-box and should already be installed, but the key to getting useful info out of Kentico's reporting features is configuration with other key data points, e-commerce products, or web pages already built into the site.
    A support plan set aside for post-launch maintenance ensures there is time available to make requested improvements. Planning this prior to launch allows the support team to immediately jump in and tackle any feature requests ASAP.
    Again, trust us. As sure as the sun will rise, you will think of new feature requests.

    4. Site upgrades

    Oftentimes, website administrators will get a notification that their system is outdated and needs to be updated. These are usually unexpected and do require action. A support team can handle these upgrades and test changes in a staging environment. 

    Umbraco CMS upgrade notification

    Site updates can involve a number of different things that must be dealt with, from plug-ins, themes, integrations and more. Like a coworker standing up and yodeling midday in the office, these updates tend to catch you off guard right when you think everything is calm. Be prepared for them with a support team at the ready.
    Wordpress updates cms page screenshot

    Wordpress upgrade page for CMS, plugin and theme upgrades. What this isn't showing (and that support would know!) is that this site will also need a PHP upgrade in order to be on the latest version.

    5. Privacy and security updates

    Governing bodies make a lot of decisions as to what is going to be standard for industry use when it comes to structuring your website and using HTML and CSS. They can also recommend changes for websites, web applications, or web protocols to follow new or updated best practices. 
    For example, in 2019 the World Wide Web Consortium (W3) recommended that all browsers moving forward change their security functionality to use TLS 1.2 instead of TLS 1.1. This was announced a year or two in advance and very few websites moved to make the necessary changes to their site until their functionality was affected. 
    Another example is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), also introduced in 2019. This collection of laws required many sites to keep better track of consumer data and know how to delete this data if requested. Failure to comply is punishable with a hefty fine. Having a knowledgeable support developer means you have expertise at the ready to keep up with this legislation and get your site prepared in advance.

    Support is your friend

    As you’ve read, many of these examples are unexpected and tend to pop up quickly or without warning. Because of the nature of website maintenance, you just never know when you will need help from web support. It’s better to keep them on speed dial than cut them off prematurely.
    Prepare for the unexpected by planning in advance to avoid your site going down or functionality getting all messed up. Your brand new website should always be an asset to your business and provide positive ROI. Your superhero support team is there to help.
    Has the unexpected made an appearance after your website launch? An expert support team is just the thing you need! (And we just happen to have one on hand.) Get in touch!
    About the author::Nate Ward is a the Digital Support Team Lead at thunder::tech, providing top-of-the-line care and assistance for all things IT related. He is also an avid home cook.
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