Why use a Managed Website?

Managed websites are a better website for many reasons, some of which you might find surprising. We’ll cover a few of the most important reasons. Managed websites are also much more cost-effective than you may think. From simple and small, to complicated and enormous, managed websites make the business of having a website easier all around.

The core reason why anyone uses a managed website is because it is the easiest way to work with a website that has more than one page. This is primarily for three reasons. The first is that a managed website uses a template to make sure that all of the pages in the website are formatted correctly. There is no need to worry about matching fonts and sizes between pages, the system handles it for you. You do not need to do any special formatting when you are adding or changing text on a page because the system will format it by default so that it matches the rest of the website. Along the same line, if you want to edit the appearance of the site, you only need to edit a template and the edits show on every page. The second reason people use a managed website is because of menu changes. In a managed website, a menu can be updated once in a single place, and that update will instantly show on every page in the website. If you need to edit a menu item in a traditional website, you would have to make the change on every page in the website. This may not be a big deal on a three page website, but on a three hundred page website it is a heart-breaker. The third reason people use a managed website is to allow anyone with rudimentary computer skills the ability to add and edit pages in a website. This can be a big time and money saver. There is no need to have a technology professional assist in making changes to a managed site – the editing is very similar to using a word processor, and more technically advanced tasks, such as adding photographs or video clips, are handled with menus and dialog boxes. There is no need to be proficient in any web coding language at all.

Managed websites have a wide range of other benefits such as the ability to show and hide pages based on what day it is, and they make it easy to add functions like calendars and forums. A feature that larger organizations can appreciate is the ability to have more than one person edit the website, and to restrict what someone can edit to only select pages. On the technical side, the website files do not change – changes are stored in a database and any uploaded files are stored in media folders. This makes backing up the website a cinch, reducing headaches for your technical staffers. The database also allows the website to scale to hundreds or thousands of pages and users safely and easily.

Are Managed Websites Cost-Effective?

Yes. Even when evaluating a three to 5 page website, a managed website can be cost-effective if the website will be updated more than a handful of times in a year. Managed websites usually have a larger up-front cost due to the additional complexity of setting up the system when compared to conventional sites, but when maintenance and changes are factored in, the see-saw tips the other way.

There are three common factors that determine the initial cost of a website. The factors that determine the initial cost are the level of design work that goes into the appearance of the website, the amount of content or number of pages in a website, and the special features and functions that are included in a website. High-end design, artwork, and photography cost much more to produce than more generic designs and stock photography, making the price range for these services range from free to several thousand dollars. This cost applies to any sort of website, managed or not. The number of pages in a website influences the cost because of the time spent creating the pages. In a conventional website, a new code page must be created for each page added. In a managed website, a new database entry is made for each page added. During site construction, entering a new page in a managed website usually takes about two-thirds of the time it takes to make a new page in a conventional website. After the site has gone live, entering a new page in a managed website usually takes less than one-quarter of the time to make a new page in a conventional website. And finally, special features affect the cost because of the amount of time required to make them operate. We’ll use a grid-view calendar as an example. In a conventional website, it would be impossible to show an event several months out without the extra time and effort spent creating a new page for each month in between the current date and the upcoming event. A managed website would use a database-driven calendar, and adding an event would simply be adding a new entry in the database – the calendar function would take care of building and displaying any necessary pages for you. The time savings with the managed method are very large.

Managed Websites: 1, Conventional Websites: 0

There are two common factors that affect the ongoing maintenance cost of a website. These are menu changes and media management. Menu changes in a conventional website must be made to each individual page. This caused substantial problems in the past where a menu item would be added to some pages but not to others or some pages would work correctly and other pages had broken links. Another insidious side-effect seen in conventional websites is that page design errors can crop up. Sometimes page elements can shift when menu items are added or removed, and more extreme issues can be seen with highly-formatted page content. A managed website allows a menu change to be made in one place and shows that change on every page on the website. No missed pages, no typo errors in the links, done. A properly-implemented managed website design will allow the menu to expand automatically without breaking the page, and it keeps the page content separate and unaffected by these menu changes. For media management, a conventional website requires special programs to be used to upload the media files to the server, and provides no assistance with getting the media to show on a webpage. A managed system provides an easy interface for uploading media, and can place it on a page with no further input from a user. When viewed side-by-side, maintaining a conventional website will take much more time and be much more frustrating than a managed system.

Managed Websites: 2, Conventional Websites: 0

There really is no reason to use a conventional website instead of a managed website. Managed websites bring more advanced features to the table per dollar invested than any conventional website. Managed websites are also cheaper to operate and easier to maintain than conventional websites.