Why Do You Need A Website Retainer?

Without ongoing maintenance your website is getting old, fast.

The days of website redesign and rebuilds every couple of years are over. The digital world moves quick which is why you need to constantly update and improve your website to keep up with customer expectations.

Launching your website is only the start. Leaving your site to gather dust is detrimental to your success and will leave you out of touch with your customers.

That’s why it’s important to keep your web development agency on hand for iterative improvements. You can keep your store performing at its very best through incremental changes throughout the year, completed through a website retainer package.

What is a website retainer?

Many different retainers exist but they all tend to take a similar form – a monthly agreement commits your agency to an ongoing service.

The majority of web development retainers cover maintenance, technical support, updates and bug fixes as well as further development of your site. They’re basically designed to cover everything you need to keep your website running smoothly and ensure it evolves alongside your both your business and customer needs.

What’s the difference between a support timebank and a website retainer?

Sometimes confused, a support timebank and a retainer are two different things.

We work with some businesses who occasionally need a short-term boost of support hours they have with us. As a solution to this, we created a service called ‘Support Timebanks’ which are optional as part of a build or a retained agreement.

So, what are they? Support timebanks are hours you have reserved with us for small tasks and support throughout the year. This could be anything from hosting support issues to extension installs, patch installations to redirect implementation, design, UX and strategy guidance or general support requests. Not restricted by month, timebanks are a ‘pot’ of hours dedicated to supporting your business. However, they’re not intended to be used for development projects.

When is a website retainer the right choice for you?

There are certain scenarios where a retainer would be more suited to your objectives. This could include:

  • A steady stream of work: If you know there will be a steady stream of work such as plans within the wider business or phased project work, a retainer will be a more efficient approach.
  • Evolving your business: We don’t believe in launching and leaving. Retainers can be used to continue developing and evolving your store to ensure maximum performance and up to date functionality.
  • Improving the user experience: Retainers allow you to implement learnings from your users such as how they interact with your site. This insight can drive future developments which can then be carried out using your retainer.
  • To maintain site security: A retainer ensures your agency will work to keep your site secure and on top of platform updates.

If you’re unsure whether a retainer or support timebank would be more suited to you, get in touch with us and we’ll be able to help.

What’s involved in our website retainers?

Our retainers allow you to manage your work and create a predictable stream of releases on your site. Here’s what you’d have access to with one of our retainer packages:

  • Unlimited hours: Starting at 26 hours per month, any unused hours can be carried over in case you need to slow down development at a certain time or for a certain reason.
  • Proactive account management: Supported by a dedicated account manager and project manager, proactive management of your roadmap is always a priority. This approach means that problems and opportunities are identified in real-time with solutions presented during our regular account reviews.
  • Collaborating with you: We scale to fit your internal capabilities allowing us to collaborate with you in the most effective way possible. Our approach makes it easier to work with your technical, marketing and commercial teams to achieve your objectives.

Although we’re confident our retainer packages can cover your every need, we can also create custom packages too.

Before you take on a retainer…

Before you take on a retainer, we always give your website a Health Check. This process will create a list of changes to make sure your website is performing for you and your customers, and, if it isn’t, what needs to be improved. Ticking these improvements off one by one as part of your retainer plan is a sure fire way of ensuring your website is the best it can be.

Prior to taking on any new retained client, we complete a code audit which then informs a roadmap of planned development work. This approach ensures both parties are happy with the present functionality, how the site is configured and what customisations are in place before starting further work.

Site code audit

Our site audit covers two main objectives:

  • Allows us to understand what we are taking on
  • Allows you to understand the true current state of your website

Web agencies vary significantly in their approach, skills and the types of sites they work on. For this reason, it’s tricky to know what we may find when we take on a new client.

Our audit allows us to enter our new partnership fully aware of any issues and opportunities. It also means we can understand exactly what has been implemented on your site and how so no nasty surprises are found further down the line. With this insight, we can help you plan what future features, functionality and changes you may need on your site.

The code audit is undertaken by one of our many certified developers. These developers have years of experience on the Adobe Commerce platform alongside a deep understanding of eCommerce and real-world experience.

What’s covered in our site code audit?

Our site code audit includes assessment of:

  • Quality of overall codebase
  • Quality of each extension
  • Core hacks and/or use of bad practice
  • Code based performance optimisation recommendations
  • Bottlenecks and historic issues with transactions
  • Any issues outlined within the codebase and the potential cause
  • Security issues and recommendations

Informing your website retainer work

The physical output from our audit is a formal document which details the extensions and customisations that have been made to your site. The audit usually uncovers a number of bugs and issues which we would then address as part of our handover process. We use a traffic light system to prioritise any urgent work that needs completing before tackling iterative improvements.

While all this is great for your business, the most valuable output of our audit is the impact our recommendations will have on your conversions, customer experience and revenue. The improvements we suggest are not only based on best practice but also on our experience of what we know works.

Working with team Pinpoint

If you need ongoing development work or want to take an iterative approach to your website, a retainer could be for you.

You should always be confident that your website is in safe hands. That’s why our support doesn’t stop when your website has launched. Dedicated to assisting you, whether through a timebank or retainer package designed to suit your needs, you can rely on us to provide continuous proactive, flexible and committed support.

Adopted by the likes of Casio and Sue Ryder, our retainer approach could be right for you too. Whatever your painpoints, whether it’s hosting and support, extensions, design and UX, eCommerce strategy guidance, patch installations or security updates, you can tap into our knowledge of Adobe Commerce. Get in touch with us to chat more.