When faced with the issue of maintaining, monitoring, or securing a website, many business owners will turn to their in-house IT person. On the surface, it might seem like a reasonable choice — an IT person knows all about technology, right?
True, but knowing all about computers, mobile devices, file sharing and mail servers is completely different than having experience with WordPress, PHP, CSS, HTML, databases and web servers. Sure, there’s some overlap between IT and web development, but there’s also some overlap between electrical and plumbing. Both systems can be present in the same space in your house, and as skilled trades, they might share some basic technical principles. But you’d never hire a plumber to rewire your house.
So why would you hire an IT person to manage your website?
IT people train for years — to work primarily with operational hardware and the software that supports that hardware. Your IT person knows about servers. They know how to run physical wires. They know switches, routers, wifi, phones, computers, desktops, and all of the IT infrastructure for your business.
But none of this expertise covers web security or development.
At least not on a deep level. If you have a small organization, it’s possible that your IT person or team might take on the occasional website-related task, such as updating your WordPress plugins or adding content. But just because someone knows what to click on in a WordPress dashboard to update or install a plugin does NOT mean that they have the skills and expertise necessary to secure and maintain a website.
In order to run a website on a server, you have to understand everything involved in that website. The code, the file structure, the plugins, any third-party applications, and so on. A functional website requires consistent security monitoring, backups, and firewall configuration. IT training simply does not cover these areas.
An IT person might have experience using shared hosting and updating plugins occasionally. But if something on your website breaks, an IT person isn’t going to know how to fix it. The systems and tools for monitoring, managing, and proactively responding to website issues are the domain of web developers and security experts.
Is your IT person monitoring your website on a daily, hourly basis? If something breaks on your website, is your IT person going to know about it immediately? If an urgent issue pops up in the middle of the night, are they going to have the tools to know about it and repair it before you lose business overseas?
Business decisions are best made by considering all the available facts and knowledge. Asking an IT person to take responsibility for a web server is a leap of faith.
In many cases, your website will be the first impression of your business for a prospective client or customer. It’s like the digital welcome mat at the front door or your business. So your website isn’t only a business asset — it’s a marketing tool. Marketing, from SEO to digital ad campaigns, is way outside the IT wheelhouse. If your goal is to have your website grow your customer base or reach a new audience, you need someone who is experienced with website development and digital marketing principles.
None of this is intended to disparage IT people. Every business needs someone with experience in the IT field to maintain their physical hardware and local digital infrastructure. If you have an IT person, they’re probably already extremely busy doing just that. Most IT people, especially those who work internally for a single business, have to-do lists a mile long. They can’t afford to prioritize your website — and you can’t afford to have your website managed by someone who can’t make it a priority.
As web experts, we want and need to work with IT people. Collaboration works best when everyone involved understands their role and their responsibilities. At WordZite we frequently tap into the experience and expertise of IT people, especially internal IT departments and managers, who have direct access to things like email servers, DNS records, and other company-specific information. It’s important to have clear differentiation between these roles so that we can pinpoint knowledge gaps and fill them in.
All this is to say: we hope you show your appreciation for your IT person and all that they do for your business. And one way to do that is to avoid adding more to their plate. If your website is in need of some TLC, or you want to launch a digital marketing campaign to grow your audience — you need a web expert.