Just like you need your peace of mind by getting health checks from your doctor and MOTs for your car, your WordPress website absolutely needs a worry-free maintenance plan.
The first thing about a WordPress website (or any website) is that a website is a living thing in a constantly evolving world with infinite components, elements, players and rules that keep changing. Many small businesses and entrepreneurs who choose WordPress as the CMS of choice for their website think that once you have the website in your hands, that’s it: it will work forever.
That is not the case. It is essential that your brand new WordPress website, with all its pixels crafted and pushed with so much loving care, is regularly updated and maintained. Just like anything else of any value, really: your own body, your car, your home, your computer.
Read on to find out how to gain total peace of mind with an indispensable WordPress maintenance plan.
Why keeping an expert eye on your WordPress website is a must.
The main benefit of getting someone else to look after your WordPress website for you is not just peace of mind: it’s the gift of time and head space to yourself.
Instead of worrying about how to set the whole grinding machine into motion without making any costly mistakes, concentrate on what you can do best: growing your business.
Instead of spending precious time learning all about backup plugins, staging sites and malware scans, take that time to make your own enterprise truly take off.
The result will be a site that your customers can always find and use, and that keeps evolving with your business without headaches or growing pains. And you can look after your customers while we look after you.
How it all happens: WordPress maintenance broken down for you.
So how exactly is the health of your WordPress website maintained, monitored and safeguarded?
Here is a list of the main things that need to be monitored and operations that need to be regularly performed on your WordPress website:
- Updates. The WordPress core gets major updates a couple of times a year, and minor updates every so often. Most plugins and themes will also publish new versions after a WordPress core update. If you don’t keep everything up to speed, you may find that the site that worked so well the other day suddenly doesn’t work anymore. But this is not all: if you update on your live site and something goes wrong, you need to be able to troubleshoot which plugin or update caused the problem. The best practice is to perform an update of themes, plugins and WordPress core on a staging site or on a copy of the site – never the live site. This is what we do in our maintenance plans: we update your staging site if your hosting plan allows for it, or we update a copy of your site in a separate development environment and then migrate it.
- All the premium licences. We use top-quality, safe and reliable premium plugins to build your websites in the best possible way. These come with a paid licence, which we’re happy to pay for as it guarantees continued development of the plugin as well as customer service. Our care plans cover all the licences for you, so you don’t have to buy them This can come up to quite a hefty fee over the course of the year – which it totally on us when you sign up to one of our plans.
- Backups. It’s easy to think that there is no reason why your site should suddenly disappear or get broken beyond repair. And yet it happens.
Website loss horror true story: a client of mine had no maintenance plan. He unwittingly let his hosting package go unpaid, because of an out-of-date credit card and notifications from the web host being sent to the wrong email address. This was a brochure site that he wasn’t adding any content to, yet it was essential for his business. By the time he realised what had happened, the host had already cancelled his account and deleted all the files. The only option he had was to hire me again to re-build the website – luckily the domain name was still available.
A maintenance plan that includes regular backups is much cheaper than all that. And even if you host your website with SiteGround (affiliate link) or another reliable host that keeps regular backups, you still need to keep a copy of your site off-server, in case your host’s servers were all to be swept away by a landslide. Moreover, you should really keep a snapshot-copy of your website through time, as your host is only likely to keep the last 30 days on their server. We have a 3-way approach: 1. server copy; archive copy every 3 months, saved in the cloud; monthly or daily backup with BlogVault.
- Hosting and domain name. See above: a good maintenance plan will also offer to look after your domain name and hosting packages, so that you don’t have to worry about your accounts accidentally expiring, which would mean loss of your digital assets. Once you sign up for a maintenance plan with us, you pass on all your details to us and we’ll keep an eye on all your deadlines.
- Security. The web is a dangerous place and WordPress websites are a favourite target for hackers. You need to have security measures in place. This could be a plugin such as WordFence, which protects you from hackers trying to break into your admin area, and a specific malware monitoring service such as Sucuri. Other than that, you can host with a dedicated WordPress host that offers server-level security as well as malware scans and clean-up – which is what we do, for total peace of mind. CloudWays is our host of choice if you are expert; otherwise, why not get a service such as WPBuffs to do everything for you? They’ll look after your website security as well as speed it up and maintain it thoroughly.
- SSL (Secure Socket Layer). Google wants the whole web to be a safer place. For this reason, from 2017 it will start down-ranking websites that don’t use an SSL certificate. Websites with an SSL certificate have https:// instead of htpp:// in their URL. This means that they are secure: their SSL certificate encrypts all communication between the visitor’s browser and the website. Initially, this will be important only for websites that have payments enabled, or other forms requiring the input of sensitive information. However, with time every single website will need to have an SSL certificate. Better to take care of this now.
- Reports. A good maintenance plan will also provide you with regular reports on your site’s performance and stats. You will get that with our monthly plans.
- Training and support. Wouldn’t it be great to have a video explaining how to perform a simple operation that you just can’t remember how to do – directly on your WordPress dashboard? It’s possible, and a good WordPress maintenance plan should offer that. You’ve guessed it – we do it.
- Extra services. It might be a good idea to get a plan that also looks after other aspects that might affect the site performance or SEO rankings: broken links, image optimisation, CDN, caching and so on. Our premium plan offers all this, too.
Please note: re 5. SSL: this service is offered as part of the plan only for new websites (without social shares or SEO). Setting up SSL for existing websites with SEO rankings and social share counts is much more complicated. We sell it as a separate package for $400. Contact us if you would like our help in setting up your SSL certificate without affecting your social shares and SEO rankings.
The DIY approach.
It is, of course, perfectly possible to perform your own WordPress website maintenance.
Bear in mind, however, that just as is the case with real-world DIY, you will need first of all to make sure you have the right tools. Not all tools are for free, either. So you’ll need first of all to research your tools. Then you’ll need to buy them. Then you’ll need to implement them. Then you’ll need to make sure that you use them correctly. Then you might actually drill a hole in the mains water pipe and flood your home – in which case, you need to call the plumber.
By that time, you have usually spent a lot of your own precious time and some money, but you will still need a lot more money to fix the issue.
The professional approach to WordPress website maintenance for small businesses.
Perhaps you feel financially, technically and emotionally ready to take on full-frontal the maintenance of your WordPress website. In that case, hats off to you, and best of luck to you in your WordPress adventure.
On the other hand, in case you don’t feel quite so intrepid or don’t have the time and/or inclination to set up the whole maintenance and backup circus yourself, here is the pricing for our brand-new maintenance plans.
All plans can be cancelled at any time and will be valid until the end of the next billing cycle from date of cancellation.
Get ready to leave your WordPress worries behind.
I have no doubt that, unless you are a developer yourself, a WordPress maintenance plan is the best way forward for a small business or entrepreneur that need to focus on their own growth, rather than sorting out plugin conflict issues that break the site because the host has performed an automatic update of the WordPress core. Forget about all that: let us do it for you.
Very importantly, the plans outlined above are just a starting point and they are fully customisable, If you would rather do without the WordPress training videos, for instance, we can take them off the plan and tweak the price accordingly.
If, on the other hand, you want to add a Medium or Large service to the Small pricing plan, you can also do that. We are in the process of building a fully itemised WordPress maintenance plan builder for you, which will make it super-easy to tailor your plan to your requirements.
In the meantime, please feel free to get in touch if you have any doubts at all, or for a discussion of your needs.
Happy WordPress dreams to you.