Do I need a maintenance plan?

WordPress Maintenance Sheffield

What is a maintenance plan?

A maintenance plan is something you can either set up with your website designer, or you can hire another company to take over the maintenance of your website.  These plans typically are to ensure your WordPress Core system and plugins are kept up to date but may include changes you wish to make to the content of your website.

We do sell maintenance plans, but this isn’t a sales pitch

Yeah right, Sam, you are just trying to sell us a maintenance plan, well maybe I am but this isn’t just about me trying to make money here.

Some agencies or designers won’t offer maintenance unless they design your website themselves, which makes me wonder what they are afraid of?

I will do a full audit of your site before I suggest a maintenance plan with myself, there are certain red flags that tell me my services aren’t going to help or could cause more problems at which point I will give you other options.

The reason I wrote this post is not to sell to you but instead explain what a maintenance plan can do for you.

1. You might break something

When you get access to your website, it’s understandable you’ll want to have a play around and make some updates and amendments. After all, you need to feel confident that you know what you’re doing.

The only problem is, you might make a mistake and accidentally delete something that you shouldn’t or change the layout when you didn’t mean to. It happens to the best of us. But this does mean you might spend hours trying to get it back to the way it was.

Surely your time is better well spent building and growing your business rather than sifting through your website working out what went wrong.

If you have a maintenance package, the people you bought this from can fix it for you. At the very least theywill be able to restore a previous version of your website to put it back the way it was.

2. Sometimes it can save you money on hosting/domain renewals

Some companies that provide maintenance services, also include hosting as part of the plan.  Well, they force you to host their website with them in order to get their fabulous maintenance service.

I don’t do that my maintenance systems work with any hosting company, and I personally would be wary of anyone wanting to force me onto their hosting just to keep my website up to date.  But that’s just me I’m a little bit paranoid and dislike putting all my eggs in one basket.

3. Protection from hackers

The security of your website is VERY important, and you as the website owner need to take this seriously.  Websites get hacked all the time, often it happens without you knowing and it can cause a lot of damage to your site.  It can damage your search engine rankings and even worst of all it can lose you the confidence of your customers.

I’ve had it happen to myself on a personal site even though I had security measures in place, thankfully my business website has even more security in place. It’s like Fort Knox without all the gold inside. (though I don’t think they actually store gold there anymore)

It’s not just your website that’s at risk. Most websites collect and store personal information about customers and potential customers. If you don’t have efficient security on your website, you could put all this data at risk.

With a maintenance plan, you will have an extra layer of security to protect your website. This could include:

  • Spam detection (that detects any suspicious activity)
  • Security Scanning (to detect any vulnerabilities)
  • Monitoring AT RISK plugins and extensions (that could cause your website to be hacked)

Those are just a couple of the things that a maintenance plan could include to help keep your website safer and more secure.

4. Website Backups

A website “backup” is a saved copy of your website from a previous time e.g. a day ago, a week ago, a month ago and so on… This can be stored in the website files and can be restored if something goes wrong with the website.

If you don’t have regular backups of your website then you are leaving yourself open to one big headache if you break something or you get hacked.

When you have a maintenance plan, a backup of your website will be stored (usually daily) so it can always be recovered if need be.

In the past, I have had customers call and say, “we accidentally messed up the website and can’t get it back” in that case, I can go back to a specific date and recover all the previous settings.

My WordPress Maintenance plan has nightly backups, stored offsite on Amazon cloud services so it’s nice and secure.

5. Software needs updating constantly

Your website is ever changing. Even if you don’t make website changes yourself, the tech behind the scenes will need to be monitored and kept up-to-date. Most websites have additional plugins or themes that have new releases all the time. You NEED to stay on top of these to keep your site running smoothly and plug any security holes before something happens.

Content management systems (like WordPress, Joomla and Opencart) should also be kept on the latest versions too to prevent any potential issues.

With all these updates you have to do, it’s not uncommon that something can go wrong. Plugins can stop working or they’ll stop playing nicely with other plugins. In the meantime, your website might not be working properly.

When you have a maintenance plan, these updates are done for you so you don’t have to worry. They’ll be kept up-to-date and if something goes wrong during an update, it will be fixed and your website will be back to normal in no time at all.

6. Additional support

Some maintenance plans include email support and/or phone support as part of their package. This means if you have any nagging questions or need some extra guidance you’ll always have someone on hand to help.

The level of support you need will determine how much the maintenance plan will cost each month. Some of my clients have just the maintenance but others need the extra support to answer any burning questions they have.

7. Ad hoc website amendments

In addition to support and guidance, you might need someone to work on your website on a regular basis. This could include, creating new pages, adding images and text and making structural changes.

You can try and do this yourself if you like but if you have better things to do and if you have the budget, you can pay for a maintenance plan that includes a certain amount of development hours per month.

My plan includes 30 minutes of development time for making minor changes, however, you can extend that by adding a support package onto your services extending your development time by 1 to 5 hours a month.  If you need more than that, I can tailor a package to your requirements.

8. Peace of mind

You’re in safe hands. Managing a website can be very time-consuming, especially if something goes wrong.

It’s nice to know someone is there taking care of your website behind the scenes. Even if they’re simply keeping track of the basics. Having an extra pair of eyes look over your website will help you sleep easier at night.

Summary

I get it. You don’t want to spend more each month. However, investing in a maintenance plan only serves to protect your original investment. Unfortunately, we cannot leave websites to their own devices. At a minimum, we need to keep them healthy and up-to-date. You have to decide whether you want to spend the time doing this or pay for a maintenance plan. Either way, you’ll have to take some action, or you run the risk of damaging, or even losing your website.

Please note, having a maintenance plan doesn’t guarantee you won’t get hacked or lose some of your work. Every website is susceptible. But it will significantly reduce the chances of it happening and limit the damage if it does.