Customers associate the quality of your services and products with the design of your website. A top-class website creates a good first impression and people pay more attention to what you sell. A poor design makes people ignore your products or services even though these are exceptional. That’s the main reason why WordPress themes matter so much!
Yet, a cool WordPress theme or a good design doesn’t matter so much in long term. The quality of the maintenance services is more important. A business website isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. The start matters, but how you do during the race is much more important!
Every online entrepreneur should know about website maintenance and WordPress maintenance packages. The success of any online business relies on the quality of the site maintenance.
WordPress Website Maintenance
WordPress website maintenance doesn’t have a precise definition. Broadly speaking, it designates all the activities needed to run a website. For instance, keeping the WordPress core, themes, and plugins updated, performing regular backups, or tweaking the code from time to time. Some websites need more laborious maintenance, while others only require simple updates.
WordPress maintenance is crucial because it helps your business to permanently grow and better serve your customers. A highly skilled team knows the pain points of the customers and adapts the site to help them. Less-experienced maintainers will improve your site less effectively, so you leave money on the table.
WordPress Maintenance Packages
Solopreneurs and design agencies are ready to help online entrepreneurs take care of their businesses through WordPress maintenance packages—a set of tasks needed to maintain a website. Cheaper packages come with basic tasks, like regular backups and WordPress version, theme, and plugin updates. Others are more expensive and include complex tasks, like custom functionality, Git management, and ultra-fast support. Some packages require a one-time fee, while others a monthly subscription. There are WordPress maintenance packages for all kinds of websites and budgets. Your problem is finding the proper maintainer for your needs.
Common Maintenance Tasks
You need to know precisely what WordPress maintenance packages include before opening your wallet. Below, we’ve listed the most common maintenance tasks included in maintenance packages to help you better understand what website maintenance entails.
Core, Theme, and Plugin Updates
Updating your WordPress core, theme, and plugins isn’t rocket science. Yet, it takes time, and many inexperienced users aren’t confident in their WordPress skills. Hiring a specialist to do it is a better alternative for them. Be aware that complex websites have many plugins and their updates may conflict with each other. Consequently, to avoid putting down a website, all the updates should be initially performed on a staging website. Testing on a staging site takes more time, but it’s also more secure.
Regular backups are like a safety net for a website, but many webmasters ignore them. As a customer, I rest assured when a professional creates regular copies of the site. That’s why regular backups are included in most maintenance packages.
You may lose precious sales if your site goes down. On top of that, it affects your brand. A professional maintenance team monitors their customers’ sites 24/7 and acts as soon as possible in emergencies. You can rest assured that genuine experts are always ready to intervene when your site is unfunctional.
Emergency situations aren’t necessarily the moments when your site is unfunctional. There are plenty of other situations where you might need the urgent support of a WordPress maintainer, like:
- A vital message that should be posted on a highly-visible top bar (discounts, promotions, or serious security problems);
- A skewed sidebar that hurts user experience;
- A shopping cart or form that doesn’t work properly;
- A lack of color contrasts that should be fixed.
No matter how well you designed the site, these issues are normal and unavoidable. That’s why you should hire a maintenance team that offers emergency support.
The most common integrations are Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Complex websites need more integrations to extract more actionable data. For instance, third-party apps like heatmaps, A/B tests, or analytics need integration which requires some decent skills.
Complex Plugin Configuration
Not only do third-party apps need special attention, but complex plugins should also be properly configured. In some instances, a misconfiguration has a negative impact. For instance, caching plugins are pretty complex and an inexperienced webmaster has a good chance of misconfiguring them. As a result, the site performance is poorer just because of a misconfiguration. The same goes for image optimization plugins. On average, they are less complex than caching plugins, but casual users might find them quite challenging. Finally, security plugins are capital for a website, and any wrong configuration can become a security vulnerability.
The proper configuration of complex plugins should be a top priority for site maintainers. These plugins have a massive impact on a website, and the proper configuration improves the site’s performance and security.
Mobile and Tablet Optimisation
Your website isn’t automatically mobile and tablet optimized just by using a responsive WordPress theme. Indeed, it’s a must-have condition, but it’s not enough! Many WordPress maintenance packages include mobile and tablet optimization. Experts test how the website looks on smartphones and tablets, and adjust the site layout accordingly. Untapable buttons, unnoticeable icons, poor color contrast, and cluttered design hurt the mobile user experience. Depending on the analysis of the maintenance team, you should adapt the site design to provide the best experience to the mobile users.
Performance improvement is a very broad term. Some maintenance agencies call this service speed optimization. Others are more specific: Core Web Vital improvement. While there are some subtle differences between these terms, all come down to a precise purpose—to serve customers as best as possible. Ideally, site maintainers should clearly specify what falls under the umbrella of performance improvement. If not, contact your solopreneur/WordPress agency of choice and ask for precise details.
Site edits are included in many maintenance packages, but the conditions largely vary. Some packages come with unlimited edits, but, in practice, unlimited is in fact limited under some conditions. Other maintenance providers are more specific and make it very clear by outlining what “site edits” means. For instance, adding a new category in a menu, removing/adding a featured image in blog posts, changing the background, and adding a new image in an image slider may all be considered acceptable site edits. Usually, custom functionality, custom blog posts, homepage redesign, or Git management may not fall under the “site edits” category. Be aware, that some maintainers may offer these services in their superior plans.
Many good partnerships between customers and maintainers started with malware removal services. A malware infected a website and its webmaster didn’t know how to remove the malware. A maintenance team or individual cleaned up the website and was hired to maintain the website and avoid any malware infection.
You need to know what you’re paying for, so a regular report is mandatory and included in all maintenance packages. It encompasses all the jobs performed by the maintainers to help the customers make an idea about their work. These reports might include suggestions, tips, and eventually discounts for customers.
How to Chose the Proper Maintenance Packages
First of all, decide if you need a maintenance package for your website. You don’t need to hire someone to maintain your website for a personal project that doesn’t attract many people. Similarly, it’s not feasible to hire someone for a website you run for learning purposes. Webmasters on a budget have a tougher issue—does it make sense to hire someone when the budget is restrictive? The solution is relatively simple: measure your time spent doing site maintenance monthly. Then, determine how much money you could earn by doing client work in that time. For the sake of this example, let’s suppose that you might have earned $100. You could instead hire someone to maintain your site for less than $100. The maintainer does the job professionally and you can focus entirely on your work.
Our Take on WordPress Maintenance
We offer maintenance services and do our best to satisfy all the customers. Indeed, we are involved in this industry and we are biased. Yet, it’s crystal clear that people who hire us and our competitors can worry less about their websites. It makes sense to hire a professional instead of trying to run and maintain your website yourself. Fewer worries mean more time to focus on business growth. Accept that you can’t do everything in your business and let the experts do their jobs.
Do you have any questions about website maintenance and how to select the proper WordPress maintenance package? Leave a comment or get in touch with us—we are glad to consult with you and eventually start a fruitful partnership!