“Nah, don’t worry about regular maintenance on that new website. It’ll keep.”
Said no website developer ever.
I’m about to give you 3 reasons why you absolutely do need a maintenance plan for your website.
It might sound like your web guy is just trying to milk you for more cash, but I’m going to point out three huge reasons why you should definitely have a regular maintenance plan.
The biggest issue with any website that collects any kind of data is security. If you collect email addresses or addresses or anything personal from your visitors, this should be a huge concern.
A maintenance plan will ensure that someone (me) is keeping tabs on the security of your website. Here is a real life scenerio:
A client chose not to purchase a monthly maintenance plan when they migrated their website over to my host. A whole year went by and it ran as needed even though no one was backing anything up or updating any of the files or database. Then one morning my host reaches out and tells me that a malware infection has been found on the client’s website and they have blocked it in order to keep visitor info safe. AAACK!
Because the client didn’t have a maintenance plan, I had to charge them a fee to find and remove the malware. I also had to get approval to update files, database and passwords to ensure the security of the site.
What if they’d had a maintenance plan?
This probably wouldn’t have happened at all. Regular updates of the core, theme and plugin files helps keep those little security holes from becoming big problems. Even if it had still happened, I would have immediately taken care of the issue and they probably wouldn’t have experienced hours of down time.
When you let a WordPress installation go without updates for too long security isn’t the only headache you’ll face. Eventually all of those pieces that work together will degrade and it could effect the way your website functions or looks. Here’s a real life scenerio:
A client runs an outdated website that they got for free from some developer years before we started working together. They lost that developer and handed me the support work, but they don’t want to pay a monthly fee for maintenance. So, they email me when updates need to be made and I make them. Except that I can’t update the theme or the core files or the plugins when I update content. Why? because the original developer used a free theme and didn’t implement a child theme. Now, if I update the theme the entire site could be compromised. In addition, we’ve had to disable several plugins that were installed willy-nilly by sub-par developers or uneducated staff. The sites overall design and functionality suffer.
What if they’d had a maintenance plan?
If we had set up a maintenance plan I would have set aside time each week to get the website up to date so that regular updates could be done and compatibility restored. It would have included regular maintenance as well as content updates. And if something had gone wrong during the process, I would have simply taken care of it. No hourly charges. Instead I charge them a minimum of 15 minutes every time I make a content update and their website design and security is unstable.
This one isn’t always super obvious. With every maintenance plan I provide some level of tech support. Whether it’s a consult about email or emergency server support (for sites hosted by me).
When you have a maintenance plan and you are performing some of your own content updates I am there to restore a previous version if you mess up. Real life scenerio:
A client turned down a maintenance plan when we built his website. He then proceeds to update the layout and content on one of his pages. Even though I provided him with a tutorial and in-person consult, he’s still not a tech guy. Naturally, he messed something up. Rather than being able to call me and ask me to do his updates for him (or correct his goof) without a lot of back and forth, I charged him for the content update and the correction to the broken page. On top of that I had to update the core files, theme and plugins to make the changes he wanted so, there was another handful of cash out the window and a whole days work for him. It cost him real cash as well as a while lot of his time, which could have been better spent serving his clients.
What if he’d had a maintenance plan?
Sure, it still costs money. What he could have avoided was downtime on his website and his own wasted time fiddling with layout and content. The updates to the core, theme and plugin files would have been done. He could have emailed me a list of changes and been done with it, knowing that it would be taken care of that day and without any extra dollars.
Why pay every month when I can just pay you when it needs to be done.
Well, would you let your car break down before changing the oil? Would you let your roof fall in before patching it? A maintenance plan isn’t just to make your life easier, it’s to avoid as much risk as possible. Why wait until the host shuts down your site for a security threat when it could have been avoided? I’m not always available to correct serious issues right away. A maintenance plan ensures that these things won’t happen in the first place. And if they do (because nothing is 100% secure), you have priority over other projects.
You don’t have to have me rebuild your site to have a maintenance plan. Although, I do recommend migrating to my hosting so that server maintenance and emergency issues are covered. You can check out my plans here. I can even customize a plan for you!